Tokyo is the biggest city in the world, with a population of just under 37.5 million. You’ll have plenty to see and do, but if you’re staying long enough, then beyond the city’s limits are a number of excellent attractions that make for wonderful day trips from Tokyo.
I recently spent over a week exploring the city and taking a few day trips from Tokyo. The transportation system in the city is so expansive and efficient that you can cover great distances in a relatively short amount of time, even without taking the Shinkansen.
If you’re staying long enough and have already seen Tokyo’s top attractions, then listed below are twelve of the best day trips from Tokyo.
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BEST DAY TRIPS FROM TOKYO
Even though Tokyo’s public transportation system is incredibly efficient, some people may not want to travel long distances so I’ve arranged this list of Tokyo day trips by distance, starting with the attractions with the shortest travel time from Shinjuku station.
Click on the links below to jump to any section of the guide. Estimated times are for one-way travel.
For the purpose of this guide, all estimated travel times and fares are from Shinjuku station / bus terminal but you can use Google Maps and Hyperdia to find the best routes from your hotel. Tokyo has many rail and bus lines so there are multiple ways to get from point A to point B depending on where you are and what time of the day you go.
Every attraction on this list is easy enough to get to on your own but if you’d like to go on a guided tour, then I’ve included links to organized tours under each entry.
1 HR DAY TRIPS FROM TOKYO
It’s funny to start this list of the best day trips from Tokyo, the biggest city in Japan, with Yokohama, its second biggest city. Located about half an hour south of Tokyo, Yokohama is the capital of Kanagawa prefecture and home to a few interesting attractions like Japan’s biggest Chinatown, Sankeien garden, two ramen museums, and Minato Mirai. It’s proximity makes it an easy day trip from Tokyo.
Located by the sea, Minato Mirai is Yokohama’s central business district. It’s home to shopping centers, hotels, art museums, a convention center, and an amusement park featuring a hundred-meter tall ferris wheel that was once recognized as the world’s tallest.
If you like ramen, then you may want to visit the Cup Noodles Museum in Minato Mirai. It’s a fun interactive museum that traces the history of instant ramen in Japan. We visited the museum’s outlet in Osaka where we got to create our own custom cups of instant ramen to bring home as souvenirs.
The Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum is the second ramen museum you can visit in Yokohama. It showcases the history and different varieties of ramen found throughout Japan. It has an interesting ramen food hall that was made to resemble the old Shitamachi area in mid 1950s Tokyo. It boasts nine ramen restaurants, each featuring a ramen dish from a different region in Japan.
I visited Kawagoe upon the recommendation of a Japanese friend. Located less than an hour northwest of Tokyo, Kawagoe is an old castle town in Saitama prefecture known for its wealth of well-preserved warehouses and traditional buildings. It’s often referred to as “Little Edo” for its historical feel.
Kawagoe is a small town so it doesn’t have much in the way of attractions, but the main draw and what people come for is the town itself. It is such a lovely and atmospheric little town that it’s become one of the most popular day trips from Tokyo.
Many of the old buildings along Kurazukuri Street have been converted into shops, restaurants, and cafes so one of the best things you can do is eat Japanese street food and peruse the many items on sale. Be sure to seek out Kashiya Yokocho as well, a narrow alley with dozens of small shops selling different types of traditional Japanese sweets and candy.
If you’re looking for a good local place to have Japanese food, my friend led me to Hasumi, a great soba restaurant tucked away in a quieter part of town. He also recommended I try Coedo beer, which is a brand of craft beer brewed in Kawagoe. It’s located on the same street as the wooden time bell tower pictured below.
Kawagoe is known for its unagi and sweet potatoes as well. Kawagoe has been a sweet potato production area for over 250 years so you’ll find plenty of shops selling different types of sweet potato snacks and treats.
Check out Klook for a list of tours and travel deals in Kawagoe.
How to Get There: Commute by train from Shinjuku station to Kawagoe station. Catch a local bus to Kurazukuri Street.
Approximate Fare: Around JPY 830 each way
Average Travel Time: About 50 mins
3. Tokyo Disney Resort
Even though Tokyo is in its name, Tokyo Disney Resort isn’t actually in Tokyo. It’s in Urayasu city in Chiba prefecture, about an hour east of downtown Tokyo. It’s comprised of two theme parks (Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea), a shopping and entertainment complex, and a few hotels.
What makes Tokyo Disney Resort so interesting is that it’s the only Disney theme park resort that Disney doesn’t have an ownership stake in. It’s wholly owned by the Oriental Land Company which pays The Walt Disney Company a licensing fee for the use of its names and characters. This has led to what many people call the most unique Disney theme park resort in the world. It’s perhaps the most popular day trip from Tokyo for people traveling with kids.
