The Best Day Trips From Tokyo

Irohazaka Driving Route in Nikko.

The Best Day Trips From Tokyo

While Tokyo is a city that you could easily spend weeks in, it is also a great base for a number of interesting day trips from Tokyo you could take. Interested in seeing Mount Fuji up close? We have a few places on the list that will get you there. Want to leave the city for lush and quiet nature? We’ve got that too. Each of these day trips from Tokyo will work best if you get up and travel early in order to maximize your time at each destination so let’s get started so you can decide which place to visit!

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NIKKO

Distance from Tokyo: Approximately 2 hours by train
Why you should visit this day trip from Tokyo: If you enjoy nature, scenic views, history, and want to see some of the most beautiful temples in Japan.

One of the best day trips from Tokyo is Nikko. Nikko will make you fall in love so fast you’ll be turning back around to spend a few days. But if you only have one day in Nikko, don’t fret. You’ll get to enjoy plenty of unique temples, lush greenery, and gorgeous settings that will be the perfect break away from the city.

Kanmangafuchi Abyss in Nikko
Kanmangafuchi Abyss in Nikko

Start your day trip to Nikko by heading to Nikko National Park and visiting Shinkyo Bridge, a sacred bridge that lies at the entrance to Nikko’s many temples and shrines. The Shinkyo Bridge that you’ll see in Nikko today has been here since 1636, which is probably why it’s also considered to be one of Japan’s finest bridges. Until 1973, Shinkyo Bridge was off-limits to the general public for crossing but was later renovated to allow for foot traffic and you can now cross the bridge for a nominal fee. 

After visiting Shinkyo Bridge, make your way to Nikko’s most important temple, Rinno-ji. In the 8th century, Shodo Shonin, a Buddhist monk who introduced Buddhism to Nikko, founded Rinno-ji. Sadly, when we visited Rinnoji most of it was covered in scaffolding for repairs due to the upcoming Tokyo Olympics 2020. However, though the scaffolding might be present still, most of the construction inside should be done so you can enjoy the temple’s main building and the gardens nearby.

Toshogu Shrine in Nikko, Japan
Toshogu Shrine

Next, begin your walk to Toshogu Shrine, a lavishly decorated shrine with an even more picturesque setting. Here you’ll find stunning architecture and a number of wood carvings properly decorated in gold leaf – you know, just to make it more lux. This shrine is also the final resting place of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate meaning it is to honor the 1st shogun of Japan.

Irohazaka Driving Route in Nikko.
Irohazaka Driving Route in Nikko.

We’ve got one more big stop for you in Nikko that you must check out on this day trip from Tokyo and you’ll want to prepare for some stairs. Iemitsu Mausoleum, also known as Taiyuinbyo, is the resting place of the third Tokugawa shogun, Iemitsu. The architecture and showy decor closely resembles that of Toshogu Shrine, but is intentionally a bit more modest out of the deep respect Iemitsu had for his grandfather.

Sushi
Sushi at Komekichi Kouzushi

After all that walking and hiking you’re probably going to be hungry for something to eat! One of the best places to eat in Nikko is Komekichi Kouzushi which we thought had some of the freshest and best sushi we ate while in Japan (and we traveled around Japan for three months!).


KAMAKURA

Distance from Tokyo: Approximately 1 hour 20 minutes by train and bus
Why you should visit this day trip from Tokyo: If you’re looking for something a short distance away from Tokyo, enjoy nature, and would like to see a fabulous Buddha statue.

The first thing you’ll want to consider when visiting Kamakura is whether or not to purchase the Enoshima-Kamakura Freepass. This pass offers unlimited rides on the trains on the Enoden Line (not to be confused with the JR line) versus paying for each ticket or using your IC card. 

If you’re only planning to visit Kamakura during this day trip from Tokyo then you don’t have to start super early (unless, of course, you’d like to beat the other crowds). You’ll take a train from Tokyo to Kamakura Station.

For your first stop, visit Hachimangu Shrine. Hachimangu Shrine actually reminded us of Meiji Jingu in Tokyo but it’s still a neat place to explore (bonus: there is no entrance fee!). After looking around you’ll then take go back to Kamakura Station (Enoden Line) to Hase Station and follow the signs to the Great Buddha of Kamakura (Daibutsu) and Kotoku-in Temple.

