Tokyo is an amazingly vibrant city with plenty of things to do. If you’re staying for more than a few days you might want to fit in some day trips from Tokyo or wonder where you should head to next. I asked my travel blogger friends to share their best day trips from Tokyo and they sent me the following!
Many of these you can do on your own, or as a tour, and as always, some of them definitely deserve more than a day if you have the time to spare. It’s worth noting that if you plan to travel a lot by train in Japan you should investigate the Japan Rail Pass, which will make many of these day trips even easier!
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By Lisanne from Chapter Travel
I definitely recommend a day trip to Mount Fuji from Tokyo. It’s the highest mountain in Japan and one of the country’s iconic landmarks. There are various locations from where you can admire this majestic mountain, such as Lake Kawaguchiko, Lake Yamanaka, Lake Saiko, Lake Motosu and Lake Shoji. Of course, you can also take a photo from the famous Chureito Pagoda.
It’s easy to get from Tokyo to Lake Kawaguchiko, an excellent place for a wonderful view of Mount Fuji. You can get here by bus and train. Tickets from Shinjuku Station in Tokyo can be bought online or at the ticket office and cost about ¥3100 per person for a return ticket.
Once you arrive in Mount Fuji, you can decide to purchase a day ticket for ¥1280 euro and use the Kawaguchiko and Saiko bus line. The Kawaguchiko line runs along the eastern and northern shores of Lake Kawaguchiko, while the Saiko Line runs along the southern shore and Lake Saiko.
By Noel from Ten Thousand Strangers
Kawagoe is one of the few areas in Japan where one can experience the cultural and architectural features of the country dating back from the Edo Period (1603-1868). Being just 30 minutes by train from Central Tokyo, this small city in Saitama Prefecture is a highly recommended day trip destination from Tokyo for those seeking historic places and traditional Japanese architecture.
The Kurazukuri Machinami (Old Warehouse District) is the most popular area in Kawagoe. Not only because it cradles Toki no Kane (Bell of Time Tower), the very symbol of the city government, but also because of the well maintained clay-walled warehouses showcasing the Edo Era architectural style. These were widely implemented throughout the town after the Great Fire of Kawagoe which left the whole district in ashes in 1638.
Other major points of interest are the Kawagoe Castle and the Kitain Temple (both integral parts of the original Edo Castle) and the Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine (a must see for those seeking life partners and harmonious married life).
Kawagoe is easily accessible from Central Tokyo via Tobu Tojo Line (30 minutes from Ikebukuro Station to Hon-Kawagoe Station), Tokyo Metro Fukutoshin Line (60 minutes from Shibuya Station to Kawagoe-shi Station), and Seibu Shinjuku Line (60 minutes from Seibu Shinjuku Station to Hon-Kawagoe).
Tourists can take the CO-EDO Loop Bus (¥500 day pass) or the Koedo Kawagoe Loop Bus (¥300 day pass) from either Kawagoe or Hon-Kawagoe Stations. Though personally, I would suggest visiting all points of interest in Kawagoe by foot. The Old Warehouse District is just 10 to 15 minutes by foot from either Hon-Kawagoe or Kawagoe-shi stations.
If you’re planning a do-it-yourself walking tour, here’s the ultimate guide to the 400-year old district of Kawagoe.
By Priya from Outside Suburbia
The Chureito Pagoda is a five-storied pagoda on the mountainside overlooking Fujiyoshida City. The pagoda is one of Fujigoko’s most popular cherry blossom spots where you can get beautiful views of Mount Fuji rising up through a sea of cherry blossoms.
The pagoda is part of the Arakura Sengen Shrine and was built as a peace memorial in 1963. You have to climb 400 steps up the mountain from the shrine’s main buildings but the view is totally worth it with or without the cherry blossoms.
It is an easy day trip from Tokyo by bus or train, at around¥2000. We hired a private car to get there but tours are available as well. On the way down don’t forget to snap a shot of Mt. Fuji framed by a Torri gate – It is definitely one of the best places to see Mt Fuji!
By Zainob from ZeeGoes
Kyoto is located approximately two hours and twenty minutes train ride from Tokyo Station to Kyoto Station using the shinkansen (hopefully you have a Japan Rail Card or you will have to cough up about ¥27,000 for a round trip ticket).
