Travel

19 Awesome Day Trips From Tokyo

I know that Tokyo is a very exciting place, especially for first-time visitors, but I cannot emphasize it often enough: It’s important to get out and see other parts of Japan as well. If you cannot afford going all the way to Kyoto, Hiroshima or Fukuoka, then at least plan a few day trips from Tokyo. I’m sure you won’t regret it. In fact, there are million of options, so it might be hard to choose. Here are my recommendations for day trips from Tokyo.

 

Day Trips from Tokyo to Kanagawa Prefecture:

Kanagawa Prefecture is right next to Tokyo, so it’s easy, cheap and fast to visit. As there are a lot of things to see, Kanagawa is certainly one of the best options for a day trip or even a weekend trip. I want to introduce a few places that are especially worth visiting.

 

1. Hakone:

Hakone (箱根) is part of the volcanically active Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park centered around Lake Ashino. It’s an internationally famous holiday resort offering hot springs, natural beauty and great views of Mt. Fuji. As it’s less than 100 km from Tokyo, it makes a great day trip.

Day Trips From Tokyo

A big red gate stands at the entrance of Hakone Shrine which is located right next to Lake Ashino.

Day Trips From Tokyo Day Trips From Tokyo

You can take a cable car to explore Owakudani, a volcanic hot spot full of sulphurous springs.
There you can enjoy black eggs (黒玉子, kuro tamago) which are unique to Hakone. The shell turns black due to a chemical reaction with the sulphurous water. Despite their look, they actually taste delicious and are said to prolong your life, so definitely try them!

Day Trips From Tokyo

You should take a pirate ship tour on Lake Ashino. On a clear day you can even see Mt. Fuji.

If you’re interested in visiting Hakone, check out this website with lots of useful information in English.

 

2. Kamakura:

Kamakura (鎌倉) is less than an hour away from Tokyo. It’s also known as the Kyoto of Eastern Japan, offering numerous temples, shrines and other historical structures such as Hasedera Temple, Engakuji Temple and Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine.

Day Trips From Tokyo

The most famous attraction of Kamakura is the Great Buddha of Kotokuin.

If you’re planning a day trip to Kamakura, check out this website.

 

3. Enoshima:

Just like Kamakura, Enoshima (江の島) is located in the Shonan area.
It’s a small island, connected to the mainland by the 600-m-long Enoshima Bridge.

Day Trips From Tokyo

In summer you can go swimming or surfing at the beach. On a clear day, you’ll be able to see Mt. Fuji.

Day Trips From Tokyo

There are several interesting sights such as temples, shrines, a cave and even an aquarium.
Most popular is probably the Enoshima Shrine complex dedicated to Benzaiten, goddess of good fortune, wealth, music and poetry. She’s said to be the creator of Enoshima.

If you’ve decided to go there, make sure to have a look at the “Enoshima-Kamakura Freepass” and the “Enoshima 1-Day Passport“. You might be able to save some money.

 

4. Odawara:

Odawara City (小田原市) is the entrance to the Fuji Hakone Izu National Park. You could stop by for a short 1h-visit on your way to Hakone.

Day Trips From Tokyo

If you’re into Japanese castles, then you’ll love Odawara Castle. Its size is quite impressive and the museum on several floors inside the castle tower offers a lot of interesting artefacts.

 

5. Yokohama:

Yokohama (横浜) is probably one of the most popular day trips from Tokyo. There are so many things to do and see there, it won’t get boring.

Day Trips From Tokyo Day Trips From Tokyo

Minato Mirai (left photo) and China Town (right photo) are well-known attractions.
Apart from that you can also check out the Cup Noodle Museum, Ramen Museum, Kirin Beer Museum as well as a former residential area of foreign merchants.

Day Trips From Tokyo

If you like Japanese gardens, enjoy a few hours at the beautiful Sankeien Garden, especially worth checking out in autumn and spring.

For more information, read the Yokohama Visitors’ Guide.

 

6. Kawasaki:

If it’s not your first trip to Japan, you might have already seen the most popular tourist spots close to Tokyo. Then, I suggest going to Kawasaki which is only a short train ride away from central Tokyo.