The Great Buddha at Kotoku-in in Kamakura
The Great Buddha at Kotoku-in

It’s about a 10-minute walk from the station so be sure to wear your walking shoes on this day trip from Tokyo. We found this area to have a number of shops and restaurants to visit as well and they were much cheaper than nearby Komachi Street (although that is still a neat place to visit and look around!).

When people think of Kamakura, most people immediately picture the Great Buddha as it is probably the most iconic spot. The Buddha is located inside Kotokuin Temple which has an entrance fee of a meer 200 yen, but you can also go INSIDE the Buddha for another 20 yen which is a steal. The day we visited Kamakura was exceptionally hot so we chose not to go inside, but if we had happened to be visiting during nicer weather we’d go for it. 

Kamakura
Kotoku-in Temple

If you happen to be visiting in June-July you might also want to visit nearby Hase-dera Temple which is known for beautiful hydrangeas during this time of year. Although, visiting during this time often comes at a price because there are significantly more crowds due to the beautiful flowers.


ENOSHIMA ISLAND

Distance from Tokyo: Approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes by train
Why you should visit this day trip from Tokyo: Enoshima Island has the closest beaches to Tokyo and a number of shrines and temples to visit. On a clear day you might also be able to see Mt. Fuji in the distance.

In our opinion, Enoshima Island is severely underrated. It offers gorgeous cliffside ocean views, public beaches, views of Mt. Fuji and a ton of attractions. If you are considering Enoshima Island for a day trip from Tokyo be prepared to put on your walking shoes as it is VERY hilly and steep at times. While visiting Enoshima Island we recommend getting the Enopass for 1,000 yen. 

The Enopass includes admission to many of the islands main attractions and use of the escalators. Public transportation on the island is practically non-existent but there are extremely tall escalators that are available for a small fee or free with the use of the Enopass.

Enoshima Island Shrine
Enoshima Shrine

After getting your Enopass start at Enoshima Shrine, if using Google Maps it will take you to the main shrine but Enoshima Shrine is actually a collection of small shrines located around the island. The shrine is dedicated to Benten, the goddess of wealth. 

Observation tower at Samuel Cocking Garden on Enoshima Island.
Observation tower at Samuel Cocking Garden on Enoshima Island.

After visiting Enoshima Shrine, you’ll next visit Samuel Cocking Garden. Of course there’s a nice garden to explore but while at Samuel Cocking Garden be sure to go in the 60-meter tall observation tower called the Sea Candle. On a clear, sunny day you’ll be able to see Mt. Fuji in the distance!

View from the observation tower at Samuel Cocking Garden on Enoshima Island
View from the observation tower at Samuel Cocking Garden.

Next are the Iwaya Caves, which are walkable caves along the southern coast of the island which also has some remarkable views and definitely feel as though you must be hours away from Tokyo.

Views of the coast on by Iwaya Caves on Enoshima Island
Views of the coast on by Iwaya Caves.

Legend has it they were the home to a dragon that terrorized the area. Upon entering you’ll receive a candle to help you find your way through the caves and pass many shrines along the way too.

Japanese lanterns in Iwaya Caves.
Lanterns to help you see while in the Iwaya Caves.

On the way back, stop by the Love Bell where an old love legend says Benten and a dragon fell in love. Couples can ring the bell together and white their names on a lock to leave on the fence while overlooking another scenic ocean view.

If you’re hungry, a good place to stop for something to eat is Enoshima-tei (also known as Uomitei), a seafood restaurant located outside of a shrine. It has fabulous views and fresh seafood. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can try a specialty dish known as Shirasudon, which are small white fish that are typically eaten raw or cooked over rice.

If you still have some time, the Enoshima beaches aren’t the best in Japan, but they are the closest to Tokyo and are very popular in the summer. Helpful tip, like onsen, tattoos are not allowed on public beaches in Japan so be sure to cover up if you have any.


YOKOHAMA

Distance from Tokyo: Approximately 30 minutes by train
Why you should visit this day trip from Tokyo: Go to Yokohama if you enjoy spectacular scenery and shopping, want to visit the Cup Noodle Museum, Yokohama Chinatown, and other foodie spots.

There are so many things to do in Yokohama it’s hard to narrow it down to just one day, but you can see many of the main attractions in Yokohama during a day trip from Tokyo. 

Upon arriving in Yokohama head over to the Cup Noodle Museum (be sure to make your reservation in advance!) where you’ll learn about the history of the Cup Noodle and create your very own Cup Noodle combination to take home. It’s a fun, interactive experience for adults and kids alike.