When you’re there, if you prefer to hit up as many touristy sites as possible, there is a one day Kyoto Sightseeing pass at 900 yen (you can purchase at the subway station ticket machines). The pass gives you an unlimited access to the subway and buses for 24 hours and you can create your own hop on hop off like schedule.
For a non-rushed way of seeing Kyoto highlights, you can either get on a JR train to Saga-Arashiyama Station (fastest way) or use the Kyoto pass to hop on a bus to get you to Arashiyama, a day can easily be spent here, but for the sake of time, explore the temples and bamboo grove for about three hours.
From here, head back on a train from Saga-Arashiyama to Nijo Station then get on the subway to Karasumaoike station; time to feast on some really good local food at low prices in Nishiki market. Give yourself about two hours to try out some local food and explore the traditional Japanese market. Nishiki market is within 12 minutes walking distance from Gion, the famous Geisha district with even more temples and shrines to get your fill of. One hour is just enough time to see bits of Gion.
To conclude the day of touring Kyoto, head off to Fushimi-Inari from Shijo station to Jujo station for some iconic Japanese pictures beneath the torii gates. Give yourself about three hours to trek up to the summit and back. By the time you are done getting hiking the pilgrimage path, you may be ready to try out some food at the vendors parked by the shrine’s entrance.
At this point, you may freestyle your evening by heading back to Gion and experience a bit of Kyoto’s nightlife before heading back to Tokyo.
To be able to experience all of this in a day trip from Tokyo you should get to Kyoto by 8 am and be ready to head out by 9 pm.
By Clemens from Travellers Archive
The city of Matsumoto makes a great day trip from Tokyo. It is located in the center of Japan and easily reachable by bullet train or bus from around ¥3000-7000 or by car in about three hours.
Matsumoto is a beautiful city that is surrounded by the most picturesque mountains of the Northern Alps in the very west and the Utsukushigahara High Plain in the east. The city center of Matsumoto, which lies 600m above sea level, is mostly characterized by its history and culture.
In the very center, the main attraction is the castle Matsumoto, which is as photogenic from the outside as it is on the inside. After visiting, we recommend strolling along the small streets and going from boutique to boutique, or from one cute cafe to the other.
From almost everywhere you will be able to see Okuhotakadake, a 3.190m high mountain that attracts many tourists every year because of its central location to Kamikochi.
If you have the chance to choose the time to visit come to Matsumoto during cherry blossom season. The city is one of the most beautiful places in Japan to visit during this time of the year when the park around the castle turns into a cherry blossom sea.
By Vicki from Vicki Viaja
Zushi is a beautiful little beach town around 50 km from Tokyo. The main reason to go to Zushi is its wonderful beach. You can relax in the sun and enjoy a perfect beach day here. If you are lucky and come on a clear day, you can even have a unique view on Mount Fuji.
It’s especially worth it going to Zushi on the weekends as every Saturday after dark during the summer there is an amazing firework show at the beach. Just make sure to be there at least one hour before the fireworks start in order to reserve your space with a blanket or a towel. Many people from the surrounding towns come here to see this mesmerizing firework show which is accompanied by music.
Zushi is not far from Kamakura and therefore this two towns can be perfectly combined to one day trip. If you get here directly from Tokyo, the ride takes less than 1 ½ hours and costs around ¥1100 for a single trip. From the JR Zushi Station, it’s a 10-minutes walk to the beach which leads you through a street with a lot of little shops and friendly locals.
We can highly recommend you a visit to Zushi, especially if you are planning to see the amazing firework show which has clearly been one of the best we have ever seen.
Jigokudani Monkey Park
By Matilda from The Travel Sisters
A visit to Jigokudani Monkey Park to see the Japanese snow monkeys makes for a memorable (but long) day trip from Tokyo. The snow monkeys are Japanese macaques famous for soaking and hanging out in hot springs just inches away from park visitors.
While you can visit Jigokudani Monkey Park year round, winter is the best time to see and photograph these adorable monkeys – everything is covered in snow and the temperature is cold enough for the monkeys to enjoy the hot springs.