Day Trips From Tokyo

The Kawasaki Daishi Temple is quite impressive. The shopping street leading to the temple offers so many delicious snacks and you can get all the souvenirs you’ve ever dreamed of. Especially for Maneki Neko and Daruma lovers it’s a tiny paradise.

There’s also a lovely Chinese garden nearby.

Day Trips From Tokyo Day Trips From Tokyo

If you happen to be there in early April, you might want to experience one of the craziest Japanese festivals. The Kanamara Matsuri also known as “Phallus Festival” is held in Kawasaki every year.

 

Day Trips from Tokyo to Tochigi Prefecture:

Tochigi Prefecture is located in the Kanto region just like Tokyo. It’s contiguous with Ibaraki, Gunma, Saitama, and Fukushima Prefectures. Not a very well-known prefecture for travelling, apart from one spot:

 

7. Nikko:

Nikko (日光) is a small town that marks the entrance to Nikko National Park.

Day Trips From Tokyo

Nikko is mostly famous for Toshogu Shrine, the mausoleum of Tokugawa Ieyasu, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Day Trips From Tokyo Day Trips From Tokyo

The shrine buildings are extremely fascinating and the various carvings with all their details could keep you busy all day long. The three monkeys are one of the most popular carvings there.

When you are in Nikko, make sure to also visit the beautiful Lake Chuzenji (中禅寺湖, right photo) – which offers a lovely scenery, especially in autumn (mid to late October).

Day Trips From Tokyo

And don’t miss the Kegon Fall (華厳の滝, kegon no taki) which is not only very close to the other two sights, but is also one of Japan’s Most Beautiful Waterfalls.

There’s so much more to see in the Nikko National Park, so if you want to visit, check out this website for more information.

 

Day Trips from Tokyo to Saitama Prefecture:

Saitama Prefecture is bordered by Tokyo and parts of it can actually be seen as a suburb of Tokyo. In short, it’s really close and thus ideal for a day trip.

 

8. Kawagoe:

Kawagoe (川越) is probably the most famous sightseeing spot in Saitama.
It’s a former castle town and you can still visit one last remaining building of Kawagoe Castle, called “Honmaru Goten“.

Day Trips From Tokyo

A very well-known attraction is the Warehouse District with its clay-walled buildings that create an Edo period (1603-1867) atmosphere.

Day Trips From Tokyo Day Trips From Tokyo

Well worth checking out is also “Kitain Temple” (喜多院). You’ll find the only remaining buildings of the original Edo Castle there. Make sure to visit the “Gohyaku Rakan” statues as well. These are more than 500 stone statues of the disciples of Buddha and each of them has its own facial expression. Find the one that looks like you. Very amusing!

For more information about sightseeing in Kawagoe click here.

 

9. Chichibu:

Another major attraction of Saitama Prefecture is Chichibu City (秩父市).

Day Trips From Tokyo

In spring (late April – late May) you can enjoy beautiful shibazakura (pink moss) in Hitsujiyama Park.

Day Trips From Tokyo

Chichibu Shrine is also well worth checking out. In early December a lot of people attend the yearly night festival at the shrine.

While those two attractions are certainly a highlight when visiting Chichibu, there’s a lot more to explore.

 

Day Trips from Tokyo to Shizuoka Prefecture:

Shizuoka Prefecture is probably quite well-known – even among foreign visitors to Japan – because of its beautiful sights of Mt. Fuji.

 

10. Izu Peninsula – Atami:

Atami City (熱海市), a coastal hot spring resort, is located at the entrance to the Izu Peninsula. Even if you’re short on time you can at least visit Atami. It even has a Shinkansen station, so if you have the Japan Rail Pass, it’s a cheap 40-mins trip.

Day Trips From Tokyo

You can just soak in one of the many onsen, enjoy the beautiful views of the ocean, visit one of the several museums or …

Day Trips From Tokyo

… check out Atami Castle. From up there you’ll also get a breathtaking view.

If you want to do more than just a day trip, I highly recommend exploring the rest of the Izu Peninsula as well.

 

11. Mt. Fuji:

Who doesn’t love Mt. Fuji? I surely do. And Shizuoka is one of the best places to get some great views of this beautiful volcano. Now that since it has become a UNESCO World Heritage site, it’s even more popular.

