Whether you’re looking for countryside, cultural attractions or typical Japanese towns, there is lots of choice for day trips from Tokyo. And the super-efficient local transport means that you can easily have a day out without the need for a car.
One of the best day trips from Tokyo is to the small town of Lake Kawaguchiko at the base of Mount Fuji. The easiest way to get to here is by bus. From Shinjuku Station to Kawaguchiko station takes around an hour and 45 minutes, or it is a 90-minute drive. You can also do an organised day trip through a tour company so you don’t have to worry about transportation.
This is one of the best places to try to get a clear view of Mount Fuji since the lake makes such a beautiful setting. There are also plenty of things to do in the area. You can rent a bike to tour the town, get on the water on a kayak, or go hiking for more incredible views.
The lake is located in a valley surrounded by mountains and forests, with Mount Fuji as its backdrop. It has been designated an Important Bird Area for over 20 years because it supports large numbers of migratory birds from all around Japan. Art fans can visit the Itchiku Kubota Art Museum which is home to ancient ruins, primitive art, and even a tie-dyed painted silk kimono.
For aerial views of the town (and Mount Fuji) head to Tenjoyama Park to take the cable car up Mount Tenjoyama.
Contributed by Pamela from The Directionally Challenged Traveler
Hakone is around an hour and a half from Tokyo by train and bus. This is a traditional Japanese onsen town, where you can enjoy the therapeutic properties of the hot springs, either in a hotel or a public bath house.
Hakone is also a fantastic place for those who enjoy nature and countryside, with a nearby lake, volcanic mountains, and views of Mount Fuji.
If you’re looking for an easy nature escape from Tokyo, Mount Takao is the day trip. Located just an hour away by train, this destination offers hiking trails, temples, and street snacks galore. Visiting Mount Takao on a day trip is very easy. Just take the Keio Line from Shinjuku to Takaosanguchi Station which is the last stop on the line, and be sure you get on the express train to avoid unnecessary stops.
Once you arrive at the base of Mount Takao, you have three options to reach the top. You can ride the cable car (which is really a funicular and the steepest line in all of Japan), you can take the chair lift, or you can hike up. The first two options get you about halfway up the mountain and you can continue the rest of the way on foot.
One of the main draws to Mount Takao is Takao-san Yakuo-in Yuki-ji, a Buddhist temple that dates back to 744 – many people come here to pray for good luck. Another highlight is the Cedar Walk, a beautiful section of trail that’s lined with towering trees.
Over the course of your visit to Mount Takao, you’ll encounter multiple street food stands serving red bean paste pancakes, matcha-flavoured cheese tarts, and chewy rice flour dumplings. If you’re still hungry at the end of your visit, there are restaurants at the base of the mountain specialising in soba noodles.
The nice thing about Mount Takao is that it’s a short and easy day trip yet it feels worlds away from Tokyo!
Contributed by Audrey of That Backpacker
At a distance of 29 km from Tokyo, Yokohama is the second-largest populated city in Japan, an important port city just beside Tokyo Bay. Travelling to Yokohama is pretty comfortable because of Japan’s excellent public transport system. A normal train ride from Tokyo to Yokohama takes around 1 hour 30 mins to complete, but the bullet trains cover the same distance under 20 minutes.
From the city centre of Minato Mirai to Japan’s biggest Chinatown, Yokohama is the perfect tourist destination. While most museums are based on ancient kings and civilizations, Yokohama has the Cupnoodles Museum. This is dedicated to the history of cup-noodles, the food item that completely revolutionised instant food, and their invention by the Japanese Momofuku Ando.
A highlight of your trip will be a walk around Minato Mirai. Here you can see the entire city from the top of the Landmark Tower. There’s also a giant Ferris wheel ride here.
Grab authentic Japanese cuisine from any of the funky or traditional eateries in Yokohama. Visit Chinatown if you prefer Chinese to Japanese food. You can also visit Noge Street, away from the main town centre, to experience Japanese nightlife. This street is lined up with izakayas or Japanese pubs and provides ample evening entertainment.
Contributed by Ruma from The Holiday Story
Odaiba is a great day trip and getaway from busy Tokyo, and perfect for families with children to get a break from the gardens and palaces in Tokyo. It is just a short ride to Shimbashi Station from Central Tokyo via the Yurikamome line and then a fun ride in the driverless monorail with spectacular views. Waterbuses are another way to get there.
Odaiba has two unique museums, one for students and science lovers and another for marine enthusiasts. The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (aka Miraikan), with an impressive giant globe in its lobby, provides hands-on activities and workshops for teens and little kids.
The Museum of Maritime Science spans six floors with information on Japan’s Maritime history. There is a lighthouse, films on ships, simulators and a submarine too. It’s a great place for school and college groups to encourage interested students on building rubber boats and canoes.
Lastly, a ride on the futuristic Himiko – a Japanese river bus designed to look like a space boat – is fun not only for the kids but adults too as the boat meanders through canal locks that open and close. It gives many photo-ops for stunning pictures taken from the water side of the Rainbow bridge and Tokyo’s skyline.
Contributed by Jan of Leisurely Drives
Organised Day Trips From Tokyo
Of course, there are also several organised day trips you could take from Tokyo. Try a Mount Fuji and Hakone Cruise and Bus Tour with Bullet Train Return or a Private Historical Day Trip to Kawagoe. Food lovers might also enjoy Flavors of Mount Fuji Food Tour with Shinkansen Bullet Train or Sake Brewery Tour and Sake Tasting from Japanese food tour specialist ByFood.