There are so many things to do in Tokyo, you could easily spend a week there and still have a lot left to see! But if you are looking to venture out of the city and get away from the busy streets, there are plenty of places you can reach within an hour or two.
These places allow you to experience more of Japan’s culture in a natural setting. Visiting volcanoes, finding the best spot to see Mount Fuji, exploring bamboo groves, are just a few of the unique Japan experiences just outside the capital city. Here are some of our favorite day trips from Tokyo what to see, and how to get there.
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Best Places to Visit on a Day Trip from Tokyo
Mt Fuji Day Trip
No trip to Japan would be complete without a Mt Fuji day trip from Tokyo. It’s one of the most popular Tokyo day trips. There are several ways you can visit this Japanese icon. You can head to one, or several of the five lakes surrounding the mountain, or you could head to one of the local pagodas.
The most famous pagoda to view Mt Fuji from is called Chureito Pagoda, and it’s a 2-hour bus ride from Tokyo. To get there, take the bus from Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal to Central Doshimoyoshida Bus stop, and from there it’s a 20-minute walk.
If you’d like to visit one of the five lakes, Lake Kawaguchi is the easiest to reach. It’s the most developed of the lakes, with various tourist attractions and hot spring resorts. If you’re visiting in April or October, this is a great day trip to add to your Tokyo itinerary. You will catch the cherry blossoms in the spring, or the autumn leaves if you visit later in the year.
To reach Lake Kawaguchi, take a bus from Tokyo Station to Kawaguchiko Station.
Hitachi National Seaside Park
This park is colorful year round, with fields of seasonal flowers always in bloom. The most iconic flowers of the park are blue Nemophila, which usually bloom in the spring. Don’t worry if you miss them, there are plenty of other flowers to see throughout the year and always other things to do.
If you’re into nature, this day trip from Tokyo will give you a break from the busy city. There are walking trails through the Hitachinaka Nature Forest and bike trails.
If you are traveling with kids, there’s a small amusement park with a Ferris wheel, mini-golf and a BMX track. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from, and even a BBQ area suitable for picnics.
To reach Hitachi from Tokyo, you can take the train from Tokyo to Katsuta station and from there, it’s a short taxi ride to the park.
Hakone is located near Mount Fuji, on Lake Ashinoko, though this is not one of the Fuji five lakes. On a good day, you might be able to see the mountain, but chances are you’ll have a better chance of seeing it somewhere else.
This town is known for more than its lake and views. It sits at the foot of an active volcano valley (Owakudani) which you can access via the cable car. There are steam vents and hot springs everywhere, and you can’t miss the strong sulfur smell. At the top, you can purchase black boiled eggs, which are said to extend your life by seven years.
The town is also known for its onsens (Japanese hot springs) and is a popular destination for the people of Tokyo who are taking a break from work.
To travel to Hakone from Tokyo takes about an hour. You can take a train from Tokyo to Odawra and then a bus to Sanmaibashi.
Nikko National Park
A day trip from Tokyo to Nikko offers the perfect blend of culture and nature. The temples and shrines are in perfect condition, considering they date back to the 1600s. It’s also an UNESCO World Heritage site.
On the list of places to see here is Shinkyo Bridge, which is said to have been built by the god Jinjao. You will also find the Tamozawa Imperial Villa, which was built in 1918 as a second home for the Emperor.
To get here, take a train from Tokyo to Utsunomia and then another to Nikko. The trip should take around 2 hours.
Kawagoe is just a 30-minute train ride from Tokyo, making it a perfect day trip option.
You can step back in time here, as much of the architecture from the town’s beginnings have been preserved. It’s most famous area is the Warehouse District, where you will find clay walled warehouses called Kurazukuri.
If you have a sweet tooth, you can visit Candy Alley. This street is right next to the warehouse district and is famed for selling traditional Japanese sweets and cakes.
This is a really easy trip from Tokyo. You can take the train from Ikebukuro to Kawagoe and be roaming the streets within half an hour.
Kamakura has it all, temples, shrines, beaches and mountains. The most popular attraction here is the Great Buddha.
If you’re into hiking, this is usually a great day trip to take. Unfortunately, due to the typhoon last year, the hiking trails have had to close, however, The Daibutsu and The Tenen Hiking courses are due to reopen in June 2020.
If you’re not into walking, you can catch the bus from Kamakura Station to Hokokuji Temple. It may appear modest-looking, however, it has unique quirks such as its bell tower and bamboo grove.
Hidden behind the temple’s main hall, you can walk through the small the bamboo grove to a tea house and shallow caves. The caves are said to hold the ashes of Ashikaga Lords.
To reach Kamakura, it’s just a 1-hour train from Tokyo to Kamakura. You can even spend half a day here it’s that quick.
There you have some of the best day trips from Tokyo. Have you visited these places before? Are you planning a trip to Japan?
Book Your Flights
You can find discounted fares using sites like Momondo or Skyscanner. If you want to keep an eye on discount fares, we suggest signing up for Scott’s Cheap Flights, a daily newsletter with flight sales around the world.
If you travel frequently, consider investing in a Priority Pass for airport lounge access. It’s nice to have a space where you can relax before your flight.
Book Your Accommodation
We regularly use Hotels.com and Expedia.com to find lodging when we travel. It’s a great way to compare vacation rentals, hotels, and resorts.
If your family knows they want to stay in a vacation rental, we recommend looking at VRBO and Plum Guide.
Book Your Transportation
For rental car agencies, try Rentalcars.com. We tend to use Hertz simply for the quality of service.
Book Your Tours and Travel Photos
We regularly used companies like Viator and GetYourGuide to book tours when we travel. Both have great communication and a large variety of activities that work for all ages.
If you’re visiting a city with multiple attractions, be sure to check out a discount pass, such as CityPASS or Go City. Tiqets is another place to purchase tickets for attractions.
Context Travel is another option and they offer more educational based activities. The former teacher in me loves their tours.
One of our favorite things to do annually is take photos with Flytographer. They have photographers around the world and we’ve used them on four separate occasions. This is our favorite travel souvenir.
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
With the state of travel these days, it’s important to have some type of travel insurance to cover any unforeseen accidents, illnesses, threat or cancellations. We always travel with insurance and would recommend SquareMouth, Travelex, or Medjet as good options. And if you want to compare different insurance options, use Travel Insurance Master to find the best policy for your group.