Tokyo is a massive city with no shortage of activities to try, restaurants to dine in, and neighborhoods to shop in. However, travelers with a short time in Japan will have a limited view of the country if they don’t venture outside the city center and see some incredible nature and history that’s just a brief bullet train ride away. Make the most of a trip to Tokyo with these ten unforgettable day trips from Japan’s capital.
Hakone is a popular day trip destination from Tokyo and offers travelers a chance to view the iconic Mount Fuji from a distance. It’s also a town that’s rich in hot springs, so it’s a great place to soak in an onsen. The Shinkansen from Tokyo to Hakone takes a little over 90 minutes and costs approximately $21. Visit in fall for stunning foliage colors or in spring to snap a photo of Mount Fuji surrounded by cherry blossoms.
Kamakura is located south of Tokyo, by the sea. As a coastal gem, it’s become a resort town in the modern era, though it was once a politically centered city. There are plenty of Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines to explore here. See the Big Buddha at Kotoku-in Temple, dine at vendors along Komachi-Dori, and visit Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine. Travelers can take the JR Line from Tokyo and reach Kamakura in just 1 hour.
One of the day trips from Tokyo that travelers shouldn’t miss out on is Nikko. This excursion takes you to a completely different side of Japan that can’t be experienced in the bustling capital. Nikko is peaceful and serene, enveloping visitors in nature. The city is located in the Tochigi Prefecture, a mountainous region north of Tokyo. Travelers should visit the famous Toshogu shrine while in Nikko, which was built in the early 1600s for the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate. The city of Nikko is at the entrance of Nikko National Park, where travelers can embark on many beautiful hikes, such as the Mount Nikko-Shirane Loop or Ryuokyo Gorge Walk.
Yokohama is a city located south of Tokyo. It’s a port city and has been an important location for foreign trade since the 1800s. Train service between Tokyo and Yokohama is frequent and efficient, making it one of the most accessible day trips from Japan’s capital. Travelers can depart from Tokyo Station or Shinagawa station, taking the JR Tokaido Line, or take the Tokyu Toyoko Line from Shibuya Station. It’s also possible to take the JR Shonan Shinjuku Line from Shinjuku station; all of these transit options allow travelers to complete the trip in 30 minutes or less. Some top things to do in Yokohama include exploring the expansive Chinatown, strolling through Sankeien Gardens, or visiting the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum.
Enoshima is a small island off the coast of Japan in Kanagawa Prefecture. It’s a beautiful destination for visiting shrines and temples, taking a dip in the ocean, or indulging in local cuisine. To get to this idyllic island while staying in Tokyo, travelers can take an express train from Shinjuku to Fujisawa Station. They must transfer at Katase Enoshima Station, which is at the end of the line. The trip, one way, takes approximately 75 minutes to complete.
5 Odawara Castle
Odawara Castle is an important landmark in Kanagawa Prefecture. Travelers can reach the castle by walking just 10 minutes from the East Exit of Odawara Station. The journey is short (just 35 minutes) on the JR Tokaido Line, which is included in a JR Rail Pass. Odawara Castle is a beautiful architectural achievement and is a must-see for travelers who won’t be heading to the Kansei Region on their trip to visit other similar structures like Osaka Castle or Himeji Castle.
Kyoto is a city that deserves far more time and attention than a day trip offers, but for travelers who are limited in how many days they spend in Japan or in Tokyo for business, a quick day trip to Kyoto is better than not visiting at all. Travelers can reach Kyoto in just over 2 hours from Tokyo by taking the Nozomi Line on the Shinkansen. With only one day to spend exploring Japan’s former capital, travelers should plan to visit Nashik Market, Kiyomizu-Dera, and Ninenzaka before heading back to Tokyo.
3 Lake Kawaguchiko
Lake Kawaguchiko is another destination that offers incredible views of Mount Fuji in the distance and a chance to experience a cottage-like town in Japan. Travelers can take the Fujikyuko Line from Tokyo to Kawaguchiko Station, from which they can walk to the lake and surrounding attractions or take a taxi. It’s important to note that Kawaguchiko is not a JR Station, meaning that travelers exploring Japan using a JR Pass will need to purchase a separate ticket for this leg of the trip.
2 Mount Fuji
While three are plenty of places to see Mount Fuji at a distance on a day trip from Tokyo, another day trip option is visiting the mountain itself. During the summer hiking season (July to September), travelers can catch a direct bust to Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station from the Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal. Bus tickets are around $30, and the journey takes approximately 2.5 hours each way. From the 5th Station, travelers are already partway up the mountain and can see views of surrounding areas from Japan’s tallest mountain. Anyone who plans to hike to the peak will need to plan overnight accommodations in a mountain hut, as the full ascent and descent cannot be made as a day trip.
1 Chiba City
Chiba City is east of Tokyo, and it's the capital of Chiba Prefecture. Chiba is well known for hosting Japan’s Disney parks, Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea. Travelers who want to experience the magic of Disney in Japan will want to plan a day trip or two to Chiba, but there are also many natural attractions that draw visitors to this area. There are many fruit farms in the area for fruit picking, and surfing is popular at Onjuku Beach. The Hoki Museum, Museum of Art, and Chiba Port Tower are a few of the notable landmarks and historical spots to explore.