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 WITH HEARTLAND JAPAN – In & Around Tokyo

Important Notice: All previously scheduled March excursions have been postponed until after the Coronavirus school closures are over. We appreciate your understanding.

Below is a list of March/April excursions. Please look carefully at the dates, some of them have moved around a bit. To register for any of the excursions, please send the following information to excursions@heartlandjapan.com

Name of the excursion that you would like to join AND Full Name / Address / Cell phone number / Date of birth / Gender / E-mail address / Nationality / Emergency contact name and number / Medical Conditions / Food Allergies / Special Food Requirements

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON ANY OF THE FOLLOWING EXCURSIONS, PLEASE CHECK OUT THE HEARTLAND JAPAN WEBSITE.

MARCH / APRIL EXCURSIONS

Sakura Hike to Mt Kobo. Tuesday, March 31 (NEW DATE) – 9:00-15:00 

About an hour outside of Tokyo, hike along a beautiful, forested ridge line in Kanagawa Prefecture. Along the route, enjoy a picnic with (potential) impressive views of Mt Fuji and numerous blooming cherry trees. End this active adventure with an optional dip in a local open-air hot spring.

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

Yanesen – the neighborhoods of Yanaka, Nezu and Sendagi – is an area known for friendly neighborhood cats and beautiful cherry trees. Visit a sculpture museum with a lovely hidden garden, a traditional shopping street emanating new vibes, a temple with an intriguing history and more.

Mountain Resort Gateway: Hakone Yumoto. Thursday, April 9th – 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.

Hike to Jimmu Temple and Mt Takatori                                

Tuesday April 14                    9:00-15:00    (rescheduled from Tuesday, March 3)

 Friday April 17                        9:00-15:00    (rescheduled from Friday, March 6)* Excursion will be opened first to participants booked on cancelled March tours. Contact for more information.

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.

Secret Treasures of Shinagawa. Thursday, April 23rd – 9:00-12:30

A popular transit station, Shinagawa is surprisingly full of history and hidden treasures! Walk through a tiny European ‘village’, visit a small garden and learn about two wonderful local museums. Next, wander along the historic Tokaido Highway to see tucked-away temples, floating restaurants, and charming shopping streets. Lastly, make your way out to Tennoz Isle, for a glimpse of modern-day Tokyo and life along its canals.

Islands of Tokyo: Tsukuda/Tsukishima. Monday, April 27th – 9:00-12:00

Visit an island in Tokyo Bay where a historic neighborhood filled with narrow alleys sits in the shadow of giant ‘tower’ condominiums.  Enjoy beautiful views of the Sumida River, learn about the island’s fascinating past, discover hidden shrines, and sample tasty local specialties.

Family Fun: Asakusa Ninja Mystery. Tuesday, May 5th – 10:00-12:00

A ninja is on the loose in Asakusa! Can you use the clues to round up this troublemaker? Test your puzzling skills on this family-friendly exploration of the Asakusa neighborhood. Revisit old haunts and learn new fun facts on this adventure geared for those aged 6-12. Celebrate your success by participating in a traditional festival game.

Ryogoku: Tokyo’s Sumo Town. Friday, May 8th – 9:30-12:30

Ryogoku is Tokyo’s sumo neighborhood, but this traditional shitamachi (downtown) on the eastern bank of the Sumida River boasts many additional fascinating sites. Visit a sumo temple, the birthplace of Edomae sushi, a famous spot associated with the 47 samurai, a traditional garden, and a park that’s seen more than its fair share of disasters. At the end of the excursion, enjoy a tasty (optional) lunch.

Trails of Tanzawa. Tuesday, May 12th – 8:30-17:00

This hiking excursion visits a mountain tucked in between the Tanzawa range and seaside Odawara. On this moderate to occasionally strenuous hike, trek past tea fields and rice paddies, through thick forests and over grassland to reach the 723m peak, where a clear day offers stellar views of the surrounding countryside and Japan’s most iconic mountain, Mt Fuji. 

Hatsushima: Island Explorations. Tuesday, May 19th

After meeting in Atami, travel by sightseeing boat to the tiny island of Hatsushima. Upon arrival, walk paved trails through the local village and along the rocky coast. Visit a tiny shrine, learn some local history, take in the view from the top of a lighthouse, and relax with lunch in a grassy Asian garden. Follow it all with an optional soak in an ocean-side hot springs bath. Return by boat to Atami’s port and walk along the lovely waterfront. Before heading home, souvenir shop in an old-fashioned covered arcade.

The Secret Side of Ikebukuro. Thursday, June 4th – 9:30-12:30

Known as a popular commuter station, go beyond the train tracks to find Ikebukuro’s hidden gems – a secret garden, a Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece, and your best chance of surviving the next big earthquake. End with an optional lunch near a rooftop version of Monet’s waterlily garden.

Hidden Temple & Hydrangea Festival. Tuesday, June 9th

Escape into the countryside to visit an incredible temple, hidden within an ancient cedar forest, that very few Japanese people even know exists!  Next, travel to a tiny town famous for its hydrangea festival. Thousands of colorful bushes line narrow streets that crisscross fields filled with newly planted rice.  Adding to the beauty, Kaisei is surrounded by mountains on three sides, and Mt. Fuji often shows itself.

Narita: More than an Airport. Tuesday, June 16th – 9:00-16:00  

While practically synonymous with the nearby international airport, the town of Narita is a worthy destination in its own right. Explore a temple with a 1000-year history, a sprawling garden dotted with seasonal flowers, and a lively Edo Era shopping street.