Day Trips From Tokyo Day Trips From Tokyo

There are tons of places within Shizuoka Prefecture from where you can see Mt. Fuji. I recommend Fuji City and Shimizu, especially Miho no Matsubara beach (right photo). In summer (July – August) you can also climb Mt. Fuji – although you’d need more than a day trip to accomplish it.

For more interesting sights in Shizuoka, check out my previous blog posts.

 

Day Trips from Tokyo to Chiba Prefecture:

Chiba Prefecture is right next to Tokyo and many people forget that some sights are actually in Chiba and not in Tokyo (such as Tokyo Disneyland).

 

12. Chiba Castle:

If you’re short on time, but interested in Japanese castles, then visiting Chiba Castle is a good option. It takes less than an hour to get there.

Day Trips From Tokyo

And it’s a famous hanami spot in spring, so that’s probably the best time to visit.

 

13. Boso Peninsula – Tateyama:

My personal highlight in Chiba is the Boso Peninsula which offers various extraordinary sights.

Day Trips From Tokyo

Worth visiting is Tateyama City (館山市) which has a nice castle and several interesting shrines and temples, always with the beautiful ocean in the background.

Day Trips From Tokyo

Apparently it’s also great for windsurfing because I saw a lot of people doing it when I went there.

 

14. Boso Peninsula – Nokogiriyama:

Don’t miss Mt. Nokogiriyama (鋸山) when you come to the Boso Peninsula.

Day Trips From Tokyo

Nicknamed “Sawtooth Mountain” because of its current shape it offers not only a great view, but also is home to Nihonji Temple with one of the biggest Buddha Statues in Japan.

Day Trips From Tokyo

I highly recommend this as a day trip from Tokyo.

There’s a lot more to see, so make sure to check it out.

 

Day Trips from Tokyo to Yamanashi Prefecture:

Yamanashi Prefecture is actually the other prefecture besides Shizuoka that Mt. Fuji can call home. Yes, that mountain is so big it’s located in two Japanese prefectures.

 

15. Kawaguchiko:

If you want to get some breathtaking landscape photos with Mt. Fuji in the background, then the Fujigoko (5 Fuji Lakes) are your best bet.
The one that’s easily accessible by public transportation (there’s even a direct highway bus from Shinjuku) is Lake Kawaguchi.

Day Trips From Tokyo

Lake Kawaguchi offers quite a few fun things to do, so you could easily spend a few days there, but the main focus is Mt. Fuji, of course.

The famous red Chureito Pagoda can be found in nearby Fujiyoshida City (just 10 mins by train from Kawaguchiko).

Day Trips From Tokyo

If you happen to be in Japan in spring (late April to late May), then visiting the “Shibazakura Festival” is a MUST! With Mt. Fuji in the background this is by far the most beautiful pink moss field I’ve ever seen in Japan.

For more lovely places to check out, go and read the Yamanashi Sightseeing Spots website.

 

Day Trips from Tokyo to Gunma Prefecture:

Gunma Prefecture is a bit farther away from Tokyo, but a day trip is still possible. For holders of the Japan Rail Pass it’s totally worth it as the Shinkansen takes less than an hour.

 

16. Kusatsu Onsen:

Kusatsu is one of Japan’s best hot spring resorts and one of my personal favorites. Going there on a day trip would actually be a shame as you would want to spend more time there. If you take a direct bus from Tokyo, it’ll take about 4 h one-way, so you wouldn’t have that much time. Using a rental car would be more beneficial.

Day Trips From Tokyo

At Kusatsu Onsen (草津温泉) you can watch a so-called Yumomi (湯もみ) performance. It’s a traditional method of cooling down the hot water so that people can comfortably take a bath afterwards. Women are stirring the water with a large wooden paddle while singing local folk songs.

Day Trips From Tokyo Day Trips From Tokyo

The region is a paradise for hot spring lovers all year round. There are so many things to discover, so I recommend taking your time while you’re there.

Day Trips From Tokyo

Another highlight when visiting Kusatsu is the nearby crater lake of Mt. Shirane.

 

17. Takasaki:

Takasaki City (高崎市) is only a 50-mins bullet train ride from Tokyo. It’s famous for daruma as it’s the leading producer of the “lucky charm” dolls in Japan.

