Announcing Worldschool Travel Tour: Japan in Summer, 2010!

(Please check-out the itinerary for this trip to see what sort of things we’ll do, plus see photos from the 2009 Japan trip here!)

Experience Japan with Worldschool Travel Tours in summer, 2010 when the festivals are happening and fireworks are flying! This trip is especially for homeschooling and unschooling young adults and teens who want a real adventure and taste of Japanese culture!

I tried to offer a trip like this for summer 2009 but in the end there just weren’t enough people. But the Japan in Autumn, 2009 trip is full and I know a bunch of people who will be interested in this trip!

As on the November, 2009 tour we’ll be seeing Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Hiroshima, Himeji Castle, and Mino “Monkey Mountain”.

We’ll have a Japan Rail Pass and travel from city to city on the Shinkansen “Bullet Trains”.

And on this trip we will:

-See numerous beautiful temples and shrines along with the lovely gardens and bamboo groves that are often next to them.

Kinkakuji: The "Golden Temple" in Kyoto

The beautiful Kinkakuji, "Golden Temple" in Kyoto.

-Eat real Japanese sushi, “tako yaki” (fried octopus dumplings), miso soup, fried udon and soba with teriyaki, and other great foods you might not have heard of like “oden”, “nabe”, “katsudon”, and maybe some “natto” (slimy fermented soy beans) if you dare!

Some "tako yaki", fried octopus dumplings, covered in scallions. And futomaki sushi nori rolls.

Futomaki sushi nori rolls. Some "tako yaki", fried octopus dumplings, covered in scallions from the best tako yaki place in Osaka!

-Soak in relaxing “onsen“: traditional Japanese hot springs both right in the city and outdoor in the mountains.

-See a couple impressive castles in Osaka and Himeji.

Himeji jo: the most famous castle in Japan.

Himeji jo: the most famous castle in Japan.

-See manga shops, wildly dressed Harajuku girls, and intense video game arcades.

-Encounter tame deer in Nara.

One of the tame deer in Nara, Japan.

One of the tame deer in Nara, Japan.

-See people walking around on the street in majestic kimonos about once a day or more including in the crowded intersection in Shibuya, Tokyo. (You can’t see any kimonos in this photo but I have a short video from my camera where you can: will try to upload it!)

The major intersection in Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan. Kind of like the Times Square of Tokyo.

The major intersection in Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan. The Times Square of Tokyo.

Because it’s the summer we’ll also be able to wear and see many people in “yukata”: light, casual, summer kimonos. And we’ll go to some of the many festivals Japan has in the summertime.

I have to say I’m not much of a fireworks person but the fireworks I saw in Osaka, Japan when I lived there in 2004 just amazed me. I’m looking forward to seeing them again and know people will love them!

Japan Presentation

Girls in "yukata" taking photos of fireworks in Osaka, Japan with their cell phones in summer 2004.

Here is the basic info:

Worldschool Travel Tour: Japan in Summer, 2010

Dates: July 20th-August 10th, 2010 (three weeks)
Cost: $4,000 with airfare from San Francisco, lodging, and a Japan Rail Pass
Estimated expenses during trip: $1,000
Group size: 5-6 young adults, plus a parent/child pair to help with chaperoning
Recommended age range: 15-20 years old

I’m now offering the opportunity for a parent and younger child to come on the tour if the parent is willing and able to help with chaperoning in exchange for a discount on the cost of the tour!

I’ve also raised the price to $4,000 because of increased airline costs and the flight will leave from San Francisco.

We’ll be staying in youth hostels and guesthouses that are clean and comfortable. But we may share dorm rooms with other travelers and they will not be fancy hotels.

I don’t include food in the cost of my tours because I want people to have the experience of buying basic things and understanding their value in the country. But we’ll almost always eat together and probably cook some meals together after shopping at a Japanese grocery store!

A down payment of $1,250 will be due by February 15th, 2010. Another $1,250 will be due by April 1st, 2010. And the final payment of $1,500 to complete the $4,000 total will be due by May 15th, 2010.

I try to make these trips as affordable as possible. I really encourage the young adult travelers on my tours to earn money of their own for the trip. For some families this is the only way they can afford it. But I think everyone can benefit from the empowerment and financial independence that can come from working and making your own money. It’s something I’ve gained a lot from besides money!

Awhile ago, I wrote a blog post about this with many practical tips: Earning Your Own Money For Travel.

