12 Best Day Trips From Tokyo

Looking to escape the hustle and bustle of Tokyo and embark on an unforgettable day trip? Look no further! In 2023, there are plenty of exciting options just a stone’s throw away.

From the lavish temples of Nikko to the hot springs and stunning views of Hakone, there’s something for everyone.

Don’t miss the chance to hike Japan’s tallest peak, Mount Fuji, or explore the vibrant port city of Yokohama.

With so many diverse destinations to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect sightseeing adventure outside of Tokyo.

Key Takeaways

  • Nikko and Hakone are popular day trip destinations from Tokyo, offering stunning natural landscapes, historical sites, and outdoor activities.
  • Mount Fuji is a must-visit for those seeking adventure and breathtaking views, with the Fuji Five Lakes region being a highlight.
  • Yokohama and Kamakura offer a mix of cultural attractions, including historic temples and shrines, picturesque parks, and vibrant Chinatown.
  • For a unique experience, Nokogiriyama, Kusatsu Onsen, Narita City, Kawasaki, Odawara Castle Town, Matsumoto, Chichibu, Kawagoe, and Odaiba are all worth considering for day trips from Tokyo.

Nikko: UNESCO World Heritage Site and Ornate Temples


Nikko, a UNESCO World Heritage site located two hours north of central Tokyo, boasts lavish temples and ornate shrines that attract visitors seeking cultural and historical experiences.

It’s like stepping into a time machine and being transported back to ancient Japan, but with better Wi-Fi.

From the intricate details of Toshogu Shrine to the majestic five-story pagoda at Rinnoji Temple, every corner of Nikko is a feast for the eyes.

And if you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of the mischievous monkeys that roam the area.

So grab your camera and your sense of adventure, because Nikko is waiting to be explored.

Just be prepared to be amazed, and maybe a little bit enchanted, by the beauty and grandeur of this remarkable destination.

Hakone: Hot Springs and Views of Mount Fuji

Evening view of Mt. Fuji from Hakone

Visitors to Hakone can enjoy relaxing in hot springs and take in stunning views of Mount Fuji. It’s the perfect place to unwind and soak away your worries while admiring the majestic beauty of Japan’s most iconic peak.

The hot springs in Hakone are said to have healing properties, so you can rejuvenate your body and soul at the same time. And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can also hike up Mount Hakone for a closer look at Fuji-san. But be warned, it’s not for the faint of heart!

Luckily, there are plenty of other outdoor activities to keep you entertained, like exploring Lake Ashi or checking out the Open Air Museum. So go ahead, embrace your freedom and indulge in the natural wonders of Hakone.

Mount Fuji: Japan’s Tallest Peak and Stunning Views

Mount Fuji View From Kawaguchiko
Mount Fuji View From Kawaguchiko

Mount Fuji stands as Japan’s tallest peak, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding Fuji Five Lakes region.

Here are three reasons why a trip to Mount Fuji is a must:

  1. Majestic Hiking: Strap on your boots and take on the challenge of climbing Mount Fuji during the hiking season from July to mid-September. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will leave you in awe of the stunning landscapes and panoramic views.
  2. Fuji Five Lakes: Explore the picturesque Fuji Five Lakes region, where you’ll find stunning views of Mount Fuji reflected in the calm waters. Take a leisurely stroll along the lakeshore or rent a bike to fully Enjoy the beauty of the area.
  3. Cultural Delights: Don’t miss the chance to visit the Fuji Visitor Center and Fujiyama Museum to learn more about the history, culture, and significance of Mount Fuji. Gain a deeper appreciation for this iconic symbol of Japan while enjoying the freedom to explore at your own pace.

Yokohama: Bayside Boardwalk and Vibrant Chinatown

Yokohama Bay At Night
Yokohama Bay At Night

Yokohama’s bayside boardwalk offers visitors a scenic and leisurely stroll along the waterfront. It’s the perfect place to take a break from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo and soak in the relaxed vibe of this vibrant city.

