Excursions + Events

KYOTO

Do you have plans to visit Kyoto?

I’m now living in Kyoto & the Tokyo area. In both areas, I am leading private & group excursions, creating travel itineraries/packages, offering exclusive dinners with geisha (in Kyoto), and more! Contact me for more information: excursionsjapan@gmail.com

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KYOTO EVENING EXCURSIONS – Join an existing group tour or book me privately.

Four Geisha Neighborhoods & Kyoto’s Red Light District – Explore the lantern-lit alleys of four of Kyoto’s five Geisha districts and the red light district built around one of them. Learn about: the area’s history, Geisha culture, and my favorite restaurants/cafes/shops (including some hidden spots). Hopefully we’ll also catch a glimpse of Geiko and Maiko heading to/from work. *Not held on Sundays or during August Obon period.

Best of Higashiyama – Wander the cobblestone alleys that snake through Higashiyama – from Kiyomizudera Temple to Yasaka Shrine, and learn the history, culture, and secrets of Kyoto’s most popular day-time district (which is even better at night!).

Off the Beaten Path: Daitokuji Temple & Northern Nishijin – Walking through the stone-paved paths of Daitokuji Temple at night is like stepping back into a bygone era. Visit local hangouts in Nishijin, an ancient shrine on a mini mountain, and a sento-turned-cafe/bar. Optional visit to a real historic sento (bathhouse) whose pools are full of actual hot spring water.

Drinking & Dining in Gion – Gion is the home to two Geisha districts, Gion Kobo (the most famous) & Gion Higashi (smaller, surrounded by a red light district). Explore and learn about both – with stops along the way to sample tasty Japanese sake, delectable local specialties, and more. Hopefully we’ll also catch a glimpse of Geiko and Maiko heading to/from work. *Not held on Sundays.

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EXCURSIONS IN & AROUND TOKYO

MARCH 2020

REGISTRATION BEGINS THIS TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 4 FROM 8:30AM

Friday, March 6 HIKE TO JIMMU TEMPLE & MT TAKATORI 9:00-15:00

Stretch your legs on this ‘easy to moderate’ hike on Kanagawa’s Miura Peninsula. Explore the grounds of Jimmu Temple, which allegedly dates back to the 8th century. View local landmarks from the heights of Mt Takatori and ‘discover’ a unique Buddha statue hidden along the trail.

Excursion Details: ¥8500 (includes 10% sales tax, snack, services of a cultural specialist). Not included: lunch, train fare to and from the Zushi area (approx. ¥1400). 4-9 participants, ages 18 and older. Excursion held in good weather only. The route will include 2.5-3 hours of easy-moderate hiking with some rock scrambling involved. Led by Mandy Bartok

NEW DATE – Wednesday, March 11 BEST OF ODAWARA BY BICYCLE 9:00-16:40 (to/from Shinagawa)

On this leisurely BICYCLE tour of central Odawara’s best sites, visit a famous castle and a shrine whose grounds have been beautifully ‘updated’ for modern society. Travel through quiet residential neighborhoods to visit lovely temples and beautiful homes that are now explorable museums. Cycle to a famous fishing port and along a former section of a historic highway. And more!

Excursion Details: ¥9,900 (includes 10% sales tax, entrance fees, bicycle rental, snack, services of a cultural specialist). Not included: lunch, coffee/tea break, train fare to/from Odawara. 3-7 participants, ages 18 and older. Canceled in case of rain. Slow, leisurely ‘easy-level’ bicycle tour on mostly level ground. Tour begins and ends at Odawara Station. Travel with other participants from Shinagawa Station or on your own from other locations. *Easy to follow instructions provided. Led by Sandra Isaka

Friday, March 13 HAKONE YUMOTO EXPLORATIONS 9:00-17:30 (to/from Shinagawa)

Explore the history of Hakone Yumoto, the resort area’s gateway. Walk along a stone-paved trail, visit historic temples & shrines, and view beautiful waterfalls. Enjoy a tasty lunch & traditional snacks, an (optional) open-air onsen bath, and free time for souvenir shopping.

OPTION: Stay overnight in an onsen ryokan/hotel and see more of Hakone the following day – sightseeing ideas provided.

Excursion Details: ¥8500 (includes 10% sales tax, entrance fee, snack, services of a cultural specialist). Not included: lunch, coffee/tea break, train fare to/from Hakone Yumoto, & optional hot spring bath. 4-11 participants, ages 18 and older. Rain or shine. A lot of walking, some steep slopes and a short, rocky hiking trail. Tour begins and ends at Hakone Yumoto Station. Travel with other participants from Shinagawa Station or on your own from other locations. *Easy to follow instructions provided. Note: It is possible to leave earlier and return to Shinagawa by 16:40 (if you skip the souvenir shopping/optional onsen bath. Led by Sandra Isaka

Wed. March 18 NINGYOCHO & NIHOMBASHI: CRADLE OF TOKYO 9:30-12:30

Visit two neighborhoods that are considered the ‘heart’ of old Edo – a former ‘doll’ town and a beautifully revitalized shopping district. Learn the history of currency in Japan and explore hidden shrines, picturesque alleys, and famous bridges. End the tour with a delicious optional lunch along the canal.

Excursion Details: ¥5500 (includes 10% sales tax, snack, services of a cultural specialist. 4-9 participants, ages 18 and older. Rain or shine. Light-moderate amount of walking over flat ground. Led by Mandy Bartok

Mark these on your calendar! Registration begins March 1

Friday, April 3 Yanesen: Triangle of Old Tokyo 9:15-12:30

Tuesday, April 14 Spring Hike to Mt Kobo 9:00-15:00

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON ANY OF THESE EXCURSIONS, send an e-mail to: excursions@heartlandjapan.com