Day Trips from Tokyo: Unveiling Nearby Marvels and Hidden Gems
Updated: Sep 19
Day trips from Tokyo offer the perfect opportunity to explore and experience Japan's diverse landscapes, cultural heritage, and unique attractions. With its expansive rail network, it is easy for tourists to access nearby cities such as Kyoto or Nikko which feature ancient temples, gardens, and shrines with spectacular views. From sacred mountains to rugged coastlines, there are plenty of opportunities to get away from the city and immerse oneself in breathtaking natural beauty.
In addition, day trips also provide visitors with a chance to uncover hidden gems that can only be found off the beaten path. From traditional festivals held in small towns to quirky local spots such as underground bars or cosplay cafes - there are plenty of surprises waiting around every corner. All these activities are easily accessible by taking public transportation from Tokyo - making day trips an attractive option for those looking for maximum convenience and diversity during their travels!
Here are some of the best day trips from Tokyo that you can take.
Nestled in the picturesque mountains of Nagano Prefecture, Karuizawa is a hidden gem and a beloved retreat for Tokyoites. Karuizawa is a mountainous hot springs town an hour and a half north of Tokyo. This charming town offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, cultural attractions, and a peaceful atmosphere. It was once the summer retreat for the Japanese Imperial Family, and it’s easy to see why. Here you can soak in an onsen (hot spring), shop at quaint boutiques, visit shrines, and even go skiing or snowboarding in the winter months. The easiest way to get here is to take the Shinkansen train from Tokyo Station. It costs around 3500 yen (approx. $35 USD) and takes just over an hour.
Experience the natural wonders of Hakone, an area located around one hour southwest of Tokyo. Located in the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, here you can get up close to Mount Fuji, explore lush forests, and even take a dip in some hot springs. A popular way to experience this area is by taking a scenic boat cruise on Lake Ashi, surrounded by breathtaking landscapes. You can also unwind in the soothing waters of an onsen (hot spring) and soak in the rejuvenating experience. For a closer encounter with Mount Fuji, hop on the Hakone Ropeway or visit the Owakudani volcanic valley, known for its sulfurous fumes and black eggs boiled in hot springs. To get here, take the Odakyu Line from Shinjuku Station, which takes around 90 minutes and costs around 1500 yen (approx. $15 USD).
If you’re looking for a bit of history, head on over to Nikko. Just a short train ride away, this UNESCO World Heritage site is renowned for its stunning shrines and temples nestled within lush forests. This town is home to the famous Toshogu Shrine, a 17th-century complex known for its intricately decorated buildings and peaceful surroundings. Explore the mesmerizing beauty of Lake Chuzenji, and be sure to hike to the breathtaking Kegon Falls for a truly awe-inspiring experience. The easiest way to get here is by taking the Tobu Nikko Line from Asakusa Station, which takes around two hours and costs around 2500 yen (approx. $25 USD).
Escape to Kamakura, a coastal city located around one hour south of Tokyo. This quaint town is famous for its many temples and shrines, beautiful beaches, and scenic landscapes. Visitors can explore the area’s iconic landmarks such as the Great Buddha at Kotokuin Temple or Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine. For those who prefer being by the sea, Kamakura’s beaches are perfect for swimming, sunning, and enjoying stunning views of the ocean. You can also take a scenic walk along the coastal path or explore the nearby villages in search of traditional Japanese craftsmanship. To get here, take the JR Yokosuka Line from Tokyo Station which takes around an hour and costs around 1200 yen (approx. $12 USD).
Discover the vibrant city of Yokohama, located just a short train ride away from Tokyo. This vibrant port city is located around 30 minutes south of Tokyo and features plenty of attractions that are all very family-friendly. Visit the iconic Yokohama Landmark Tower and enjoy panoramic views from its observatory. Explore the historic district of Yamate, with its Western-style houses and beautiful gardens. And don't miss the futuristic Minato Mirai waterfront area, home to shopping centers, amusement parks, and the Cup Noodles Museum. For a serene escape, stroll through the stunning Sankeien Garden, a traditional Japanese garden dotted with historic buildings. To get here, take the JR Tokaido Line from Tokyo Station which takes around 30 minutes and costs around 600 yen (approx. $6 USD).
Step back in time and visit Kawagoe, a town renowned for its well-preserved Edo-period architecture and traditional atmosphere. Known as "Little Edo," Kawagoe offers a glimpse into Japan's past. Here you can explore its old merchant houses, street markets, and historic temples. The iconic Kurazukuri Street is lined with well-preserved clay-walled warehouses that harken back to the olden days. The town is also home to the iconic bell tower of Kawagoe Castle, a great photo opportunity. Also, experience the charm of the nostalgic Candy Alley, where you can sample traditional sweets and snacks. The easiest way to get here is by taking the JR Kawagoe Line from Ikebukuro Station, which takes around 35 minutes and costs around 500 yen (approx. $5 USD).
For a coastal escape, head to Enoshima, a charming island located off the coast of Kanagawa Prefecture. Stroll along the picturesque beaches, explore the enchanting Enoshima Shrine, and take in breathtaking views of the ocean from the observation tower. Don't miss the opportunity to try fresh seafood at one of the island's many seafood restaurants. You can also visit the nearby Enoshima Aquarium, which showcases a wide variety of marine life. To get here, take the Odakyu Line from Shinjuku Station which takes around an hour and costs around 1300 yen (approx. $13 USD).
With a variety of day trips to choose from, there's something for everyone near Tokyo. Whether you're looking for a tranquil retreat or some urban exploration, Tokyo has it all. So take the chance and explore some of these amazing destinations during your stay.