Day Trips From Tokyo Day Trips From Tokyo

The Byakue Dai-Kannon statue and the Shorinzan Daruma Temple are the major tourist attractions in Takasaki.

 

18. Lockheart Castle:

Ok, I admit that this is not a typical day trip destination from Tokyo. And I swear I’m not adding it because it’s a castle. *g*
Lockheart Castle was originally built by the Lockhart Family in 1829 in Carluke, Scotland. Then, Japanese actor Masahiko Tsugawa bought it. The castle was taken apart and shipped to Japan where it was put together again.
Now you can find a lot of galleries and museums there (even a Santa Museum). It’s also a popular place for weddings.

Day Trips From Tokyo

This is just a little extra I thought I’d throw in for all the fans of Japanese dramas and movies, because some of you might have seen it there. It has been used as shooting location for dramas such as “Atashinchi no Danshi” or “Kaibutsu-kun“.
Lockheart Castle is about a 2h drive from Tokyo, but you can also access it by public transportation. Take a train to JR Numata Station and from there a bus (~ 20 mins) or taxi.

The Tourist Guide of Gunma Prefecture shows you even more places you could explore.

 

19. Your Favorite Day Trips from Tokyo?

There certainly are other places to check out, but let’s face it, for Fukushima, Sendai, Nagano or Nagoya you’d want more time than just a mere day trip. And you’d probably want the Japan Rail Pass to save money.

I could recommend a lot more such as Mt. Takao, for example. But I think it’s a lot more fun to hear what you’d recommend.

What are your suggestions? What makes a great day trip from Tokyo?

Please tell us in the comment box below. emoticon

 

Read next: 50 Day Trips from Kyoto

Never miss any blog posts and important updates and
SIGN UP TO OUR NEWSLETTER!

71 Comments

  • Once again, wonderfully laid out article, with gorgeous pictures and great information. Just lovely to see all of this organized by prefecture and highlighted with the major items at each location, including links to more specific details; it just makes this so usable and convenient. My OCD kicked in just a tiny bit and I really wanted there to be twenty locations, so I’m hoping someone can suggest at least one more great place to add to this list before you make the brochures (to be sent to the publisher?), since this is such a fantastic idea. You should include one of these brochures with every round trip ticket sold to Japan(Tokyo)!!! :luvit:

  • Looks like I’ll have to adjust my schedule for this autumn. Have you ever been to the Ushiku Daibutsu in Ibaraki Prefecture?

  • +1 Takaosan. Went in winter. Great snow views. Heard they have a beer tent at the top in summer. Will be going there again in August to find out.
    Also Mito (Ibaraki) is a good day trip from Tokyo.

    • Thanks for the suggestions. ^_^
      I went to Mito a few summers ago. I got to see a lovely firework at night, an even better summer festival parade the next day. I was a little bit disappointed by the garden there, though. Maybe it was just not the right season to go. ;)

  • I have been to Mt Takeo and it is so beautiful. Near the bottom of the funicular railway there is a restaurant calle Ukai Toriyama…it is just absolutely amazing. Lots of tea houses set in the most magnificent gardens. You can eat there or you can just wander around to see the gardens. I would definitely recommend it as a “must see” spot. It is in walking distance of the train station or they also have a bus going backwards and forwards I think. At least there was a bus when I was there.

    • I guess I really have to visit Mt. Takao next time I’m in Tokyo. *g*
      Thanks a lot for the recommendation and useful extra information. ^______^

  • Really nice article! There are a lot of spots I haven’t been to yet. Wanna see them! Especially Kusatsu Onsen (I’ve seen it on a report of a delegation of the German Romantic Road, who travelled along the Japanese Romantic Road) and Nokogiriyama (what a funny name!).

