Are you looking to explore the diverse beauty of Japan beyond Tokyo? Embarking on day trips from Tokyo is the perfect way to discover stunning landscapes, ancient temples, and unique attractions that will leave you in awe. In this article, we will provide you with a comprehensive guide to the 15 best day trips from Tokyo, ensuring that you have the ultimate traveler’s list.
What you will learn:
- The best day trips from Tokyo and what they offer.
- The must-visit attractions in each destination.
- How to make the most of your day trips by exploring the local culture and cuisine.
Kamakura: A Glimpse into Japan’s Past
If you’re seeking a glimpse into Japan’s past, a day trip to Kamakura is a must. Just south of Tokyo, this historic city is known for its numerous temples and shrines. One of the highlights is the Great Buddha, a magnificent bronze statue standing at 13.35 meters tall. Another must-see attraction is the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, a sacred site dedicated to the Shinto god of war.
Take the opportunity to explore the picturesque streets lined with traditional shops and eateries. Kamakura is also known for its local delicacies, such as shirasu (baby sardines) and Kamakura vegetables. A leisurely stroll along Komachi Street will allow you to try various street food and shop for unique souvenirs. Kamakura is easily accessible from Tokyo by train, making it an ideal day trip for both history enthusiasts and food lovers.
Hakone: Scenic Beauty and Relaxation
For a scenic getaway near Tokyo, Hakone is the perfect destination. Offering breathtaking views of Mount Fuji and natural hot springs, Hakone is a place of tranquility and natural beauty. One of the must-visit attractions in Hakone is the Hakone Open-Air Museum, which features a collection of contemporary sculptures set against the backdrop of the surrounding mountains. Another popular spot is Lake Ashi, where you can take a relaxing boat ride and admire the stunning reflections of Mount Fuji on the water’s surface.
To fully experience the beauty of Hakone, take a ride on the Hakone Ropeway, a cable car that offers panoramic views of the surrounding volcanic landscape. Don’t miss the chance to visit Owakudani, a volcanic valley known for its bubbling hot springs and sulfurous fumes. You can even try a black-colored egg boiled in the hot springs, which is said to add seven years to your life! Whether you’re seeking natural beauty or a rejuvenating hot spring experience, Hakone is a day trip that should not be missed.
Nikko: Traditional Architecture and Natural Landscapes
Located in Tochigi Prefecture, Nikko is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that showcases Japan’s traditional architecture and stunning natural landscapes. The highlight of Nikko is the Toshogu Shrine, a lavishly decorated shrine complex dedicated to Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate. The intricately carved wooden structures and vibrant colors of the shrine are a testament to Japan’s rich cultural heritage.
In addition to the Toshogu Shrine, Nikko is also famous for its beautiful lakes and waterfalls. Lake Chuzenji, nestled in the mountains, offers scenic boat rides and hiking trails. Kegon Falls, one of Japan’s most famous waterfalls, is a breathtaking sight to behold. The cascading water from a height of 97 meters creates a mesmerizing spectacle that captivates visitors.
Nikko is easily accessible from Tokyo by train and is a perfect day trip for those seeking a combination of history and natural beauty. Immerse yourself in the tranquility of Nikko and experience the wonders of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Yokohama: Japan’s second-largest city
|Day Trip||Distance from Tokyo||Highlights|
|Kamakura||50 km||Great Buddha, Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine|
|Hakone||80 km||Mount Fuji views, Hakone Open-Air Museum, Lake Ashi|
|Nikko||150 km||Toshogu Shrine, Lake Chuzenji, Kegon Falls|
|Yokohama||30 km||Minato Mirai, Chinatown, Yamashita Park|
|Kawagoe||30 km||Kurazukuri Street, Toki no Kane bell tower, sweet potato snacks|
|Mount Takao||50 km||Takaosan Yakuoin Temple, hiking trails, panoramic views|
|Enoshima||50 km||Enoshima Shrine, Enoshima Sea Candle, beaches|
Modern Attractions and Traditional Charm
Located just a short train ride from Tokyo, Yokohama is a vibrant port city that offers a blend of modern attractions and traditional charm. One of the must-see spots in Yokohama is Minato Mirai, a futuristic waterfront district that features iconic landmarks such as the Landmark Tower and the Cosmo Clock 21 Ferris wheel. From the observation deck of the Landmark Tower, you can enjoy panoramic views of Yokohama and Tokyo Bay.
Yokohama is also famous for its Chinatown, one of the largest Chinatowns in the world. Stroll through the bustling streets and indulge in delicious Chinese cuisine at the many restaurants and street food stalls. Another popular attraction is Yamashita Park, a waterfront park with beautiful gardens and a promenade where you can enjoy a leisurely walk while taking in the sea breeze.
With its blend of modernity and tradition, Yokohama offers a unique day trip experience that is sure to captivate visitors. Explore the city’s vibrant neighborhoods, immerse yourself in its rich history, and savor the diverse culinary delights that Yokohama has to offer.