We don’t usually go to theme parks when we travel but everyone we knew said that Tokyo DisneySea was a must visit. Though theme parks are most popular with families, they described it as a Disney theme park designed more for adults, and they were right. It has the same classic Disney rides and characters but what they meant is that the park is more adult-like in feel, with a more mature theme and fewer mascots running around, at least when we were there.
As its name suggests, Tokyo DisneySea is a Disney theme park with a nautical theme. We haven’t gone on every ride but some of our favorites include Tower of Terror, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull, and Toy Story Mania!
We haven’t been to Tokyo Disneyland but Tokyo DisneySea makes for a fun day trip from Tokyo, with or without kids. Check out Klook for a list of deals to Tokyo Disney Resort. You can also visit the Tokyo Disney Resort website for more information.
Operating Hours: 8AM-10PM, daily (park operation calendar)
Admission: Ticketing information
How to Get There: By train or bus
Approximate Fare: Around JPY 990 each way
Average Travel Time: About 55 mins
Kamakura in Kanagawa prefecture is one of the most popular day trips from Tokyo. Located about an hour south of Tokyo, Kamakura is often called the “Kyoto of eastern Japan” because of its considerable collection of temples, shrines, and other historical attractions.
There are many interesting temples and shrines in Kamakura so you can easily spend several hours there. Some of the most popular include Hachimangu Shrine, Engakuji Temple, Jochiji Temple, and Hasedera Temple. Many of these temples are connected by picturesque hiking trails so it’s a great way to experience both nature and culture at once.
As much as there is to see in Kamakura, its biggest attraction, literally and figuratively, is the Great Buddha of Kamakura. Built in 1252, it’s an 11.4 meter tall bronze statue located on the grounds of Kotokuin Temple. You can visit the Great Buddha and Kamakura’s other temples on your own or via a guided tour (Klook | Get Your Guide).
1-2 HR DAY TRIPS FROM TOKYO
If you’re spending the day exploring the temples and shrines of Kamakura, then you may as well continue on to Enoshima. It’s a small island just off the coast but connected by bridge to the mainland. You can get there via a quick 20-minute train ride from Kamakura station.
Enoshima is Tokyo’s most popular beach resort known for its small collection of Shinto shrines and caves. If you visit in winter, then you may want to check out the Jewel of Shonan winter illumination event. It’s one of three great illumination events held in the Kanto region, making Enoshima one of the most popular day trips outside of Tokyo in winter.
If you plan on visiting both Kamakura and Enoshima, then there are a few guided tours you can choose from that cover both.
6. Lake Kawaguchiko
Lake Kawaguchiko is the easiest of the Fuji Five Lakes to visit on a day trip from Tokyo. Located less than two hours west of Tokyo in Yamanashi prefecture, Lake Kawaguchiko is an onsen town offering some of the best views of Mt. Fuji.
Aside from enjoying the view of Mt. Fuji, there are other things to do around Lake Kawaguchiko. Some of the most popular include riding a cable car up the Mt. Fuji Panoramic Ropeway, admiring the silk kimonos at Kubota Itchiku Museum, and soaking in an onsen. The popular Fuji-Q Highland amusement park is near here as well.
7. Fuji-Q Highland
If fast roller coasters are your thing, then Fuji-Q Highland makes for a fun day trip from Tokyo. It’s one of Japan’s most popular amusement parks, known for its thrilling roller coaster rides and anime-themed attractions. It’s located about 5 km south of Lake Kawaguchiko so you can get terrific views of Mt. Fuji while screaming your head off at the apex of a roller coaster.
Fuji-Q Highland currently boasts four record-breaking roller coasters. The Fujiyama ride was once the world’s tallest and fastest roller coaster. Dodonpa holds the record for fastest acceleration while Takabisha is the world’s steepest roller coaster.
Thrill seekers will want to spend the entire day at Fuji-Q Highland which is why I listed it here separately from Lake Kawaguchiko. Both are full day attractions so you should allocate a separate day for each.
If you’re visiting Tokyo in winter, then one of the best things you can do is to soak in an onsen. It leaves you feeling so relaxed that it was something I looked forward to at the end of each day.
Atami is a hot spring town by the coast of Izu peninsula in Shizuoka prefecture. Its proximity – less than two hours southwest of the city – makes it one of the easiest onsen day trips from Tokyo. If you’ve never soaked in an onsen before, then I highly recommend trying it.
