best day trips from tokyo

The 10 Best Day Trips from Tokyo

Tokyo is known for its futuristic scene and seems to provide infinite possibilities for its ever-growing population and visitors. Japan’s capital city is constantly changing and developing and Tokyo is both a major cultural center of Japan and a place for discoveries that can make anyone want to explore it. However, while Tokyo seems like the place to be, Japan has WAY more places to offer outside of Tokyo, and the capital city is the perfect base for day trips. We’ve pulled together a list of fabulous day trips from Tokyo so you can dive into different aspects of Japan.

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The Best 10 Day Trips from Tokyo

I don’t know about you, but there’s something about being able to retreat to the familiar.  And I find that basing myself in one place and then exploring from there is a great way to expend all my energy on the day at hand.  So Tokyo makes for a great base to explore some of the rest of Japan.

TOP DAY TRIP

mount fuji

Visit Mount Fuji from Tokyo

Seeing Mount Fuji on a day trip from Tokyo is the quintessential thing to do. Take a trip to Lake Kawaguchi, at whatever time of year this is glorious.

You don’t have to look too far outside Tokyo to find hidden gems.  It’s true, Tokyo offers many attractions, shopping experiences, entertainment, gastronomy, and culture. But outside of Tokyo, there are many destinations that will surely satisfy whatever your taste is for when traveling. Experience hiking through the breathtaking nature of Japan, the exhilarating views of its cities and towns, and the thrilling rides of its famous theme parks.

And they’re all available and easily accessible as Tokyo day trips.

1. See the iconic peak of Mt. Fuji on a day trip from Tokyo

It is often said that if you come to Japan and don’t see Mount Fuji, then you have not been at all!  Experiencing its last eruption in 1707, Japan’s iconic Mt. Fuji boasts a 100,000-year history of explosions and stands proudly at 3,776 meters. Mt. Fuji earned its title of being the tallest mountain in Japan and it now serves as a spiritual, recreational, and cultural icon. Seeing Fuji is rightly the top day trip from Tokyo. And it is amazing. Check out day trip options to Mount Fuji here.

You can view the mountain and the stunning Lake Kawaguchi at Oishi Park, where you can relax and have some lunch. This is a great spot to explore the green landscape and the beautiful colors of seasonal flowers.

The cheapest way to take a Mt. Fuji day trip from Tokyo, is by bus directly from Tokyo or Shinjuku Station.  You’ll want to get off at Kawaguchino Station, Fuji-san Station, or Lake Yamanakako. This bus ride takes about two hours each way.

day trips from tokyo mount fuji

Let someone else take the strain, and tell you all about the area with this fabulous guided tour to Mt. Fuji from Tokyo. It includes hotel pick up, lunch, an English-speaking guide, and return to your hotel  Views, of Mt Fuji, are expected, however be sure to note, that the visibility of the mountain is dependent on weather conditions! Book a day trip to Mount Fuji here.

2. Explore Stunning Nikko on a day trip from Tokyo

A two-hour trip from Tokyo to Nikko will let you witness the rich nature that this region has to offer.  We wrote a complete guide to Nikko, which you can read here – but here are some of the highlights for a Tokyo Day Trip to Nikko The area is really popular for hiking and trekking, you can explore the area of the Kegon Falls towering at 97 meters. The landmark gives you a magnificent view of the waterfalls and hears the deafening sound as it hits the basin below. This waterfall was classified as National Scenic Beauty in 1931! You can see all of these highlights on this fabulous day trip from Tokyo to Nikko.

day trips from Tokyo nikko

Another attraction of Nikko that you can’t miss is the Nikko Tosho-gu Shrine; its history dates back to 1616. The Tosho-gu Shrine of Nikko houses 55 buildings, including eight national treasures and 34 important cultural properties, it was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage site as the Temples and Shrines of Nikko in 1919.

Want to explore Nikko as a day trip from Tokyo?  This is a fabulous way to visit multiple UNESCO World Heritage sites on this Nikko Scenic tour!

3. See the fabulous Snow Monkeys on a Nagano day trip from Tokyo

In just a 3-hour trip from Tokyo, you can get to Nagano City, which has the most famous temple in Japan. Nagano is an evolved temple town that hosted the Winter Olympic Games in 1998. The city attracts tourists because of the shrines and because you can also find the legendary home of the Togakure Ninja School here. Plus, there’s the Togakushi Ninpo Museum and the Kids Ninja Village, which showcases the history of ninjas. Ah, but face it. What we’re really here to see are the famous Nagano Snow Monkeys. And they’re amazing. You can see them on this amazing day trip from Tokyo.