Cup Noodles Museum - Yokohama
The Cup Noodles we made at the Cup Noodles Museum

If you like amusement parks pop over to Yokohama Cosmo World, which is a short walk from the Cup Noodle Museum. You can enter the park for free and only purchase tickets for rides and games you are interested in! We played a few different games and rode the roller coaster while we were there which was a lot of fun and the line was pleasantly short. 

After visiting Yokohama Cosmo World, take the short train ride to the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum, a must for any ramen lovers. Yes, we know it might sound similar to the Cup Noodle Museum but you didn’t get to eat there! At the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum you’ll learn about the history of this well-known dish and can sample nine different types of ramen from popular restaurants – perfect for lunch!

Bowls of Ramen in Japan

For those that are beer aficionados, the Kirin Beer Factory offers free 80-minute tours to showcase their brewing facilities and of course, beer tastings! Tours are typically in Japanese, but English guides are occasionally available. Regardless, learning about the significance of Kirin’s impact on beer in Japan plus getting to attend a free tasting was enough to say, sign us up!

Once you’re full from delicious ramen and tasty Kirin beer, head deeper into Minato Mirai which has tons of places to shop. If you’re into killer views, Landmark Tower is a must. Buy a ticket and go up to the 69th floor for sweeping views of the city and on a clear day, you might even be able to see Mount Fuji! 

Red Brick Warehouse - Yokohama.
Red Brick Warehouse

Another great place to visit in the Minato Mirai area is the Yokohama Museum of Art. It has seven galleries of contemporary and modern art from around the world and the Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse. The warehouses were once used for storage but have been changed into a shopping and dining area of Yokohama. We found some cute gift stores inside!

Flowers in Yokohama.
There are so many beautiful flowers at the gardens in Yokohama.

If you’re all shopped out, take the short, 15-minute bus ride to Sankeien Garden. Sankeien Garden is a traditional Japanese-style garden that boasts beauty in all seasons. It’s such a peaceful place to visit and it would be a shame to miss on your day trip to Yokohama. 

When heading back to the city center stop by Yamashita Park for another tranquil place to visit in Yokohama. Yamashita Park has sweeping ocean views and a beautiful rose garden.

Osanbashi Pier in Yokohama, Japan
Osanbashi Pier

As the sun begins to set, go over to the Osanbashi Pier, a ship and boat terminal that has local tours of the bay. If you aren’t interested in a boat tour, that’s okay!

View of Yokohama from the Osanbashi Pier.
View of Yokohama from the Osanbashi Pier.

The views of Minato Mirai from the pier are quite incredible and you’ll feel like you’re on another island watching the city lights turn on from a distance.

Yokohama Chinatown
Yokohama Chinatown

After looking at the lights of Minato Mirai from the Osanbashi Pier, go to Yokohama’s Chinatown, which is one of the largest Chinatowns on the globe so head over there in the evening for a steamed shrimp or pork bun plus a mooncake while admiring all the intricate details and lanterns hung from the shop fronts before heading back to Tokyo.

Steamed shrimp bun from Chinatown in Yokohama.
Steamed shrimp bun from Chinatown in Yokohama.

HAKONE 

Distance from Tokyo: Approximately 1 hour by train and bus
Why you should visit this day trip from Tokyo: See Mt. Fuji, visit one of the most interesting art museums, and iconic shrines and temples.

Hakone is a very popular day trip from Tokyo and for a great reason. It has terrific views of Mount Fuji and ample things to do. If you decide to visit Hakone we suggest first visiting Odawara Castle. It was originally built in the 15th century but was later destroyed by an earthquake in 1703. After being rebuilt, it was surprisingly dismantled and sold in 1870. But, after all of its many woes, Odawara Castle was rebuilt again in 1960 and opened to the public. In the spring, it’s a fabulous place to see sakura and many other beautiful flowers.

After visiting Odawara Castle, head over to the Hakone Open-Air Museum. It’s unlike any other art museum we’ve been to and features a number of interactive exhibits too. We easily spent a few hours there exploring the outdoor art exhibits followed by the building dedicated to the works of Picasso.

Views of Owakudani from Hakone Ropeway.
Views of Owakudani from Hakone Ropeway.

Another popular attraction in Hakone is Owakudani. Take the Hakone Ropeway up to this active volcano zone with sulphuric hot springs. Though you cannot dip your toes in these hot springs, you can purchase eggs cooked in their steam. The shells are blackened by the sulfur and legend has it, eating them prolongs your life by seven years.