If you enjoy nature and want great views of Mt. Fuji, then Hakone is one of the best day trips from Tokyo. It’s a part of Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park in Kanagawa prefecture which is famous for its onsen resorts, temples and shrines, hiking trails, art museums, and view of Mt. Fuji rising up over Lake Ashinoko. Like Lake Kawaguchiko, it’s regarded as one of the best places to see Mt. Fuji in Japan.
Located about two hours southwest of Tokyo, there is so much to see and do in Hakone that you should definitely dedicate an entire day there. Aside from soaking in an onsen, some of the most popular activities include hiking, visiting museums, taking photos at the orange torii gate at Hakone Shrine (pictured below), going on a pirate ship cruise across Lake Ashinoko, and riding the cable car to Owakudani – an area with volcanically active geysers.
There are so many interesting things to do in Hakone that staying overnight would be even better than a one day trip from Tokyo. It’s an atmospheric mountain town that you won’t want to just rush through. Check out Get Your Guide for a list of Hakone tours and attraction deals for more ideas on what you can do there.
2-3 HR DAY TRIPS FROM TOKYO
10. Ashikaga Flower Park
Wisteria flowers are called “fuji” in Japanese. They’re one of the most beloved flowers in Japan and one of the best places to appreciate them is at Ashikaga Flower Park in Tochigi prefecture.
Located about two and a half hours northeast of Tokyo, you’ll find many different types of flowers at Ashikaga Flower Park though its most prized inhabitants are its wisteria trees bearing blue, white, and pink fuji flowers. Flowers can be appreciated throughout the year but if you want to see fuji, then the best (albeit busiest) time to go is at the start of May when the wisteria trees are in full bloom.
Park highlights include two eighty meter tunnels, one with white hanging fuji and the other with wisteria-like yellow kibana flowers. You may have seen them on social media.
As beautiful as those wisteria tunnels are, the park’s most prized resident has to be its 150+ year old great wisteria tree. It stands as a symbol of the park itself and was declared a national monument by Tochigi prefecture.
Like Enoshima, Ashikaga Flower Park is home to one of the three great winter illumination displays in the Kanto region. It’s typically held from late October till the first week of February. It’s a bit far but still possible as a day trip from Tokyo.
Follow the link for a list of tours to Ashikaga Flower Park.
Nikko is a town in Tochigi prefecture, about two and a half hours northeast of Tokyo. It’s located at the entrance of Nikko National Park and is home to Toshogu, Japan’s most lavishly decorated shrine. Toshogu serves as the final resting place of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate that ruled Japan for over 250 years.
Nikko was a center for Shinto and Buddhist worship for centuries so it’s famous for its many shrines and temples, none more important than Toshogu, Rinnoji Temple, and Futarasan Shrine. It’s also famed for its picturesque mountain landscape featuring lakes, waterfalls, hot springs, and hiking trails.
Pictured below is the sacred Shinkyo Bridge, a striking red bridge recognized as one of Japan’s three most beautiful bridges. It serves as the entrance to Nikko’s shrines and temples and at one point, could only be crossed by the shogun.
Framed by lush vegetation on either side, the bridge is especially beautiful in the fall when the leaves turn into a striking kaleidoscope of red, orange, and yellow.
12. Hitachi Seaside Park
I’ve been wanting to go to Hitachi Seaside Park for many years now, ever since I first saw it on social media. Unfortunately, not much could be seen in mid-January when I was in Tokyo so I decided to leave it for another trip.
Located in Ibakari prefecture, about two and half hours northeast of Tokyo, Hitachi Seaside Park is a sprawling park featuring green spaces and seasonal flowers covering an area of 350 hectares. Different flowers bloom at different times of the year but what caught my eye were the kokia bushes that turn from a verdant green to a deep fiery red in mid-October.
The red kokia bushes are what I want to see but the park’s most iconic flower is the blue nemophila (pictured below). They mimic the sky’s cerulean blue and are best appreciated from late April to mid-May.
First-time visitors will have their hands full exploring the many interesting attractions and neighborhoods in Tokyo, but if you’re staying long enough, then you should definitely consider taking a day trip out of Tokyo. Like the city itself, there are so many fun things to see and do that go beyond the Tokyo metropolitan area.
Some of these destinations may seem far but as described, Tokyo’s public transportation is so fast and efficient that it’s entirely possible to do them as day trips. However, it can be confusing for first-time visitors so if you aren’t comfortable navigating the rail system yourself, then you may want to go on a guided tour instead. I’ve added links throughout the article but you can check out Klook, Magical-Trip, Get Your Guide, and Kkday for a list of tours from Tokyo.
In any case, I hope this guide on the best day trips from Tokyo gives you plenty of ideas for your next trip. If you have any questions, then please do let us know in the comments below. Thanks for reading and have an amazing time in Japan!
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