There are lots of things to do on a Tokyo day trip to Nagano.

A quick walk through Jigokudani or “Hell Valley,” and you will be able to find the Macaque or Japanese Snow Monkeys soaking in the hot springs. They’re definitely the highlight of the trip.  And there doesn’t have to be snow on the ground to see them either!

day trips from tokyo nagano

In Nagano, you can also visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Shirakawa-go, where you can go skiing – although that might be pushing it a bit on a day trip!

With a JR Pass, this day trip will be a breeze! Honestly, 3 hours on a train in Japan is really different from anywhere else.  From Tokyo Station, you can take the Shinkansen ASAMA or the Kagayaki service to get to Nagano City. Look at booking tickets to get to Nagano from Tokyo here.

The easiest way, however, to visit the snow monkeys of Nagano is on a door to door day trip from Tokyo. You can check costs and availability here.

4. Take a Day Trip to Mount Takao – just an hour from Tokyo!

Mount Takao, sitting at 599 meters (1965 feet ) is just an hour away from Tokyo and has the title of the world’s most climbed mountain! But don’t let that put you off. This is a glorious day out from Tokyo. You can get here on the JR Chuo line on a JR Pass – and then you’ll need to transfer to the Keio line for a 4-minute ride. Then it’s all free.

There are 8 designated trails here, from the easy summit loop to Trail 1, which winds its way gently up to the summit, or the more adventurous trails. I wrote about taking a day trip to Takao here. There’s more than hiking here though. There’s a museum about the ecology of the area, a specific type of noodle dish to eat, and an onsen bath in which to relax. As if that’s not enough, then there’s a monkey park where you can spot more than 40 Japanese macaques too.

There are glorious views from the top of Mount Takao, and on a clear day, you can see Mount Fuji. Spoiler: It wasn’t *that* clear a day for us, but still stunning views. And marvelous hiking too.

View from the Summit at Mount Takao

While you can use your JR Pass to get to Takao station, you’ll still need a 130 Yen ticket to get to Takaosanguchi, but you can buy a day pass which gets you full-day travel on the Keio line from Tokyo Station, entrance to the Monkey Park AND access to both the chair lift AND the Cable car/funicular railway here. It’s a great deal for a fabulous day out from Tokyo. You’ll also get a free face towel for use in the onsen here, as well as a shopping discount voucher! Check it out here.

5. Take a day trip to the Kiyosato Highlands from Tokyo

If you are into the great outdoors – to hills, mountains, and everything scenic and fresh, then the Kiyosato Highlands area is perfect for you! You will be able to breathe fresher, cleaner air just a two-hour trip away from the hustle and bustle of the metropolis of Tokyo. The Kiyosato Highlands are the perfect day trip for nature lovers. You can see what to see here.

While taking in the peaceful scene, a stop at the Dangozaka Service Area is perfect. It is a famous spot that offers both Japanese and Western-style food.

Have a relaxing experience of fruit-picking at Yamanashi Fruits Farm. Depending on the season there will be different kinds of fruits that you will be able to pick, and they are usually grapes, strawberries, or peaches. And when lunchtime rolls around, be sure not to skip the all-you-can-eat shabu-shabu. Read more about what to expect in the highlands here.

day trips from tokyo kiyosato highlands

Spend some time exploring and admiring the flower and herb fields at the Herb Garden Travel Diary. There are different things to enjoy each season: spring = cherry blossoms (there’s more on our cherry blossom guide to Japan here) and azaleas; early summer = lavender; colored leaves = autumn; herbs and flower in large greenhouses = winter. If you are interested in buying some, there is a shop at the park that sells about 200 kinds of herbs, and some of them are only found there!

If you are visiting between December to March, it is also a great time to experience the largest kids park in the Nagano Prefecture, the Fujimi Kougen Snow Resort, and during the weekends, you can also spot alpacas! You can check availability on this fabulous Tokyo Day trip to the Highlands here.

6. Take a seaside day trip to Kamakura from Tokyo

Once known as the political capital of Japan, Kamakura is just less than an hour away from Tokyo. The Great Buddha here is one of the famous attractions that you should definitely not miss. It is an 11-meter tall 13th-century bronze statue of Amida Buddha in the Kotoku-in Temple. This is a day trip with a difference. You’ll get to go to the seaside! Read more about Kamakura here.

day trips from tokyo kamakura

While in Kamakura, don’t miss the chance to visit the Museum of Modern Art Kamakura and Hayama. This is the first modern art museum in Japan that is actually split into two locations. One is close by Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, where the permanent collection and Kamakura building are, and the other one is in the south of the city and can be reached via a short bus ride.