As you wander along the boardwalk, you’ll be treated to stunning views of the bay and the city skyline. And if you’re feeling adventurous, why not take a ride on the Marine Tower Ferris Wheel for panoramic views that will take your breath away?

After your walk, head over to Yokohama Chinatown, the largest in Japan, and indulge in some delicious street food. From dumplings to steamed buns, the choices are endless.

Yokohama is a city that offers freedom, relaxation, and a taste of something different.

Kamakura: Historic Temples and the Great Buddha Statue

K Toku In Kamakura
K Toku In Kamakura

Kamakura, a former political center, is home to historic temples and shrines, including the famous Great Buddha statue at Kotoku-in Temple. Here are three reasons why Kamakura is a must-visit day trip from Tokyo:

  1. Big Buddha, Big Wow: The Great Buddha statue at Kotoku-in Temple is a sight to behold. Standing at a whopping 43 feet tall, this colossal bronze statue is an impressive representation of Buddha. It’s like having a giant zen master watching over you.
  2. Temple Hopping Extravaganza: Kamakura is a treasure trove of temples and shrines. From the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine to the Hokokuji Temple with its beautiful bamboo groves, you’ll be spoiled for choice. It’s like a spiritual buffet that will leave you feeling enlightened and well-fed.
  3. Train Ride Adventure: Hop on a train from Tokyo and embark on a scenic journey to Kamakura. The 50-minute ride will take you through picturesque landscapes, giving you a taste of the Japanese countryside. It’s like a mini adventure before the main event.

Kusatsu Onsen: Hot Spring Town With Healing Properties

Kusatsu Onsen, a renowned hot spring town, offers visitors the chance to experience the healing properties of its sulfuric waters.

Picture this: you’re soaking in a hot yu bath, surrounded by steam and tranquility, feeling all your worries melt away. Ah, the sweet relief! The sulfur in the water is said to have medicinal properties that can soothe aching muscles and rejuvenate the soul.

And if that’s not enough, there’s Sainokawara Park, where you can dip your feet in the hot streams and let nature work its magic. Plus, the downtown area has the famous Yubatake, a water source where you can witness the hot spring water gushing out like a mini-geyser.

Nokogiriyama: Scenic Mountain With Buddhist Statues

Nokogiriyama, a scenic mountain southwest of Tokyo, offers breathtaking views and is known for its impressive collection of Buddhist deity statues. It’s like stepping into a world where nature and spirituality collide in the most magnificent way.

Here are three reasons why Nokogiriyama should be on your must-visit list:

  1. Ropeway Adventure: Take a thrilling ride on the ropeway cable car and ascend to the top of the mountain. Enjoy the stunning panoramic views as you soar through the air. It’s an experience that will make your heart skip a beat.
  2. Statue Wonderland: Prepare to be amazed by the vast collection of Buddhist deity statues scattered throughout the mountain. From towering giants to intricate carvings, each statue tells its own story and adds to the mystical ambiance of the place.
  3. Easy Access: Getting to Nokogiriyama is a breeze. You can hop on a train or take a ferry, making it a convenient day trip option from Tokyo. So pack your bags, embrace the freedom of exploration, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure at Nokogiriyama.

Narita City: Serene Escape With Naritasan Shinshoji Temple

Narita City offers a serene escape from the urban lifestyle with its peaceful atmosphere and the renowned Naritasan Shinshoji Temple. If you’re tired of the hustle and bustle of Tokyo, this is the perfect place to unwind and reconnect with your inner zen.

The city is associated with the international airport, but don’t let that fool you. Once you step foot in Narita, you’ll be transported to a world of tranquility. The highlight of the city is definitely the Naritasan Shinshoji Temple, a majestic Buddhist temple that will leave you in awe. The temple grounds are filled with beautiful gardens and intricate architecture, making it a great spot for some Instagram-worthy photos.