Kawagoe: Also known as “Little Edo”
Step back in time with a visit to Kawagoe, a charming town located just outside of Tokyo. Known as “Little Edo,” Kawagoe showcases well-preserved Edo-era architecture, giving visitors a glimpse into Japan’s past. One of the highlights of Kawagoe is Kurazukuri Street, a row of traditional clay-walled warehouses that have been converted into shops and cafes. Here, you can shop for traditional crafts, sample local sweets, and immerse yourself in the nostalgic atmosphere of old Japan.
Another iconic landmark in Kawagoe is the Toki no Kane bell tower, which has been standing for over 400 years. The bell rings four times a day to mark the passing of time and is a symbol of Kawagoe’s rich history. As you explore the town, be sure to try the local specialty: sweet potato snacks. Kawagoe is famous for its sweet potatoes, and you’ll find a variety of delicious treats made from this humble root vegetable.
Kawagoe is easily accessible from Tokyo by train and offers a unique day trip experience for those seeking a taste of traditional Japan. Immerse yourself in the nostalgic atmosphere of “Little Edo” and create lasting memories in this charming town.
Mount Takao: Nature’s Retreat
Nature lovers and hiking enthusiasts should not miss the opportunity to visit Mount Takao, a scenic mountain located just outside of Tokyo. With its lush forests, hiking trails, and stunning panoramic views, Mount Takao offers a refreshing escape from the bustling city.
One of the must-visit spots on Mount Takao is the Takaosan Yakuoin Temple, a Buddhist temple nestled in the mountains. The temple is a place of spiritual significance and offers a serene atmosphere for meditation and reflection. From the temple, you can hike to the summit of Mount Takao, where you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.
For those who prefer a more relaxed ascent, there are options to reach the summit of Mount Takao by cable car or chairlift. Whichever route you choose, you’ll be greeted with stunning vistas and a sense of tranquility that can only be found in nature.
Enoshima: Beaches and Historical Landmarks
Looking for a day trip that combines sandy beaches, breathtaking sunsets, and historical landmarks? Enoshima is the perfect destination. This picturesque island, located along the Shonan Coast, attracts visitors with its natural beauty and unique attractions.
Enoshima is home to the Enoshima Shrine, a sacred site dedicated to the goddess Benzaiten. Take a leisurely walk through the shrine grounds and admire the beautiful architecture and serene atmosphere. Another notable landmark is the Enoshima Sea Candle, a lighthouse that offers panoramic views of the surrounding area.
In addition to its historical landmarks, Enoshima is known for its beautiful Japanese beaches. Take a dip in the crystal-clear waters or enjoy a relaxing stroll along the shore. The island also offers various water sports activities, such as surfing and paddleboarding, for those seeking adventure.
Enoshima is easily accessible from Tokyo by train and is an ideal day trip for beach lovers and history enthusiasts alike. Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Enoshima and create unforgettable memories on this charming island.
These are just a few of the best day trips from Tokyo that offer a diverse range of experiences. Whether you’re interested in history, nature, or modern attractions, these destinations will surely leave a lasting impression. So, plan your itinerary, hop on a train, and embark on an adventure to discover the hidden gems surrounding Tokyo.
Personal Story: Exploring the Scenic Landscapes of Nikko
During my trip to Japan, I decided to take a day trip from Tokyo to Nikko, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its elaborate shrines and stunning natural beauty. The journey from Tokyo to Nikko was just a short train ride away, and as I arrived in Nikko, I was immediately captivated by its serene atmosphere.
I started my exploration of Nikko by visiting the famous Toshogu Shrine, a grand complex of colorful buildings adorned with intricate carvings. The craftsmanship and attention to detail were truly remarkable, and I couldn’t help but marvel at the beauty of the shrine. As I strolled through the tranquil forest surrounding the shrine, I felt a sense of peace and tranquility that is hard to find in the bustling city.
Afterwards, I made my way to Lake Chuzenji, a picturesque lake nestled in the mountains. The view of the lake against the backdrop of lush greenery was simply breathtaking. I took a leisurely boat ride on the lake, soaking in the beauty of the surrounding landscapes. As I reached the other side of the lake, I couldn’t resist taking a short hike to Kegon Falls, one of Japan’s most famous waterfalls. The sight of the cascading water was awe-inspiring, and I couldn’t help but feel a deep appreciation for nature’s wonders.
As the day came to an end, I sat by the lake, watching the sun slowly set behind the mountains. The colors of the sky painted a mesmerizing picture, and I felt a sense of gratitude for having the opportunity to witness such beauty. Nikko had truly captured my heart with its rich cultural heritage and stunning natural landscapes.
Visiting Nikko was a reminder of the diverse beauty that Japan has to offer beyond its bustling cities. It was a day trip that allowed me to immerse myself in the tranquility of nature and experience the rich history and culture of this enchanting destination. I highly recommend adding Nikko to your list of day trips from Tokyo, as it promises to be an unforgettable experience.