If you’re visiting in April, you’ll get to experience a week-long celebration of the Kamakura Festival and witness dancing and traditional performances. Or, if you are visiting in September, you can see a celebration of the samurai art of horseback archery known as the Hachimangu Reitaisai Festival.

Want to shop? Komachi-Dori Street is where it’s at. This shopping district is where you will find trendy cafes, restaurants that serve traditional Japanese cuisine, souvenir shops, and everything fashionable.

Lastly, don’t forget the saltwater experience! Enoshima Lighthouse can get you a 360-degree panoramic view which includes Mt. Fuji. The island houses several shrines that are dedicated to Hadaka-Bente, the Naked Goddess, believed to be worshipped by entertainers hoping for success. You can also visit the black sand beaches of Kamakura, Yuigahama, Zaimokuza, and Koshigoe, which are usually compared to the southern California beaches because of the surfing lifestyle of the community. Want to see more? There are more details here.

7. Take a day trip from Tokyo to Yokohama

Although it is shadowed by Osaka and Kyoto, Yokohama is the second-largest city in Japan. This city is rich in quirky activities and fun attractions like the Cup Noodles Museum and the Shinyokohama Ramen Museum.

There’s more on visiting Cup Noodle Museums in our guide here

day trips from tokyo yokohama

Yokohama is also where you’ll find the largest of three Chinatowns in Japan, where you can see the intersection of both Japanese and Chinese cultures. Be sure to visit Noge Street to have All-You-Can-Drink Sake!

Similar to Tokyo, Yokohama also has an active cultural life. You can visit the Kanazawa Library, founded in 1275, which is famous for its varied collection of historical books and documents. You can also find a number of museums that exclusively house literature, art, history and Japanese newspapers and broadcast media.

Even though it is known for being a busy, active city, Yokohama is still rich in green landscapes. Sankeien Garden is a traditional Japanese-style landscape garden that was built and opened to the public in 1904 by Hara Sankei.

Make sure to put on comfortable clothes and your walking shoes because to truly explore Yokohama you can walk around the city for – up to 6 hours.

If you are looking for the cheapest transport to Yokohama from Tokyo, the best way would be the Tokyu Tokoyo line which goes from Shibuya Station to Yokohama Station in less than 30 minutes. To get the best out of your time in Yokohama you can meet a local guide when you arrive, and this option comes with highly recommended English-speaking guides.

3 Top Day Trips to Tokyo Theme Parks

Japan has a few dozen theme parks and amusement parks, but Japan also has two of the most well-known theme parks and amusement parks—Disneyland and Universal Studios. Japan also has parks unique only to this country, like the Edo Wonderland Nikko Edomura, an Edo-era-themed park.

1. Experience magic in the happiest place on Earth at Tokyo Disneyland

Opened in 1983, Tokyo Disneyland is the first Disney theme park outside of the United States. Made up of seven themed lands, Tokyo Disneyland featured seasonal parades and decorations and was modeled after the California Disneyland and Florida’s Magic Kingdom.

This nostalgia-inducing place offers an abundant amount of activities to fulfill your desire to experience the magic. If you are up for the challenge, do visit and enjoy the seven themed lands, namely: World Bazaar, Tomorrowland, Toontown, Fantasyland, Critter Country, Westernland, and Adventureland.

You can get to Tokyo Disneyland from Tokyo via various routes that will only take you about 20-25 minutes to reach by car, and around 30 minutes by bus. Get a one-day passport to Tokyo Disneyland and experience a full day of magic!

2. Explore myths and meet mystical creatures at Tokyo DisneySea

Tokyo DisneySea is a theme park inspired by the myths and legends of the sea. It is composed of seven themed ports: Mediterranean Harbor, Mysterious Island, Mermaid Lagoon, Arabian Coast, Lost River Delta, Port Discovery, and American Waterfront.

While it’s generally suitable for all audiences, Tokyo DisneySea was designed specifically for more adult audiences. A wider range of food and beverages are offered, which includes alcoholic ones which are not found at Tokyo Disneyland. So if you are included in this demographic and also a Disney fanatic, you will surely be charmed all the way through!

