Excursions

UPCOMING EXCURSIONS 

(*Led in conjunction with Heartland JAPAN & Sandy Isaka of Excursions Japan)

Our autumn schedule is now online! Below is the list of planned excursions for September to December 2019. Registration information can be found after the schedule. We look forward to seeing you on one of our upcoming adventures in the Tokyo region.

SEPTEMBER

Tokyo Neighborhoods: Hibiya                 Tuesday, September 10th                     9:30-12:30

*Registration begins Thursday, August 15th at 8:30am

Beat the heat on this tour of the Hibiya neighborhood, as we weave in and out of the area’s skyscrapers, uncovering the secrets of this unassuming business district. Godzilla and General MacArthur, architects and assassins and actors, an overlooked museum … all make an appearance on this late summer walk. End with a tasty lunch (included) and an optional visit to a sake center.

Excursion Details:

  • ¥8500 (includes 8% sales tax, museum entrance – ¥1000, seasonal lunch – ¥2000 and services of a cultural specialist)
  • 5-11 participants, ages 18 and older.
  • Rain or shine.
  • Easy-moderate amount of walking over flat ground.
  • Lunch is a set meal of mostly vegetarian seasonal dishes. Please inform the guide of any food allergies or preferences when registering, to see if they can be accommodated.

‘Downtown’ Kiyosumi Shirakawa            Friday, September 20th                       9:00-12:30

*Registration begins Thursday, August 22nd at 8:30am

Explore the neighborhood of Kiyosumi Shirakawa, one of Tokyo’s up-and-coming ‘old downtowns’, which has become Tokyo’s newest coffee mecca.  Learn about over half a dozen cafes that have opened their doors here in the past few years – and get a caffeine-fix in one of them! Wander through a gorgeous traditional garden and a fascinating, hands-on museum that recreates life in the Edo Period, before enjoying an “artful” finish.

Excursion Details:

  • ¥6000 (includes 8% sales tax, garden and museum entrance fees, and services of a cultural specialist). Not included: drink at coffee shop along route.
  • 5-14 participants, ages 18 and older.
  • Rain or shine.
  • Moderate amount of walking over relatively flat ground

Spider Lilies in Saitama                        Wednesday, September 25th                   8:30-15:30

*Registration begins Tuesday, August 27th at 8:30am

Escape to Saitama to see one of the best displays of spider lilies in the Kanto region. Over 5 million of these delicate flowers bloom in late September in the Hidaka area. Visit a traditional Japanese home, picnic by the river and learn about the region’s unique ties to ancient Korea.

Excursion Details:

  • ¥7900 (includes 8% sales tax and services of a cultural specialist). Not included: transportation to and from Saitama (approximately ¥1500 round trip)
  • 5-14 participants, ages 18 and older.
  • Excursion will be cancelled in the event of rain.
  • A moderate amount of walking with some slight hills.

OCTOBER

Ryuokyo Gorge & Kinugawa Onsen               Friday, October 4th                        7:45-17:15

*Registration begins Friday, September 6th at 8:30am

Head north to the Nikko region to discover gorgeous Ryuokyo Gorge. Hike the path along the canyon’s edge, passing waterfalls and perhaps some early autumn foliage. Bring a picnic or enjoy lunch in one of the local eateries before taking a local train to Kinugawa Onsen. Conditions permitting, enjoy a boat ride down the rapids of the Kinu River before returning to Tokyo.

Excursion Details:

  • ¥12,500 (includes 10% sales tax, river boat cruise, and services of a cultural specialist). Not included: lunch, transportation to and from the Nikko area* (approx. ¥7000, *foreign passport holders may be eligible for significant discount)
  • 5-11 participants, ages 18 and older.
  • Excursion will be cancelled in the event of rain. Cancellation will occur at least three days before the excursion date.
  • As this is a hiking excursion, be prepared for at least 1-1.5 hours of hiking on dirt paths, with steep inclines and steps. 

Tokyo Neighborhoods:  Ryogoku                Thursday, October 10th                         9-12:30

*Registration begins Thursday, September 12th at 8:30am

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, enjoy a tasty lunch (optional).

Excursion Details:

  • ¥5600 (includes 10% sales tax and services of a cultural specialist).
  • 5-14 participants, ages 18 and older.
  • Excursion will be cancelled in the event of rain.

Saitama 3 Peak Hike                                   Thursday, October 17th                        8:15-16:15

*Registration begins Thursday, September 19th at 8:30am

Lace up your boots for a hike in the hills of Saitama Prefecture. Our trail leads us past a hidden waterfall, through a natural bamboo forest, over three summits, and ends with views of late season cosmos in bloom. This is an active adventure for those seeking a manageable day hike in a beautiful setting.

Excursion Details:

  • ¥8800 (includes 10% sales tax, entrance to the waterfall, small snack and services of hiking guide/cultural specialist). Not included: lunch, transportation to and from Saitama (approximately ¥1500)
  • 4-11 participants, ages 18 and older.
  • Excursion will be cancelled in the event of rain.
  • As this is a hiking excursion, be prepared for 3-3.5 hours of moderate to occasionally strenuous hiking on paved roads and mountain paths.

Nakameguro & Daikanyama                     Wednesday, October 30th                   9:45-12:45

*Registration begins Wednesday, October 2nd at 8:30am

These neighborhoods are two of Tokyo’s trendiest, with a great collection of cafes, shops and hidden sights. Visit a museum where you can see sakura (cherry blossoms) year-round, a century-old home and one of the city’s best bookstores, all while poking through the maze of alleys for a selection of your guide’s favorite eateries. Cap off the excursion with an optional lunch at one of Tokyo’s craft breweries, built on the site of the old train tracks.

