Tokyo is an amazing city with lots of attractions. You could spend a whole week seeing not only urban city but also temples, gardens,museum, shopping spots, and delicious cuisine from all over the world. However, there are lots of great places you might not know that is reachable from Tokyo as a side trip. In this article, I will introduce 6 spots for side trip from Tokyo, all reachable within one day. Wake up early and leave Tokyo for a day to experience different scenery of Japan!
Hakone is a city in Kanazawa prefecture, it’s about 85 minutes from Shinjuku by express train called “Romance Car” (cute name!).
There are lots of things to do in Hakone. A definite must-do is dipping into an onsen! Hakoke is one of the most famous onsen district in Japan. With the history of 1,200 years as an onsen district, there are hundreds of day onsen place and onsen ryokans (Japanese style accommodation).
There are also lots of museums in Hakone. The Hakone Open-air Museum has lots of sculpture pieces and there is a building of Picasso, which displays about 100 pieces of Pablo Picasso.
Some other famous museums are Venetian Glass Museum, Museum of The Little Prince, and Pola Museum of Art with lots of pieces from Claude Monet.
Another thing you might find fun is capturing the scenery of Japanese nature. There is Lake Ashi, a huge crater lake lies along the southwest wall of the caldera of Mount Hakone. The lake is known for its view of Mount Fuji from sightseeing boats which connects between one side to another of lake Ashi.
There are also lots of places to hike, such as Mount Kintoki.
You will be definitely amazed by its view from the top of Mount Kintoki. You can encounter clear view of Mount Fuji.
In Hakone, you can could also encounter to see quiet snowy scenery in winter.
Kamakura is a seaside city just 1 hour away from Tokyo station. Because Kamakura was once a capital of Japan, there are lots of historical temples and ruins left. The city is a lot smaller than Kyoto, but you will find lots of places that look similar.
There are hundreds of famous temples. Each temples have best season to visit.
Kamakura has a lot more attractions. There are beautiful beach called “Shichiriga-hama” and “Yuiga-hama”. Lots of fancy cafe and restaurants are located on this seaside street, which specialize in Kamakura vegetables.
Kawagoe is a city in Saitama prefecture, just 1 hour away from Shinjuku or 30 min away from Ikebukuro by train. The city is known as “Koedo (小江戸)”, Little Edo. Edo is the old name for Tokyo used until the end of 19th Century. There were Kawagoe Castle which was occupied by close aides of the Tokugawa shogunate, therefore even most of the buildings were gone, some of them remained and relocated. Walking the traditional alleys is a must-do in Kawagoe.
Kawagoe has its local brewery called “COEDO BEER” You can also find COEDO beer at supermarkets in Tokyo, but there are not many places that you can taste draft beer. Grab a beer and walk around the traditional alley!
Yokohama is another city just one hour train ride from Tokyo station. It’s the second largest city in Japan by population after Tokyo. Yokohama developed as Japan’s port city following the end of “sakoku”, isolation of the country, in the mid 19th century. Since then, people from outside of Japan started to live in Yokohama, and dedicated to the development of the scenery of the city today.
Yokohama has lots of old Western style buildings,
and China Town.
There are also a beautiful park called Yamashita Park with huge ship.
Minatomirai is the beautiful urban area where lots of shopping spots and delicious restaurants gather. The night view is very beautiful and popular for romantic couples.
On Christmas season, a Christmas Market will be held by the Akarenga Souko (赤レンガ倉庫), Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse. Be ready to get warm by hot wines!
Nikko is a city in Tochigi prefecture. The city’s most famous tourist spot is of course Nikko Toshogu, one of the World Heritage site in Japan.
You can find more about Nikko Toshogu from this article: How Many World Heritage In Japan Do You Know? Part1 – Tohoku, Kanto, Chubu Area –
Not only the temples but Nikko is also full of majestic attractions with scenery of nature. Such as an one hundred meter Kegon Falls, and Lake Chuzenji.
There is also a fun amusement park called Edo Wonderland Nikko Edomura. There are lot of attractions such as Samurai experience, Ninja experience, and traditional dyeing. You can also walk around with cosplay.
Nikko is also close to Kinugawa onsen, one of the most famous onsen district in Japan with lots of ryokans. Utsunomiya, the city famous for gyoza is also close.
6. Mount Fuji
The final destination I’d like to point is Mount Fuji. You may think that Mt. Fuji is far from Tokyo, but it’s actually just 3 hours away from Shinjuku by highway bus. It’s worth a visit even if you are not a climber. The detailed information about highway bus is on the Fujikyu Bus website.
To get to Mount Fuji fifth station, you will have to transfer to another bus. After about 45min ride, then you are finally here!
Here is a link for a very useful Youtube movie about how to get to Mt. Fuji.
From Shinjuku to Kawaguchiko station, and
From Kawaguchiko station to Mt.Fuji fifth station.
The view from Mt. Fuji fifth station is astonishing, you will be above the clouds!
It’s also fun to explore lot of Mt. Fuji shaped goodies and food.
Around Mt. Fuji, there are lot of natural attractions. I’d recommend to go around with the useful sightseeing bus called Fujikko-go, which costs 1,340 yen for unlimited ride for 2 days. Detailed information are on their website.
Examples of the attraction will be Lake Yamanaka, also known as a beautiful view spot of Mt. Fuji,
and Oshino Hakkai, the set of eight ponds also a part of the World Heritage.
So you now recognized the beautiful spots that are reachable from Tokyo as a side trip. How about including these activities to your travel plan?