If you think you have seen everything, there is to see in Tokyo (I doubt it), or if you just had enough of the hectic and big city vibe (I can understand the sentiment), then it is time to explore some other parts of Japan. But you don’t have to go far to have unforgettable and unique experiences. There are many day trips from Tokyo that will give you a glimpse into the other sides of Japanese culture and history.
In this post, I will introduce my favorite 5 day trips from Tokyo. After living in Tokyo for more than three years, I have explored a lot of the city and its surroundings. I have been to all the destinations I recommended below and loved every single one.
By the way, if you are still planning your trip to Tokyo, check out my five days in Tokyo itinerary post on The Social Travel Experiment. Following my itinerary, you can cover a lot of ground in 5 days and see the different facets of Tokyo for yourself.
Best Day Trips from Tokyo
Kamakura used to be quite a prominent place in Japan, there is even a whole time period named after the city, and the Shogunate which made it ist capital. Many temples and shrines were built during that time, and most of them are still accessible today.
After Tokyo became the capital of Japan, Kamakura became a popular travel destination for the rich, to get away from the city. Kamakura today is no different. It is a fantastic place to get away from the city, to see beautiful shrines and temples and just to enjoy nature.
Top Things to Do in Kamakura
During a visit to Kamakura, you shouldn’t miss Hase Dera and the Great Buddha of Kamakura. Both temples are located close together just a short train ride on the Enoshima Dentetsu train from Kamakura station.
The most important shrine in Kamakura is Tsurugaoka Hachimangu, an impressive shrine built on a hill. The approach to the shrine is more than a kilometer long and leads all the way from the beach to the mountains.
Speaking of the beach, Yuigahama Beach is a great place to have a stroll in spring or fall or to bath or surf in summer. You can also buy some delicious shaved ice or have a drink at one of the many restaurants located there.
How to Get to Kamakura from Tokyo
From Tokyo Station take the Yokosuka Line directly to Kamakura Station. The train ride will take you around 50 minutes and cost about 800 yen. From Ikebukuro Station runs the Shonan-Shinjuku Line which also stops in Shinjuku. The train also takes roughly an hour and costs 920 yen.
Yokohama is the second biggest city in Japan, but when you take a train from Tokyo to Yokohama, you can’t tell where Tokyo ends, and Yokohama begins. Now you might be wondering if it is just another big city, is it really worth the visit? Yes, it is worth it!
Top Things to Do in Yokohama
The prime reason to visit Yokohama is China Town. It is the biggest China town in Japan (but not the only one). If you want to try authentic and delicious Chinese food, this is the place to go. But even if you aren’t hungry just strolling through the distinctly Chinese streets, one shop selling souvenirs after another is like experiencing two countries for the price of one.
Another cool place to visit is Minato Mirai, the so-called harbor of the future is a very cool seaside urban area, with an amusement park, shopping malls and even a chapel where you can get married (if you have the money to do so). Take a stroll or ride the ferries wheel for a great view of the city (especially cool at night).
I don’t know how secret this tip is, but if you like Ramen check out the Ramen Museum in Yokohama. This Ramen theme park looks like a city square from years past and is filled with the best Ramen restaurants Japan has to offer. From Hokkaido to Kyushu, the best Ramen shops can be found here.
How to Get to Yokohama from Tokyo
Many different trains connect Tokyo and Yokohama. From Tokyo Station, you can hop on the Keihin Tohoku Line or Tokaido Line, and arrive in under 40 minutes. The trip will cost about 460 yen.
Narita is mainly famous because of Tokyo’s biggest international Airport, Narita International Airport. But the city of Narita, which is really just 10 minutes from the airport has a lot to offer tourists. It is a great place to visit before your flight home.
Top Things to Do in Narita
The top sight in Narita city is Naritasan Shinsho-Ji Temple. It is more than a thousand years old and has always been a popular pilgrimage site. The temple complex is located on a massive site with pagodas and buildings on a vast area including a beautiful park with a lake.
From Narita Station walk along Omotesando street which will lead you straight to the temple. This street is the second highlight of Narita. You can find shops and restaurants along the road where you can buy souvenirs for your friends at home. If you were wondering, the most popular food in Narita is eel, and you can watch the cooks prepare the eel masterfully in front of your eyes.
How to Get to Narita from Tokyo
From Tokyo Station, there is a direct train to Narita Station on the Sobu Line. It will take you over an hour to get there and cost more than 1000 yen. Yes, Narita and the airport really are farther away from Tokyo than you think.
Also called Fuji Five Lakes Area or Lake Kawaguchi, this place is famous for one thing only: The fantastic views of Mount Fuji you have from everywhere in the area. I often visit Kawaguchiko during the fall season to see Mount Fuji and the beautiful fall foliage. But of course, it is also beautiful during any other season.
Top Things to Do in Kawaguchiko
Since your primary goal is an unforgettable view of Mount Fuji, the top things to do in Kawaguchiko are places with a beautiful view. My favorite spot is Chureito Pagoda, after a steep climb to the pagoda at the top of a hill you get an unforgettable view of the mountain. If it isn’t cloudy.
Ever been on a roller coaster with a view? If your answer is ‘no, but I want to’ then Fuji Q Highland is the place for you. Ride record-breaking roller coasters and admire Mount Fuji at the same time.
The area around Lake Kawaguchi has a lot of activities to offer; you can take the ropeway up Mount Tenjo, visit one of the many museums or enjoy the hot springs of the area.
How to Get to Kawaguchiko from Tokyo
The JR train from Shinjuku connects Tokyo with Kawaguchiko. The one-way trip costs 2500 yen and takes about 2 hours. If you get a Japan Rail Pass before arriving in Japan, this trip will be covered, and therefore this will be your cheapest option. If you don’t get the pass, you can also take a bus from Shinjuku, which takes about the same amount of time but at 1700 yen it is cheaper.
Another great Mount Fuji viewing spot, and not too far from Kawaguchiko is Hakone. Another lake you shouldn’t miss and more hot springs to enjoy. Unfortunately, there is too much to do in Hakone and Kawaguchiko to jam it into a single day trip, but because the experience is similar, I recommend to choose either one if you are short on time.
Top Things to Do in Hakone
Take a pirate ship across Lake Ashi. Okay, its not a pirate ship but it looks like one, and the views of Mount Fuji from the middle of the lake are just stunning.
Take the ropeway up to Owakudani for more stunning views of Mount Fuji and some blackened sulfur eggs. Don’t worry they taste like regular eggs.
How to Get to Hakone from Tokyo
If you have a Japan Rail Pass, you can take the Shinkansen from Tokyo Station to Odawara. And from there you will need to take a bus to Hakone, which isn’t covered by the pass. But the train takes only 35 minutes to arrive in Odawara.
Another great experience in itself might be the Romancecar Odakyu-Limited Express. It takes one hour and 15 minutes to reach Odawara but costs only half the price (only just under 2000 yen).
These 5-day trips from Tokyo are in my eyes the top 5 places to visit, but there are many more amazing destinations in and around Tokyo you shouldn’t miss if you have the time.
If you are short on time and you were wondering what day trip from Tokyo you really shouldn’t miss, I would say, visit Kamakura, just because it is beautiful, comfortable to get to and so different from Tokyo.
Lena from The Social Travel Experiment
Lena shares her trip around the world on her blog, The Social Travel Experiment. She teaches busy millennials how to have an unforgettable trip around the world through short stays with locals, without wasting valuable time and money. Check out her blog and social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.
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