Excursion Details:

  • ¥6400 (includes 10% sales tax, admission to museum and traditional home, small snack, and services of a cultural specialist).
  • 4-14 participants, ages 18 and older.
  • Rain or shine
  • Moderate amount of walking, with some small hills

NOVEMBER

Jindai-ji Botanical Garden & Temple          Thursday, November 7th                9:00-14:30

*Registration begins Thursday, October 10th at 8:30am

Western Tokyo is home to the city’s second-oldest temple, tucked in a forest and surrounded by a quaint village full of soba restaurants. Explore the temple precincts and stroll through the neighboring botanical garden, a delight in any season. Enjoy homemade buckwheat noodles before returning to the city center.


Omiya Bonsai Neighborhood        NEW DATE    Friday, November 15th          9:00-15:30

**Back by popular demand!

Travel just outside of Tokyo to Saitama’s famous bonsai village. Learn about this centuries-old tree shaping practice in the Omiya Bonsai Museum, enjoy a set lunch and wander through the neighborhood’s unique bonsai nurseries.


Setagaya Temples & Shrines                         Tuesday, November 19th                 9:00-12:15

Explore some of Setagaya’s most atmospheric temples and shrines, including Gotoku-ji – the famed “beckoning cat temple” – and Shoin Jinja, a shrine with fascinating historical connections. Wander a revitalized shopping street before catching one of Tokyo’s two remaining streetcars back home.


Mitake River Walk                                          Monday, November 25th                  8:30-17:00

On this active excursion, head to the Mitake River Valley, still a part of Tokyo but worlds away in appearance. Ramble along the river path, soak up the fall foliage and enjoy a riverside picnic. Participants have the option to visit two museums along the route, one which is home to a noted rock garden.


DECEMBER

Kanda River Gardens                      Wednesday, December 4th                             9:15-12:15

Kanda River’s quiet paths are perfect for a late autumn walk. Visit a home once belonging to the poet Basho, a traditional Japanese garden and a small museum devoted to a private collection of artistic treasures. End with a final garden stroll and an optional lunch.


Yokohama Xmas                                  Friday, December 13th                                  8:30-12:30

Get in the holiday spirit while touring gorgeous historic Western homes built in the early 1900s on the bluffs above Yokohama.  Each home is decorated for Christmas in a different country’s theme. Afterward, take a quick walk through Motomachi, a famous shopping street that has catered to foreigners since the 1800s, ending with a visit to Chinatown (with an optional lunch there).


FOR ALL OUR EXCURSIONS:

Cancellation Terms & Conditions:  Cancellation within 7 calendar days before the services begin: You will be charged a 100% cancellation fee (no refund).

Excursions are first-come, first-serve. Participants will be notified in a timely matter that their e-mail has been received. Once the maximum is reached, a wait list will be created. Wait listed participants will be notified of cancellations as they occur. Wait listed members will not be penalized for cancellations when they are on the wait list.

Information regarding the exact meeting place, the excursion leader’s phone number, payment information etc. will be included in the confirmation.


To register for any of the excursions above, please send the following information to: uncoverjapan1@gmail.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 & number / Medical Conditions / Food Allergies / Special Food Requirements


PAST EXCURSIONS

Tuesday, June 11    Hydrangea at Hondo-ji Temple

*We had a wonderful day of food and flowers!

Escape to nearby Chiba prefecture to visit a historic temple known for its profusion of summer flowers. Enjoy a garden of irises and stunning fields of hydrangeas. Finish off the morning with a delicious Japanese lunch at a nearby restaurant. 9:30-14:00

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Thursday, June 6 City Explorations: Shiodome

*Postponed – future date TBD

Explore Shiodome, a complex filled with 13 majestic skyscrapers that sit on the edge of Tokyo Bay. Take in the view from a 46th floor observatory, visit two interesting museums, explore the area’s underground ‘world’, and learn about Shiodome’s history, top restaurants, and more! 9:30-12:30

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Monday, May 27 Omiya Bonsai Village

*We had a great time exploring this fascinating neighborhood. If you missed it, join us for a repeat visit in November!

Travel just outside of Tokyo to Saitama’s famous bonsai village. Learn about this centuries-old tree shaping practice in the Omiya Bonsai Museum, enjoy a light lunch and wander through the neighborhood’s bonsai nurseries. 9:30-15:15.

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Wednesday, May 22    Tokyo Neighborhood: Ochanomizu

*We were treated to a special origami folding session!

In this neighborhood walk (tucked next to Akihabara) visit an origami center, a venerable shrine with unique prayer plaques, a beautiful century-old cathedral, and a train station that’s living out a second life as a collection of hip boutique shops. 9:15-12:30

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Wednesday, May 15    Secrets of Enoshima

*Clear skies and blue waters made our island visit ideal!

Travel by train and a scenic monorail to the coast of Japan – then, on this tiny island, learn the fascinating history of: a collection of temples & shrines, a beautiful garden, an observation tower with breathtaking views, and a mysterious cave.  All this (and more!) only one hour outside of Tokyo. 8:20-17:30

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Thursday, May 9     Islands of Tokyo: Tsukuda/Tsukishima

*I learned so much about a neighborhood I’d never explored!

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. 9:00-12:00

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For more information on any of these excursions or to arrange your own private tour, please send an email to: uncoverjapan1@gmail.com 

 

 

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