Kawasaki: Industrial Town With Temples and Museums

Kawasaki, an industrial town in Kanagawa Prefecture, offers a unique blend of historic temples and museums, showcasing the intersection of modern life and cultural heritage.

Explore the Daishi Heikenji Temple, known for its eccentric Kanamara Festival where giant phallic-shaped objects are paraded through the streets. It’s definitely a sight you won’t see anywhere else!

Enjoy the art scene at the various museums in Kawasaki, such as the Toshiba Science Museum and the Kawasaki City Museum. You’ll discover a fascinating mix of technology and creativity.

Take a stroll along the scenic riverfront parks, where you can relax and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere while admiring the historic temples that dot the landscape. Kawasaki may be an industrial town, but it proves that even in the midst of progress, cultural treasures can still thrive.

Odawara Castle Town: Feudal Samurai District and Medieval History

After exploring the industrial charm of Kawasaki, it’s time to travel back in time to the feudal era in Odawara Castle Town. This place is a paradise for history buffs and samurai enthusiasts. Get ready to be transported to a world of armored warriors and ancient traditions.

Odawara Castle, the main attraction, stands tall and proud, offering a glimpse into Japan’s medieval history. Take a stroll through the feudal samurai district at Ishigakiyama and feel like you’ve stepped into a time machine.

To delve deeper into the past, visit the Soga Historic Museum, where you can learn about the fascinating lives of merchant families.

Enjoy the rich cultural heritage of Odawara Castle Town and witness the legacy of the samurai. It’s a day trip that promises to be both educational and awe-inspiring. So, grab your swords and armor (just kidding!) and embark on this medieval adventure.

Matsumoto: Unique Castle and Natural Beauty

Matsumoto Castle Moon Viewing Roon
Matsumoto Castle Moon Viewing Roon

Matsumoto Castle, with its unique moon-viewing deck, is a central attraction in Matsumoto, offering enhanced natural beauty during Sakura season.

Here are three reasons why you should visit this quirky castle:

  1. Historical Aesthetics: Matsumoto Castle, also known as the ‘Crow Castle,’ dates back to the 16th century. Its blacked-out structures give it a mysterious and intriguing vibe, making it a must-see for history buffs.
  2. Moon-viewing Deck: Imagine strolling through the castle grounds at night, gazing up at the moon from a specially-designed deck. This experience is truly enchanting and adds a touch of romance to your visit.
  3. Sakura Season: During spring, Matsumoto Castle is surrounded by breathtaking cherry blossoms. The contrast between the pink petals and the castle’s black exterior creates a mesmerizing sight that will leave you in awe.

Disneyland and Disney Sea: Fun-Filled Fairytale Adventures

Sunset At Tokyo Disneyland
Sunset At Tokyo Disneyland

Now that you’ve experienced the unique beauty of Matsumoto, it’s time to unleash your inner child and embark on some fun-filled fairytale adventures at Disneyland and Disney Sea.

Just a short half-hour train ride from Tokyo, these magical destinations are ideal for families with smaller kids (or those who are young at heart). Get ready to be whisked away into a world of enchantment and excitement.

At Disneyland, you can meet your favorite Disney characters, go on thrilling rides, and watch spectacular parades and fireworks. Disney Sea, on the other hand, offers a one-of-a-kind nautical theme with attractions like the Venetian gondolas and the jaw-dropping Mount Prometheus.

Chichibu: Picturesque Hiking and Spiritual Temples

Visitors to Chichibu can enjoy the picturesque beauty of the area while enjoying hiking trails and exploring spiritual temples. Here are three reasons why Chichibu is a hidden gem for those seeking freedom in their travels:

  1. Majestic Mountains: Chichibu is surrounded by breathtaking mountains that offer incredible hiking opportunities. Strap on your boots and explore the lush greenery, cascading waterfalls, and stunning vistas. It’s nature’s playground, and you’re invited to join in the fun!
  2. Tranquil Temples: Chichibu is home to numerous temples that exude a peaceful and spiritual aura. Take a moment to meditate, soak in the serene atmosphere, and appreciate the intricate architecture. These temples are hidden havens for those seeking a moment of tranquility in their journey.
  3. Off the Beaten Path: Chichibu is often missed by typical tourist routes, making it the perfect destination for those who desire a unique and authentic experience. Escape the crowds and discover a place that still retains its charm and authenticity. Chichibu is waiting to be explored, so why not venture off the beaten path and find your own freedom in this picturesque paradise?