There is a bit of uncertainty about whether this is an ethical animal encounter. I have read that monkeys do not want to sit in the hot springs when the temperature is cold so the staff will coerce them with food to stay for the benefit of park visitors but I visited on a really cold winter day and the snow monkeys were going in the hot springs on their own and I never saw any staff members feed or interact with the monkeys in any way. The park does have strict rules about visitors not touching or feeding the monkeys.
It is a long day trip from Tokyo so it is best to leave early in the morning. There are day tours available but you can visit the park on your own. The fastest way to get to Jigokudani from Tokyo using public transportation is to take the train to Nagano and transfer to a local train or bus at a cost of approximately ¥9,460 (or $84 USD) one way. It takes around 3 hours travel time each way to reach the entrance of the park and from the entrance, it is a relatively easy walk on a 1.6 km trail through the forest to reach the hot springs. Here is a guide for more information about visiting Jigokudani Monkey Park.
By Fran from La Vida Nomade
Enoshima is an island located 75 minutes away from central Tokyo, so you can take a day tour using public transport and enjoy the views of Mount Fuji on your way.
Enoshima is a fabulous place that offers great seafood, beaches, caves, gardens, shrines, markets and amazing views of the ocean. If you visit during the summer then you can go to the beaches and mingle with the locals who head down from Tokyo at the weekend. But there is much more to see and do, even during the cold winter.
You can visit the Enoshima Shrine which consists of three shrines scattered across the island, or head to the Iwaya Caves on the far side of the island. You will see statues and an amazing view of the coast.
Visit Samuel Cocking Garden, a botanical garden on top of Enoshima. Beyond the garden is Sea Candle, also known as the Shonan Observatory Lighthouse, an observation tower, and lighthouse.
Check out the local food like the whitebait bread with cheese or the grilled whole squid with soy sauce, among other specialties.
To get to Enoshima take the Odakyu Line in Shinjuku to Fujisawa Station, then transfer to the Odakyu Enoshima Line from ¥1100 and it takes around one hour. Get off at Katase-Enoshima Station, the closest station to the bridge that connects the mainland and Enoshima. You can walk or take a boat for a short ride. You can also take a private tour that includes Kamakura.
By Ha Lef from The RTW Guys
Kamakura is a small, but significant, coastal town south of Tokyo. It was the de facto capital of Japan in the mid-1200s. The megalopolis of modern Tokyo and Yokohama now dwarfs Kamakura. But don’t let the raw of these places discourage you from visiting – Kamakura still maintains all of its historical charms. Plus, the sites of Kamakura are now UNESCO World Heritage Sites status, and it is easy to understand why.
The main draw to Kamakura is the Great Buddha – an outdoor, 13-meter high, bronze statue that was completed in the 13th century. The original temple that once housed the statue was swept away by a powerful tsunami in the 15th century, but miraculously, the statue remains.
In Kamakura, you’ll also find numerous Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, as well as several significant tombs. Don’t miss the Zeniarai Benten Shrine! Here, you can join with locals in the ancient tradition of washing your money (or in my case, credit cards). They say when you wash your money, it multiplies. Whether you believe it or not, it is worth a try!
Kamakura is easy to reach via the JR Yokosuka or Odakyu Lines from Tokyo’s Shinjuku Station. Roundtrip tickets costs ¥1470, and it takes about one hour to get to the Kamakura train station. If you opt to join a tour, you can do both Kamakura and the nearby Enoshima island and enjoy Tokyo’s sandy beach. These tours typically start and end at the Hamamatsucho Bus Terminal and lasts 8-9 hours.
By Corinne Vail of Reflections Enroute
Yokohama is the second largest city in Japan and is extremely important for the import and export of products. Since its founding, it has been on the leading edge of Japan’s modernization. With its clean streets, tall buildings, and abundance of restaurants and cafes, as well as museums and activities, it’s no wonder the locals love it so much.
Most people arrive in Yokohama by subway or train. It is only about 15 minutes from Tokyo, which makes it easy to visit for a day trip. Once there, you have many options on how to spend your day.