Black eggs from Owakudani.
Black eggs from Owakudani.

After visiting Owakudani, take the ropeway down to Lake Ashi where, if you’re lucky, you’ll get to see a view of Mount Fuji. There are a number of tours of Lake Ashi to choose from, we recommend picking one that will let you out near Hakone Shrine such as the Hakone Pirate Ship.

Lake Ashi -Hakone, Japan
Take a boat ride on Lake Ashi.

On one of the boat tours, you’ll pass by the Hakone Shrine Torii Gate which is beautifully set on the water. It’s a popular spot to stop for a picture and MOST of the time, people form a line and are willing to help you take a photo!

View of the Torii gate from Lake Ashi.
View of the Torii gate from Lake Ashi.

After docking, head over to check it out for yourself and visit Hakone Shrine too. Hakone Shrine is set at the foot of Mount Hakone and inside a thick forest which makes this shrine appear very mystical, especially with fog or light rain.

Hakone Shrine entrance
Entrance to Hakone Shrine.

If you’re looking for something quirky to do while in Hakone, Yunessun is a spa where you can bring a swimsuit and bathe in your favorite beverages. We’re not kidding, though diluted, there are pools of wine, coffee, sake, green tea, and more. It’s one of the only onsen spas that allow bathing suits, though we found it to be more like a water park.


FUJI FIVE LAKES REGION

Distance from Tokyo: Approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes by train and bus
Why you should visit this day trip from Tokyo: If you’d like to see the iconic Mt. Fuji up close visiting Fujikawaguchiko or Fujiyoshida is your best bet! It’s also a terrific place for onsen and relaxing. 

If you’re wanting to see the miraculous Mount Fuji up close we highly recommend visiting the Fuji Five Lakes area. Most people gravitate towards the towns of Fujikawaguchiko or Fujiyoshida which are close to each other and fabulous options for viewing Mount Fuji and visiting a number of other attractions too.

Because this is a different kind of day trip, we’ll cover our favorites from the Fuji Five Lakes region to give you options to consider! Traveling to and from Mount Fuji can be somewhat difficult to do in just a day trip from Tokyo so being selective for your attractions is a must!

For the thrill-seekers, Fuji-Q Highland is a popular amusement park that has excellent roller coasters – think Guinness World Record-breaking roller coasters. Considering it’s at the base of Mount Fuji, you’ll even get a fabulous view of the mountain while on a ride! If you’d like to visit an onsen while in the area, just outside the park is Fujiyama Onsen

View of Chureito Pagoda and Mount Fuji
View of Chureito Pagoda and Mount Fuji.

For those who are more interested in scenic spots and historical significance, start early at the Chureito Pagoda, a five-story pagoda that is part of the Arakura Sengen Shrine and has one of the best Mount Fuji viewing spots, especially during the spring for cherry blossoms or fall for the gorgeous foliage. 

View of Mount Fuji from a lake.
The Fuji Five Lakes Region is beautiful.

Lake Kawaguchiko is one of the Fuji Five Lakes and is the easiest to visit by public transportation. It is also the most developed so by this lake is a great place to grab something to eat for lunch or a lavender ice cream cone for a sweet treat!

Lake Kawaguchi in the Fuji Five Lakes Region.
Lake Kawaguchi in the Fuji Five Lakes Region.

The other four lakes are Lake Yamanakako, the largest of the five lakes, Lake Shojiko, the smallest and least developed, Lake Motosu, which is featured on the 1000 yen note, and Lake Saiko, which is west of Kawaguchiko.

Lavender Ice Cream near Lake Kawaguchiko in Japan
Lavender Ice Cream

Near Lake Yamanakako lies Yamanakako Hananomiyako Park which was one of our favorite attractions in the Fuji Five Lakes area. It has a beautiful view of Mount Fuji set behind a field of flowers. The whole scene is so peaceful we never wanted to leave!

Flower fields at Yamanakako Hananomiyako Park
Flower fields at Yamanakako Hananomiyako Park.

The flowers are changed by the seasons so no matter when you visit, there should be something beautiful to witness. Two other flower fields with views of Mount Fuji are Oishi Park near Lake Kawaguchiko and Fuji Shiba-sakura near Lake Motosu. 


IZU PENINSULA

Distance from Tokyo: Approximately 2 hours by train
Why you should visit this day trip from Tokyo: The Izu Peninsula is popular for hot springs, beautiful coastlines and beaches, and stunning waterfalls.