There are people on my trips who have paid for them completely with the money they earned themselves. Another person reached out to her friends and family for contributions to financing this dream come true for them: traveling in Japan.

I may write another post with more information about raising money because I know many people are intimidated by the subject.

You can also read my post: Preparing for Travel in Japan. That has recommendations from cool Japanese movies to watch, books to read, Japanese language help, packing list, etc.

If anyone has any questions about this or future tours (I’m working on planning more now!) please feel free to comment here or e-mail me at:

Thank you! Arigatou gozaimasu!

Addition: I just created a Worldschool Travel Tours fan page on Facebook! You can join and follow our progress on the November, 2009 Japan trip and get updates about the summer 2010 Japan trip and other upcoming tours.

16 Responses to “Announcing Worldschool Travel Tour: Japan in Summer, 2010!”

  1. Idzie says:

    Sounds awesome! Now I just have to keep poking Emi to earn money. 🙂

    Looking forward to hearing about the trips planned to other places!

  2. Eli Gerzon says:

    Thanks Idzie! Yeah, Emilie just needs to take those first steps and I think she’ll be fine! Hannah and I both found we could make about $1000/month just doing odd jobs when we were raising money for our first international travel (me several years ago she last year).

    I’ll keep you posted on the plans for future trips to other places: I hope you can join on one yourself!

  3. […] link: Eli Gerzon's Worldschooler Blog » Announcing Worldschool Travel … September 15th, 2009 at 3:51 […]

  4. Jennifer Triplett says:

    Hi–Sounds very interesting. Can a parent join in?–Jenn

  5. Eli Gerzon says:

    Hi Jenn,
    Very good question! And it’s something people have asked before. I’m really excited about the idea: parent and child traveling together.

    But I imagine that more for younger children maybe 8-14 years old. How old are your children?

    One of the main goals of my tours is to challenge people with new experiences they can learn to process themselves. It’s about going outside your comfort zone! They’ll get support from the other travelers and have plenty of downtime to do that processing. But it’s a real growing opportunity to do it without the usual support from home – parents, friends, and even things like American TV (but watching local TV while traveling is a new learning experience!).

    Again the age limits are flexible. But I think someone under 15 might not feel comfortable traveling alone. But they still would get a lot out of traveling with a parent.

    I don’t have that type of family Worldschool Travel Tour planned yet. But it’s possible if there’s enough people who show interest I could do an additional one in July 2010.

    Maybe your child is older and still unsure of the idea of traveling without a parent. That’s perfectly normal! I can I talk to you more about that and give references to young people who can tell about their experience.

    And anyone feel free to let me know if you have any more questions!


  6. […] September 23, 2009 by Bethany Eli Gerzon will be leading a travel/adventure/learning trip to Japan. Looks like fun! Check it out. […]

  7. Bethany says:

    This looks like tons of fun! Have a blast in Japan. I’ve posted about this to try and help spread the word.

  8. Lauren says:

    Hi, I’d love to go! How do I sine up?

  9. […] You can read all about it on my blog post and see photos of the kind of things we’ll see on the tour: […]

  10. Ai says:


    Is it only limited to 5-6 people? D:?

    • Eli Gerzon says:

      Hey Ai awesome to hear how interested you are in the trip!

      Right now, the plan is 5-6 people. But I’m leading another trip to Japan this November also with six people. If it feels like having more people would work I may decide to increase the number for this summer trip.

      I just don’t want to be a company with a huge bus load of people going from one site seeing spot to the next not really experiencing the place!

      Anyway, right now a bunch of people have shown interest in the summer 2010 Japan tour but no one has officially reserved a spot. So there’s still room if you want to go.

      Let me know if you have any more questions.

  11. Ann says:

    Hello Eli; I’m just learning of your travels with teens. How do you make the decision of who goes with you?

    Thanks, Ann
    unschooling mom to twins, age 16

    • Eli Gerzon says:

      Hi Ann,
      So glad you found my tours for unschoolers! So far I haven’t turned anyone away for my tours. If it starts to look like there will just be too many people for this summer 2010 Japan trip I may organize an extra one for the summer.

      Basically, any homeschooling/unschooling teens or early twenty-somethings who want to learn about a foreign culture are welcome! I would consider non-homeschoolers too.

      Let me know if you have any more questions.

      grown unschooler age 25

  12. […] I’ll be leading another tour to Japan next year especially for homeschooling and unschooling teens and young adults: Worldschool Travel Tour: Japan in Summer 2010. […]

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