Make sure to experience one of the top attractions of Tokyo DisneySea, the Toy Story Mania. You’ll find yourself shrunk in size while playing carnival games. Another attraction is the Journey to the Center of the Earth, which offers one of the best thrilling rides equipped with intricate designs and themes. Be sure not to skip Tokyo DisneySea’s food, Big City Vehicles and DisneySea Electric Railway when you want to take a breather from walking around the park. This transportation offers scenic views and unique experiences.

If you want convenience, you can purchase your tickets online via the Tokyo Disney Resort official website or affiliate agents or organizers. You can, however, buy them at the park’s ticket booth. If you check-in at the Tokyo Disney Resort hotels, you are given priority, especially during peak hours.

Like any other theme park, expect queues that are quite long and bring your strong standing-in-line game! But don’t worry, DisneySea has a FastPass system that lets you jump to an express queue (but it’s only for selected attractions!). You can claim your FastPass by scanning your entrance ticket and then selecting the attraction and the time slot allotted for it. Read more about the DisneySea here so you can maximize your experience when you visit!

3. Go back in time to Japan’s Edo Period at Edo Wonderland Nikko Edomura

If you are a history buff, Edo Wonderland Nikko Edomura is a perfect attraction for you. Edo Wonderland Nikko Edomura is a cultural and historical theme park that depicts the Edo Period (1603-1868) in Japan. The park boasts an Edo-styled architecture, and the staff are dressed in period costumes.  To make your Edo-era day trip from Tokyo complete, you can also rent costumes yourself. Want to know more?

Nikko Edomura day trip from Tokyo

Explore the park’s historically-based shops and museums, such as the Kodenmacho Jail House and Kira-Kozukenosuke Residence (these two are wax museums that showcase prison life, torture, and battle during the era) and also participate in games and watch live shows at their theaters, one of which is the Grand Ninja Theater, the park’s most popular.

Getting to Edo Wonderland is around two to three hours by car or by bus. Alternatively, this door to door day trip is the perfect way to visit. Check availability and book now.

Take these Tokyo Day Trips by Train

Don’t worry about traveling to any of the places we reference here in Japan! A cost-effective way to travel in Japan is to pick up a Japan Rail Pass (aka  JR Pass), and you can use it for travel on many trains and some buses. With a JR Pass, traveling throughout Japan will be a breeze. My guide to the JR Pass is here.

Tokyo, too, has a fantastic urban public transit system.  The tangled, intersecting lines of the subway boast an easy-to-navigate system that only looks intimidating, but it’s awesomely easy once you understand it!  And this transit system can bring you to places throughout Japan that fully allow you to experience Japanese culture.

Where to Stay in Tokyo

Tokyo is enormous and finding the best place to stay for your visit can be a little daunting. We’ve always advocated picking somewhere great to stay with fabulous transit links. So here are our recommendations for the top places to stay in Tokyo to make your life easier!

Stay in a Ryokan in Tokyo: The Cyashitsu Ryokan Asakusa is a fabulously high-rated ryokan in Tokyo and this traditional Japanese Inn is super friendly and is the perfect place to stay in traditional comfort in Tokyo. Breakfast is excellent here and the whole ryokan experience is a great one. This place books out quickly, so you’ll want to reserve your dates asap.

Just a four-minute walk from Shinjuku station, the Hotel Sunroute Plaza is a great location for both exploring Tokyo and also taking day trips outside the city. Rooms are well-sized here (and we’ve stayed in some tiny, tiny rooms in Japan!) and soundproofed, so you’ll get a great night’s sleep. Self-check in and checkout make it super easy to stay here. A super option in Tokyo – reserve your rooms here.

The JR Kyushu Hotel Blossom Shinjuku is another super option for a well-located hotel in Tokyo, a great location for the train station and exploring the capital city. There’s a coin-laundrette, so it’s perfect for ensuring you have clothes enough for the stay, and the rooms are really spacious and really well priced! Check availability and rooms here.

Travel Tips for Exploring Japan

Final Words on the 10 Best Day Trips from Tokyo

These attractions and destinations outside Tokyo are definitely some you cannot miss, but it is also hard to let go of the vibrant city life of Tokyo. These day trips can give you the best of both worlds! Going on an adventure, a relaxing stroll, and having a thrilling experience outside of Tokyo without letting go of the capital city. This may be the best way to experience the diverse life of Japan.


With thanks to the author of this article, Alyssa Manuel

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