The Izu Peninsula is where those who live in Tokyo go on vacation. It’s a popular resort area because of the beautiful beaches and scenic coastlines. If you’re looking for another area to escape to that is different from the typical Hakone and Fuji areas, Izu Peninsula would be our pick! In fact, if you head to the western coast of the Izu Peninsula you should be able to view Fuji-san!

If you plan to visit the Izu Peninsula for just a day there are a number of attractions and towns to consider. Atami is the closest town to Tokyo on the Izu Peninsula and is home to the MOA Museum of Art, an art museum that features Japanese and East Asian art pieces, Japanese gardens, tea houses, noh theater, and stunning views of the ocean. Also in Atami is Atami Castlewhich isn’t actually a historic castle but is pretty nonetheless and has great views of Sagami Bay.

Waterfall near Kawazu on the Izu Peninsula.
One of the Kawazu Waterfalls.

South of Atami is the Jogasaki Coast which is a scenic viewing spot of the coastline. On the Jogasaki Coast, you can also go hiking and cross the Kadowakizaki Suspension Bridge which is roughly 75 feet long and 160 feet high. After crossing the bridge there is a lighthouse that has a viewing deck for an even higher vantage point!

If you have some extra time in your day, you can consider heading further south to Kawazu to see the Kawazu Nanadaru Falls (seven waterfalls) before working your way back to Tokyo. In the spring, the Kawazu Sakura scenic spot is like a postcard!

Kawazu Waterfall Trails - Izu Peninsula
One of the waterfalls on the Kawazu Waterfall trail.

The Kawazu Nanadaru Falls range in size and are along a roughly ¾ of a mile walking trail. Along the trail, you might come across statues which are there to depict the short story, Izu no Odoriko (The Izu Dancer) by Nobel Prize winner, Kawabata Yasunari.

If you’re looking for a beach area to relax on, Shirahama Beach in the southern part of the peninsula is well-known for being one of the best beaches in the area. Close by there is also the Tsumekizaki Lighthouse for another epic viewing spot or the Ryugu Sea Cave, a naturally formed picturesque spot to visit.

For hot spring destinations, consider the town of Shuzenji Onsen which is one of the most famous onsen resort towns on the Izu Peninsula. Hakoyu is the town’s public bath, but there are also a number of ryokans where you can visit their onsen for around 1,000 yen. Another highlight of Shuzenji Onsen is a small bamboo forest (similar to that of Kyoto’s Arashiyama). 


TOKYO DISNEYLAND OR DISNEYSEA

Distance from Tokyo: Approximately 30-40 minutes by train and shuttle
Why you should visit this day trip from Tokyo: If you’re a Disney fanatic go to see the one and only Tokyo DisneySea! 

If you are traveling with younger children, Tokyo Disneyland is the perfect day trip from Tokyo. However, if you’re traveling with older kids, as a couple, or adults, Tokyo DisneySea is probably better suited for you AND it’s the only DisneySea in the world! 

Mickey Mouse at Tokyo DisneySea
Tokyo DisneySea

Each time we visit Tokyo, we tend to spend our last day at Tokyo DisneySea. We didn’t originally plan it this way, but we now consider it our send off until the next time we visit Tokyo.

While amusement parks can be a more pricey day trip, compared to many other Disney locations, tickets at Tokyo DisneySea are considerably less (an adult ticket is only 7500 yen!). They also have tickets that are discounted if you plan to visit after 3pm and an additional discounted ticket if you visit after 6pm. 

We also found the restaurants, snacks, and food stalls at Tokyo DisneySea to be more affordable than other Disney locations we’ve visited and FastPasses are free for everyone so be sure to take advantage of that early in the morning to save time for the popular rides. 

In the evening around 8pm there will be a show and fireworks display in the harbor centered in the park. Be sure to snag a spot early as it tends to get crowded quickly. 

Girl standing on a boat wearing Minnie Mouse ears at Tokyo DisneySea

If you’re looking for a magical way to end your time in Tokyo or for a closer day trip to Tokyo, this is our top pick! 

One last thing to note, if you’re a Disney buff don’t hesitate to flex your favorite Disney gear. Disney fans go ALL OUT at Tokyo DisneySea. In fact, we’ve only gone wearing our Minnie or Mickey Mouse ears, and have been the most underdressed by a longshot. 😉 


So, which of these day trips from Tokyo would you most likely consider for your trip?

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