Kawagoe: Preserved Streets of the Edo Period

Kawagoe’s preserved streets showcase the charm and history of the Edo period. It offers visitors a unique and immersive experience. This little slice of ‘Little Edo’ takes you back in time with its historical warehouse merchant buildings and sweet shops.

You can stroll along the cobblestone streets, taking in the sights and sounds of a bygone era. And don’t forget to visit the iconic bell tower, a symbol of Kawagoe’s rich history. It’s like stepping into a time machine, except without the crazy-haired scientist or the risk of accidentally altering the course of history.

Odaiba: Entertainment Hub With Shopping and Dining Options

Odaiba’s entertainment hub offers visitors a wide range of shopping and dining options, making it an ideal destination for those seeking a fun-filled and diverse experience. Here are three reasons why Odaiba should be on your Tokyo itinerary:

  1. Retail Therapy Extravaganza: From high-end fashion boutiques to quirky Japanese pop culture stores, Odaiba has it all. Get lost in the sprawling shopping malls like VenusFort and Aqua City, where you can find everything from trendy clothes to unique souvenirs. And don’t forget to check out the Gundam statue, a must-see for anime enthusiasts.
  2. Gastronomic Delights: Odaiba is a food lover’s paradise. Indulge in a variety of cuisines, from traditional Japanese dishes to international fusion creations. Whether you’re craving sushi, ramen, or mouthwatering desserts, Odaiba has got you covered. Don’t miss out on the waterfront dining options for stunning views while you feast.
  3. Entertainment Galore: Odaiba is not just about shopping and eating. It also offers a stack of entertainment activities. Visit the teamLab Borderless digital art museum for a mind-blowing immersive experience, or have a blast at the Joypolis amusement park with thrilling rides and virtual reality games. Odaiba truly has a lot to offer.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does It Take to Reach Nikko From Central Tokyo?

It takes about two hours to reach Nikko from central Tokyo. So pack some snacks, put on your favorite tunes, and get ready for a scenic journey to this UNESCO World Heritage site.

What Is the Best Time to Hike Mount Fuji?

The best time to hike Mount Fuji is during the hiking season from July to mid-September. It’s Japan’s tallest peak, so get ready for an epic adventure and some stunning views!

Can You See Mount Fuji From Lake Ashi in Hakone?

Yes, you can see Mount Fuji from Lake Ashi in Hakone. It offers stunning views of Japan’s tallest peak. So hop on a train, enjoy the hot springs, and get ready for a picture-perfect sightseeing experience!

How Far Is Yokohama From Tokyo and How Can I Get There?

Yokohama is just 30 minutes south of Tokyo, making it an easy day trip option. You can get there by train and enjoy attractions like Yamashita Park, the Marine Tower Ferris Wheel, and the vibrant Yokohama Chinatown.

What Is the Significance of the Great Buddha Statue in Kamakura?

The Great Buddha statue in Kamakura is a significant landmark that attracts visitors from all over. It stands tall at Kotoku-in Temple and represents the peaceful and spiritual atmosphere of the city. A must-see!

The Sum Up

To sum it up, Tokyo offers a stack of amazing day trip options for sightseeing in 2023. From the ornate temples of Nikko to the hot springs and stunning views in Hakone, there is something for everyone.

Don’t forget to hike up Mount Fuji for breathtaking scenery or explore the vibrant port city of Yokohama. And of course, a visit to Disneyland and Disney Sea is a must for those seeking fun-filled adventures.

So grab your camera and get ready for an unforgettable day trip from Tokyo!