Translated by Jasmine O
Top 15 Destinations For A Day Trip From Tokyo
Written by Shinji Takaramura
This article features 15 great day trip spots from Tokyo, with all being accessible via train and Shinkansen. Adventure to Mt. Fuji, Nikko, Hakone, Kamakura, or Kawagoe to experience an entirely different side of Japan. When visiting Tokyo, remember to explore these places, too!
15 Day Trip Destinations Near Tokyo
Upper-left photo by Pixta
Thinking about taking a day trip from Tokyo? There are many places easily accessible and ideal for a day away from the capital where you can discover a different side of Japan and enjoy nature, delicious food, and history.
This article introduces fifteen recommended destinations for a day trip from Tokyo. All these places will steal your heart with their scenic views, local food, and unique charm, features that cannot be found in the heart of the metropolis.
Picture from Highlights Of Nikko Tosho-gu Shrine, A UNESCO Site
Nikko Toshogu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a famous shrine to visit in Nikko, Tochigi prefecture. From Asakusa Station, you can reach Nikko in less than two hours.
2. Mt. Fuji
Mt. Fuji has been registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2013, becoming an even more popular place to visit. While the season for climbing is in the summer, there is plenty to do near the majestic mountain year-round, from ropeway rides with spectacular views to museums and delicious local food.
Recommended destinations in the Mt. Fuji area include Lake Kawaguchiko, Fuji-Q Highland, and other spots in Yamanashi Prefecture.
It is simple to reach Mt. Fuji. For a comfortable ride with no transfers, ride the Fuji Excursion from Shinjuku to reach Kawaguchiko in 1 hour and 52 minutes. To get to Fuji-Q Highland, ride to Fukjikyu Highland Station.
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Picture from Hakone: Five Spots to Enjoy the Autumn Leaves
For a relaxing trip, we recommend going to Hakone, one of the best hot spring spots in Japan, located in Kanagawa Prefecture. Ideal day trip sites in Hakone include its onsen, Hakone Open-Air Museum, Owakudani, and Lake Ashi. Hakone also boasts some gorgeous views of Mt. Fuji from the ropeway that services the mountainous areas, and from a boat on Lake Ashi.
Direct trains operate between Odakyu Shinjuku Station and Hakone Yumoto Station, where most of the major hot spring facilities are. It takes around 90 minutes to reach the Hakone area; reserving a ticket for the Romancecar is recommended for travelers looking for comfort.
Yokohama is one of Japan's most famous cities. You can easily spend a whole day here since there are a lot of attractions for visitors, such as Minato Mirai, Chinatown, museums, traditional gardens, and shopping centers. Even those coming from Tokyo will appreciate the laid-back but sophisticated atmosphere of Yokohama.
Yokohama is very close to Tokyo, with multiple JR and railway lines serving the city. The fastest method from Tokyo Station is to use the Tokaido Main Line. It takes just 27 minutes to reach Yokohama Station.
Picture from The Great Buddha of Kamakura
Kamakura, once the capital of Japan, is famous for its historical temples and shrines, like the 11.4-meter-tall Giant Buddha at Kotokuin Temple, and Hasedera Temple, which is famous for its hydrangeas and picturesque ocean view.
Enoshima, a tiny island off of Kamakura, is also a great option for a half-day activity; on a clear day, you will be able to see Mt. Fuji from the outlook there.
Tiny shops and restaurants line many streets in Kamakura, so travelers have no shortage of great food, drink, and shopping opportunities. There is something that will please everyone in Kamakura.
It takes around one hour to get to Kamakura Station from Tokyo Station. Take either the JR Yokosuka Line to Kamakura, or take the JR Tokaido Main Line and transfer to the Yokosuka Line for Kamakura. Note that there are two Kamakura stations; the JR one will take you back to Tokyo, and the Enoshima Railway will take you to other areas of Kamakura, like Enoshima and the Giant Buddha Statue.
Picture from Places You Must Visit in Saitama Prefecture!
Kawagoe is called Koedo ("Little Edo", Edo being the old name of present-day Tokyo) as there are many old and historical buildings left. Kawagoe is a popular place to visit in Saitama Prefecture and is designated a national historic site. In addition to the charming townscape, desserts using matcha and sweet potato are particularly well-known, making it an excellent destination for someone with a sweet tooth.
To get to Kawagoe from Tokyo, it takes around one hour. First, get to Ikebukuro, where you will depart from Tobu Ikebukuro Station to ride the Tobu express train to Kawagoe.
*1 Koedo: a town which retains the historical atmosphere and buildings of Edo (the name of Tokyo in the Edo period).
7. Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea
Picture from Rabbit Mickey?! Easter Attractions in Disneyland
Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Disney Sea is a dream world where all generations can have fun. There are various seasonal events, shows, and exclusive merchandise year-round, making a visit fun at any time. Both parks are located in Chiba Prefecture and are easily accessible from central Tokyo.
If you leave from Tokyo Station, it takes only 15 minutes to get there. Take the JR Keiyo Line to JR Maihama Station, and then ride the tram to get to the parks.
Chichibu is the best place for nature lovers as the city is surrounded by nature. Visitors can try hiking, rafting, and camping here. Autumn brings vibrant hues and foliage, so bring your camera if you plan on visiting in October and November.
The Chichibu Night Festival held each year in early December is a gorgeous festival that ranks equally with the famous Gion Festival in Kyoto. It is a great chance to experience another side of Japanese culture.
From Tokyo, take the train from Ikebukuro Station to reach Seibu Chichibu Station. Express trains like the Red Arrow will get you to Chichibu Station in around 1 hour and 20 minutes.