    I went to Mt. Takao once during autumn to see the wondeful colours of the leaves. But it was sooo crowded! One can see one picture of them here.. http://wp.me/p2oCme-7Q
    I would recommend to visit it during the week, when nobody has holiday and at no peak…
    Liked Mount Takigo in Yamanashi Prefecture more, but that is a real hike with no cablecar and no restaurants..
    http://wp.me/p2oCme-q4
    And Mount Haruna with Ikaho Onsen in Gunma Prefecture!
    http://wp.me/p2oCme-4F

    • You really should visit Kusatsu Onsen on a weekend trip. I’m sure you’ll love it. ^___^

      Despite the people you were able to take some lovely photos. No wonder it’s so popular. Thanks for sharing and adding some more suggestions. :D

  • I was told that Mount Asama is a really nice place to see. The volcano is still active sometimes: it was forbidden to climb it a few years ago because of toxic fumes. Now it is open again. I guess it is better to have a car to go there, or take a taxi at Karuizawa station. I’m set to climb it next time I visit Nagano prefecture; a 1 hour climb approximately. Apparently, the view of the Japanese Alps is spectacular.

    • Thanks a lot for the suggestion. I’m sure that’s a great experience, but I bet it’s better if you have more than a day.
      It’s still an active volcano after all, so there’s always this thrilling feeling, too. :D

    • On the north face of Mount Asama is the Devil’s park 鬼押し出し公園 which is my absolute most favorite natural place in Japan. Stunning, almost moonscape.

  • Excellent article!

    I’m surprised Mito is not listed as it’s the city where is located one of the best thre gardens in Japan, Kairaku-en.
    Maybe you’re not high on japanese gardens, I wonder if it’s worth to go there, especially considering I’d go in plum blossom period and I heard it’s very cool there.

    • Rob, to be honest I didn’t like the garden in Mito that much.
      To be fair, I went there in summer, so it wasn’t that overwhelming and I had already visited all the other top-ranked gardens in Japan. I had a nice time in Mito, especially as I arrived just for the great summer festival parade and firework, but it didn’t convince me as much as some other things in my list.

      But thanks for mentioning it. This is all about interests and people’s tastes anyway, and just because I didn’t like it that much doesn’t mean others wouldn’t. :)

      • I live in Mito and would say to definitely visit it during peak plum blossom season or peak hanami. The flowers and festivals transform it from humdrum to heavenly! Also, if you’re a natto lover, Mito is for you!

        Julie

  • A very nice article, Jasmine.

    This page looks like my photo album! I have almost the exact same shots.

    I’ve been to most of these spots, and you did a fine job of combining them into a single resource. This would be good for anyone coming to Japan who wants to know “What’s there to do?”

    • Glad you – as a person who actually lives in that region – agrees and appreciates this list. :D

      I don’t get to go to Tokyo that often, but as I’ve seen pretty much everything there already, I tend to do day trips when I’m “down there”.
      Can’t wait to explore some of the suggestions that were made in the comments. ^____^

      If you want to add anything to the list, let me know! ;)

  • Guten Abend Jasmine! Another great blog post. So I have finally decided to go for the April one year Japanese language course. I decided on Kyoto as i wanted both traditional and the modern Japan experience. Although I am a little worried that I might miss out on the super cool moments I might experience in Tokyo or Osaka. I had even considered Fukuoka but since it’s quite far from Kyoto and Tokyo I am scared I might not have the budget to travel much. Can you recommend the best place i should take my course at? Keeping in mind the student friendly expenses, the traditional culture as well as the pop culture? P.S- I’m a big anime fan. :S
    Will be grateful.
    Thank you :D

    • There’s nothing to worry about. Kyoto has a lot to offer and Osaka is just around the corner. In my eyes, Kansai is one of the best spots to travel to various nearby sights on a budget.
      Just have a look at some places in Kansai that I’ve already introduced. I’m sure you’ll find a few spots you’d love to visit. And if you get the Seishun 18 ticket, you can save a lot of money.

      • No doubt every place in Japan has a lot to offer. Kyoto has always topped my list. somehow i love the serenity aspect that it offers compared to the more commercial towns. Thanks again Jasmine :happy:

  • And recently I started watching Atashinchi no Danshi. It’s great to know that Lockheart castle is a real one and not just a set. Japan is so beautiful :kyah:

    • Tanya, I was just in the mood to try a new drama and will start watching Atashinchi no Danshi, seems like it has good ratings and has some familiar faces in the cast too. Thanks for mentioning it, its really better to get a recommendation than to randomly search for new one! :thumbup: :D

      • I’m not familiar with the newest dramas as I haven’t had the time to watch any in the past 2 years or so, but I used to watch A LOT.

