There are many amazing place to see in Tokyo for both those new and returning to Japan, but many overlook the hidden gems laying just outside of the City. The surrounding countryside is home to many great day trips, from beautiful mountain towns to stunning ocean views, and even the occasional hot spring. So if you’re looking to get out of the city for a quick day trip, here are some of our favourites.
Hakone is a perfect day trip for those who love the picturesque scenery of the Japanese countryside. It everything you love about getting out into nature without any of exhaustion that comes with long hikes. This area offers spectacular views of mount Fuji, the Shizuoka coast line and the stunning Lake Ashinoko. To top it off, everything is easily accessible by car or tour bus.
If you’re in the area you might also want to checkout one of Hakone’s many hot-springs. For a truly traditional experience, we suggest Tenzan Onsen. Built in a traditional Japanese fashion, Tenzan Onsen is a complex which includes multiple-bath onsens, tree-ringed courtyards. From Hakone-Yumoto station, the shuttle is only ¥100 and entrance fee ¥1200. All in all a very good price for one of the most relaxing days you’ll ever experience.
Enoshima is only 45 minutes by train from the heart of Tokyo. It’s a great day trip if you’re also looking to stop by the oh so famous Kamakura. Enoshima is a great seaside town with amazing views of Fuji and a very popular spot for local surfers.
Several shrine buildings, collectively known as Enoshima Shrine, are found around the island and are dedicated to Benten, a popular goddess of good fortune, wealth, music and knowledge. These beautiful shrines are surrounded by the the ocean, beautiful beaches and stoic scenery.
Spend the day, enjoy the beach and take in the beautiful views.
Step back in time with a day trip to Kawagoe. Kawagoe is only 30 minutes by train from downtown Tokyo; a quick day trip with time to spare. Kawagoe is a Japanese city northwest of Tokyo. An Edo-period castle town, it’s known for its old clay warehouses and merchant homes, called Kurazukuri. Traditional Japanese sweet shops line Meiji-era Candy Alley.
Near Kurazukuri Street is Kashiya Yokocho, an alley that specializes in low-priced sweets and snacks, many of which are reminiscent of the post-war Showa era. You can buy some traditionally crafted sweets there (and even learn how to make them!), as well as sweet potato treats such as ice cream and chips. The city is known for sweet potatoes, which are a popular treat in the fall and winter months.
Kusatsu onsen may be one of the further day trips from Tokyo, but it is however one of the most famous onsens in Japan and one-hundred percent worth the trip. From Tokyo station, the town is three hours by train or car.
Kusatsu is situated at an altitude of 1200 meters above sea level in the mountains of Gunma Prefecture, and offers skiing in winter and hiking during the rest of the year to be enjoyed in combination with hot spring bathing. At the centre of the village you’ll find the famous Yubatake, the resort’s main source of hot spring water flowing through wooden channels in a traditional Japanese building manner. These wooden conduits cool the water before it can be distributed to various Ryokans surrounding it.
What makes this place truly special is it’s small town charm. Complete with temples, ski hills, and traditional buildings, It’s all of the best parts of the Japanese countryside in one convenient location.
You’ll find Chichibu about two hours from Tokyo station by train or car, nestled in the mountains of Saitama prefecture. It’s a great day trip if you love a scenic drive. This city is known for its impressive shrines and beautiful nature with mountains that provide great hiking opportunities for beginners.
One of the city’s most famous attractions happens in December, during its annual night festival. Chichibu Yomatsuri, or Chichibu Night Festival, is an annual event at Chichibu Shrine in Chichibu, Saitama. With its 300-year long history, it made it on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list. Thousands enter the streets to take in the spectacular fireworks and brightly light parade floats. If you’d like to go check it out, the festival last from December 1st to the 6th, with the Tasisai or grand festival held on December 3rd.
Some other notable attractions include Hitsujiyama Park, known for its beautiful moss pink fields that typically come into bloom around late April to early May and attract droves of visitors. You might also want to see Mitsumine Shrine, a mountain top shrine providing amazing view of the surrounding area.
For more tips on where to go when your staying in Tokyo and other day trip ideas, checkout our other blogs by clicking the link.