9. Izu Oshima Island
Izu Oshima is Tokyo's closest remote island. Famous for its volcano, Mt. Mihara, excellent hot springs, and beautiful camellias, Oshima will impress you as a highly urbanized island. It is a place to experience the wild beauty of nature while still enjoying the comfort of the metropolis.
Oshima is accessible from Tokyo via a ferry that takes around 1 hour, 45 minutes each way. Take the high-speed jet ferry from the Takeshiba Passenger Ship Terminal. Ferries leave several times per day, but service is limited. See the official ferry website for information.
10. Mt. Takao
Mt. Takao is a famous hiking spot located in the Tokyo area, receiving many visitors throughout the year. The mountain itself is around 600 meters (1,968 feet) high and the mountain trails are well maintained. Objects and structures from shrines line the paths, making it an ideal place to explore the great outdoors and feel rejuvenated. From children to adults, anyone will be able to enjoy the climb as there are several hiking trails, a ropeway, and cable cars.
To get to Mt. Takao, ride the Keio Line from Keio Shinjuku Station. After a 50-minute ride, get off at Takaosanguchi Station. Signs for the trailheads, maps, and numerous shops greet riders right as they get off the train.
Photo by Pixta
Odawara is a city famous for its castle and local food culture, located in between Tokyo and Hakone. On a day trip to this historic destination, travelers can enjoy Odawara Castle, the traditional atmosphere, and try making kamaboko, the fish cakes found in ramen, udon, and many other traditional Japanese dishes. Other sites include the Enoura Observatory, where visitors can take in stunning views of the Sagami Bay.
To get to Odawara from Tokyo, take the Tokaido Shinkansen (use the Kodama) to Odawara Station. It takes around half an hour using this method.
12. Hitachi Seaside Park
Picture from Enjoy The Blue Sea Of Nemophila At Hitachi Seaside Park, Ibaraki
Hitachi Seaside Park is an expansive park where visitors can enjoy fields of seasonal flowers year-round. In April and May, the park is particularly known for its gorgeous baby blue Nemophilia fields. In October, you can walk through hills of fiery red Kochia that will make you feel like you're on a different planet. Be sure to bring a camera!
In addition to the flower fields, there are many gardens, eateries, spaces for barbecues, and even a small amusement park. It is a great spot to spend the day.
Hitachi Seaside Park is on the coast of Ibaraki Prefecture, facing the Pacific Ocean. The park is accessible via train and bus from Tokyo in less than two hours. Take the Hitachi or Tokiwa limited express from Tokyo to Katsuta Station (around 80 minutes). Exit east from the station and ride the bus from platform 2 to Hitachi Kaihin Minamiguchi or Hitachi Kaihin Koen Nishiguchi (15 minutes).
Photo by Pixta
For a leisurely day of Japanese hot springs and coastal views, head to Atami. This seaside resort town is especially renowned for its high-quality onsen, fresh seafood, and charming townscape. There are dozens of ryokan hot spring facilities which those on a day trip can enjoy, and also spas.
Atami is also a nice destination for a short stay, as there are also firework displays held throughout the year. Accessible via Tokaido Shinkansen or express train, it takes just around 45 minutes to get to Atami from Tokyo Station.
14. Kusatsu Onsen and Hot Spring Towns in Gunma
Picture from Kusatsu Onsen Guide: Hot Springs, Things To Do, And Access From Tokyo
To enjoy hot springs in the mountains, head to Gunma Prefecture. Most known for Kusatsu Onsen, this mountainous region offers some of the best onsen in Japan. Other major onsen towns great for day trips include Shima Onsen, Minakami Onsen, and Ikaho Onsen. In these areas, spend the day dipping into different baths, shopping, and trying local cuisine. For travelers looking for outdoor activity, Shima Onsen is close to Lake Okushima, a sparkling blue lake you can canoe on.
Visitors can enjoy scenic views of the greenery-covered mountains and hills year-round, and snowscapes in the winter. The red and gold foliage is also gorgeous in Gunma.
Traveling to the hot spring areas in Gunma can take around three hours, so leave early in the morning to make the most of a day trip. The route to Kusatsu Onsen, Shima Onsen, and other towns includes a 55-minute Shinkansen from Tokyo to Takasaki. From Takasaki, you will have to transfer to a different train or a bus going to your desired destination.
Picture from Tochigi Travel Guide - 10 Things To Do In Nikko, Utsunomiya, And Nasu (Photo by Pixta)
Utsunomiya is a unique day-trip destination in Tochigi Prefecture. Known as the capital of gyoza (Japanese-style dumplings), this is a fun city to explore for a day and evening of gourmet fun, from delicious gyoza to cocktails. A recommendation is Kirasse, a famous gyoza specialty restaurant.
In the evening, a must-visit is Utsunomiya Yatai Yokocho, an alley of local dining bars where travelers will find lively conversation and exquisite drinks and food.
Utsunomiya is around 50 minutes via Tohoku Shinkansen from Tokyo. It is a convenient spot to visit for holders of the Japan Rail Pass, who can ride the bullet train free of charge.
Adventure on a Day Trips from Tokyo!
This article recommends fifteen destinations ideal for day trips from Tokyo. By visiting them, you will have the chance to experience a completely different atmosphere from that of the city. Please plan your visit so that you get to see as many aspects of Japanese culture as you can.
For other day trip suggestions, take a look at the Greater Tokyo website.
This article is a rewritten version of an article published in 2016.