Some of my favorite things to do are visit the Kirin Brewery, which is free and you can get free samples, or the CupNoodles museum, where you can design your own flavored noodles or make the noodles. Both of these museums are well worth the trip. Just make sure to make reservations.
Another must-do is to head to Yokohama’s Chinatown where you definitely feel like you’ve made a trip across the ocean. The vendors are out in force enticing you to come and taste their specialty. One of the specialties they boast is the many varieties of dumplings you can just buy on the street. You can eat and shop all day long.
Don’t miss Yokohama. You’ll love it.
By Melissa from Parenthood and Passports
Hakone, Japan is perhaps one of the most scenic day trips from Tokyo. With majestic views of Mt. Fuji, picturesque red torii gates on Lake Ashi, and serene hiking trails, it’s easy to see why visitors to Japan head to Hakone for relaxation. The town itself is known for its mineral-rich hot springs. But there is so much more to Hakone than onsens and bathhouses.
A popular way to experience Hakone is to purchase the Hakone FreePass. The Hakone FreePass not only gives you unlimited transportation around Hakone and Lake Ashi, but it also saves you money if you plan to do the full tour of the lake which includes a train, cable car, gondola, sightseeing cruise, and bus ride. This scenic tour, which costs approximately ¥4100/adult takes you over the Owakudani active volcano valley in a gondola. The valley is known for its black eggs boiled in natural spring water rich in sulfur and iron. Legend has it, eating one of the black eggs adds seven years to your life.
The gondola will also take you to the shore of Lake Ashi, which offers some of the best views of Mount Fuji. Mount Fuji is often referred to as the shy mountain because it is typically shrouded in clouds. But even if the volcano doesn’t make an appearance during your day trip, the area is still beautiful and well worth the two hour trip from Tokyo.
By Thais from World Trip Diaries
Tokyo Disneyland and Disney Sea are one amazing day trip from Tokyo. They’re 2 different parks located in Chiba, but very close to Tokyo.
To get there, the best options are:
It leaves from Shinjuku Station and goes straight to the Disney Resorts. It tends to sell out, so buy in advance or arrive at least one hour prior to your desired departure time. It costs ¥1000 per adult.
You’ll need to get to Keio or Musashino lines and exit at Maihama Station where Disney is located Ticket prices will vary according to your departure station.
Disneyland is the classic Disney Park, with the castle, princesses, Mickey and Minnie. Disney Sea, on the other hand, is a unique park, very different from any other Disney Park in the world! It has a more adventurous vibe, and it’s incredible!
While you’re there, you can’t miss the Japanese version of Tower of Terror, which is said to be the scariest in the world. Also be sure to try the flavored popcorn, the curry flavor is my favorite!
Tickets cost ¥7,400 per adult and it’s very, very worth it!
By Talek from Travels with Talek
About 90 miles north of Tokyo lies the ancient city of Nikko. To get there, take the JR (Japan Rail) Tohoku Shinkansen or high-speed train from either Tokyo station or Ueno station to Utsunomiya then take the JR Nikko line to Nikko station. Train tickets are about ¥2,600 without the Japan Rail Pass. Time travel is about 2 hours making for a long day trip from Tokyo but still doable with the high-speed trains.
Once there, there is much to see. The main attractions are the beautiful national park with its Lake Chuzeni and the accompanying Kegon Waterfall that make for spectacular nature photos. The city has a cool temperature due to its high elevation with temperatures averaging 72F in the warmest months and 17F as the coolest.
Notwithstanding the natural beauty of the surrounding national park, the historical attractions are spectacular. One of the most impressive is the mausoleum of Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu. Also worth mentioning is the Futarasan Shrine. These structures date back to the 700 C.E. and have been visited throughout their history.
One special attraction that makes Nikko a uniquely complete visit is the thermal springs, or onsen, that can be found in the area. These specialized traditional inns cater to both Japanese and tourists offering expertly prepared meals some containing more than 20 dishes.
Is it any wonder that the Japanese have a saying, “never say beauty until you‘ve seen Nikko.”
While you’re in Japan make sure you look into all of these beautiful places, especially if you’re looking for day trip ideas from Tokyo! Whether you choose to make your own way or take a day tour from Tokyo, these are some of the best spots to visit in Japan!
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