        Atashinchi no Danshi is quite nice, but not one of my favorite. If you want some recommendations, here you go (though that’s solely based on my opinion):

        Dr. Koto Shinryojo (I’m biased ever since I visited Yonaguni where the drama was shot), Hana Yori Dango, Hanakimi, Nakanai to kimeta hi, Hotaru no Hikari, Nankyoku Tairiku (if you don’t know this already, based on what you always tell me I’m sure you’ll love this one), Soredemo ikiteyuku (mentally pretty heavy stuff), Rich Man Poor Woman, GTO, Densha Otoko, Nodame Cantabile (watch this!!!), Liar Game, Galileo, Love Revolution, Yasha, Good Luck, Last Friends, Maou, Love Shuffle, Voice, Tokyo Friends, Mr. Brain, Majo Saiban, Orthros no Inu, Buzzer Beat, Bloody Monday, Tokyo Dogs

        This is just a small selection of what I can remember, but I hope you’ll find a few you like and consider watching. ;)

        • OMG Jasmine, thanks so much! I am now gonna be so busy for the next few months. I immediately saw “Nodame Cantabile”, it’s my favorite series of any TV drama/or Anime anywhere. I keep the last part of the Drama and Anime in “my video” section and play it about once every week. I’ve watched both the anime and drama series completely from start to finish so many times, I’ve lost count. I show it to anyone that visits me and it always makes me feel good.

          I have never before had a TV series (American or otherwise) that I could watch over and over and over again and never get tired of it… that is until I found Nodame. Most of these series you referenced are new to me or I’ve only seen the Anime and not the Live action yet. I’m not certain they’ll be on the subs websites I go to, but I’m going to have a great time watching these if they’re available, so thanks so much. Its very strange how I started on anime when my son was young and I got hooked on that and then went to manga and now subbed Asian shows (with anime and manga still). Its really time consuming to try and keep up with all of them (Korean, Hong Kong, Chinese, Filipino and Japanese)… whew, glad I’m retired LOL! :fan: :kyah: :luvit: :thumbup: :peace:

          • @Jasmine Thank you so much for the list. I will definitely make time to watch them. I’m sure you must be quite busy with work to keep up with these dramas. Nevertheless thanks a ton for all the useful information everytime! :fan:
            @BudMartin Ooh and Nodame Cantabile is amazing!! It’s the first drama which has done complete justice to the manga and anime! :luvit:

      • Yes I just finished it. Must say the story is quite unusual so manages to keep you glued till the end. :luvit: Since you love Japanese Dramas, you should try Last Cinderella. :kyah: I personally loved it! A must watch I say! :ehehe:

        • I saw “Last Cinderella” recently and it was really really funny at times (I laughed so hard that my neighbors heard me). Unfortunately the ending wasn’t what I personally wanted, but they did keep me guessing and interested in it. I still recommend it highly and ALSO recommend you drink while watching it, you’ll appreciate the humor even more!!

  • A great list and selection of places Jasmine. It just goes to show you that there is a lot more to the Kanto region that Tokyo itself. Anyone on a short trip to Japan (1 week) should probably focus on the Golden Route of Tokyo-Kyoto-Nara-Osaka-Hiroshima. If you are going to spend more time in Japan, definitely think about some of these places as day trips or weekends away from Tokyo.

  • Nagano City can definitely be done as a daytrip from Tokyo :) The Shinkansen ride makes it an easy destination. Also, the Railway museum in Saitama makes for a great half day trip.
    Apart from that, I don’t have many more ideas, you put a lot of stuff!

    Mount Takao is definitely worth it :)

    • I would prefer to go to Nagano for more than a day trip, though, especially if one wants to visit the “snow monkeys”. And then there’s also Matsumoto Castle! (*_*)b
      But you are absolutely right, of course. It’s possible and if one has the Japan Railpass, then it’s also affordable to go there.

      Thanks for the recommendation of the Railway Museum in Saitama. I haven’t been to that one yet. :)

  • There is one more I just remembered..
    Has anybody already mentioned the Bosai museum and Bonsai village in Omiya – Saitama?

    • Though I wouldn’t recommend it as a day trip. In my opinion one should spend at least 2 days there.
      But if you’re short on time, it’s possible, of course. ^__^