To visiting tourists, Tokyo may seem like a break from reality. However, spending enough time in Japan’s busiest metropolitan city will quickly change your mind. While there is no question that most of your itinerary will probably be spent within Tokyo, you can easily take a break from the hustle and bustle of Japan’s capital with a healing day trip just outside the city.
In today’s article, we will share 12 relaxing day trips from Tokyo that you can add to your schedule with ease. There is no shortage of unique and fun experiences in Japan that lie in wait just outside the city. Keep an open mind and maybe you will find inspiration for the perfect day trip from Tokyo to suit your needs and interests!
While Hakone is a popular weekend destination for tourists who are looking for an authentic and relaxing onsen ryokan experience, it is also a good option for an easy day trip with friends or family. Catch a train from Shinjuku Station and take a 40-minute bus ride from Hakone-Yumoto Station to the town proper.
Aside from the wide range of onsen ryokans, you can also explore the beautiful shrines that pepper the Hakone landscape or even go down to the stunning Lake Ashi – a lake nestled within a crater that features a good view of Fuji-san on a clear day. Adventurous tourists can even taste the famous kuro-tamago or try out the thrilling Komagatake Ropeway if they want to get a bit of exercise in to burn off all the delicious food they have been snacking on in Tokyo.
Determined travelers who wish to enjoy as much of Hakone as they can during a day trip can make the most of their visit with a guided day tour, but planning your own itinerary around the pace that you want will make the trip both relaxing and special!
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A mere two-hour train ride away, Okutama is another candidate for day trip destinations just outside of Tokyo. The train to Okutama also leaves Shinjuku station and is a cozy way to start sightseeing the lush greenery that this city has to offer.
Okutama is a mountainous region overlooking Lake Okutama, and it is filled with relaxing onsens and refreshing waterfalls where guests can dip into the water to rejuvenate from the chaos of their journey. It is also a fun destination for those looking to try outdoor activities, like white water rafting, limestone cave spelunking, or even wasabi farming!
If Okutama seems like an interesting stop for you, you can learn more about it in our detailed guide to Okutama or even book a longer stay if you feel like a day trip will not cut it. We highly recommend giving this day trip destination a visit during the autumn months, when the trees surrounding Lake Okutama turn vibrant shades of fall colors.
Read More: Best Things To Do In Okutama
A popular destination among day trip visitors, Kamakura is a taste of Kyoto culture just south of Tokyo’s busy streets. Think of this destination as a mini version of Kyoto, complete with lovely temples and torii shrines, and even a Great Buddha Statue. There are also many hiking trails of various difficulties to choose from.
Because of their many similarities, Kamakura is also famously known as the ‘Kyoto of East Japan’. If you have been itching to explore Kyoto’s cultural and historical sites but don’t seem to have the time to spare in your itinerary, dropping by Kamakura for a day trip may just be the perfect workaround for you. You can always come by and visit Kyoto next time.
Not a history buff? Kamakura is also a great destination for surfing enthusiasts due to its closeness to the popular surfing spot, Sagami Bay. This makes it a good alternative to farther destinations like Chiba if you are on a tight schedule.
It’s not every day that a destination looks straight out of a storybook. Chichibu is a great example of one such place due to its overwhelming beauty. Just an hour and a half away from Ikebukuro Station, this city is a popular choice among tourists and Tokyo locals alike.
Formerly a city powered by trade and industry through meisen silk production, Chichibu has since made an easy shift to tourism due to the town’s innate charm, beautiful scenery, and countless festivities like the legendary December Night festival. Buddhists from within Japan and around the world also come to experience Chichibu’s pilgrimage route – following a trail of 34 Buddhist temples in the Chichibu area.
Of course, one of Chichibu’s most famous tourist stops is the rose-colored Hisujyama Park. In the spring, the park’s shibazakura fields are filled with various shades of pink moss. This makes it a perfect place for a romantic date or perhaps a memorable photo opportunity from your travels to Japan. Cap off the day with a shot from Ichiro’s Whiskey Distillery, nd you will surely have a day trip from Tokyo to remember.
You can read more about Chichibu in this handy guide: The Best Things To Do In Chichibu.
This one’s for the adventurous types! Takao is among the destinations on this list that we heavily recommend for outdoor lovers, mostly due to the many outdoor activities that you can try in this mountainous area. You can head to Takao in just 45 minutes, taking a train from Shinjuku and transferring to the Keio Line. This makes it the perfect choice for a quick weekend hike, especially for groups with kids and elders.
This is not only due to the accessibility of the location, but also due to the hiking trails of Takao-san being easier and safer than other popular hiking trails in the country. We highly recommend planning your hiking day trip during cherry blossom season so you are sure to have gorgeous photos to take from that day.
Need a break from the hiking? Visit the mountain’s Yakuoin temple or dine at the famous Takahashiya restaurant – a Takao icon that has been serving up the local specialty, tororo soba made with grated yam for 170 years. You can also keep an eye out for yamabushi in training, as they often come to the sacred grounds of Takao-san to meditate.
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Speaking of hiking trails, many people have to brave a pretty difficult one if they undertake the grand task of hiking up Mount Fuji. However, having a good view of Mount Fuji is a very different story. Enter Kawaguchiko, a stunning city just two hours away from Shinjuku station. This popular tourist spot is known for offering gorgeous yet accessible viewpoints of Mount Fuji without the treacherous trek.
Head down to Lake Kawaguchi in the fall for a postcard-ready view of Fuji-san framed by crimson momiji leaves or nestle into fields of lavender for a calming look at the famous volcano. In our opinion though, snapping a lakeside Fuji-san photo by the Kawaguchiko Musical Forest is the best viewpoint in the Kawaguchiko area.
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Is Kawaguchiko’s viewpoint not to your liking? Maybe you can try your luck at the nearby Fujiyoshida instead. Located in the Yamanashi Prefecture, Fujiyoshida is home to one of the most iconic viewpoints for snapping a photo of Mount Fuji especially in the springtime when cherry blossoms are in full bloom.
This viewpoint is none other than the popular Arakurayama Sengen Park, which features the famous Chureito Pagoda – a symbolic peace memorial honoring the people of Fujiyoshida for serving bravely in wartime. Aside from the beautiful story behind the structure, it also adds a lovely pop of color to any Fuji-san photo taken on the park grounds.
The city itself is a peaceful stop for a day trip from Tokyo, with the Arakura Sengen Shrine offering a contemplative mood and local restaurants serving up specialties like horse sashimi and Yoshida udon while using fresh produce straight from the foot of Mount Fuji!
Perhaps one of the best (and cheapest) stops on this list for escaping the city life, Kawagoe feels like stepping back into the past due to how the town has managed to preserve Edo-period architecture so effectively. Because of this, the town has even been nicknamed “Ko-Edo” or Little Edo!
This charming and peaceful tourist destination is a mere 30-minute trip away from Ikebukuro station, and it is perfect for a pleasant afternoon of admiring the traditional scenery of its famous streets and eating plenty of great food that Kawagoe has to offer.
Head to Kurazukuri Street, where centuries-old clay wall warehouses have been frozen in time. You can also drop by Candy Alley, where you can even find traditional sweets being sold. Looking to see more Edo architecture while you are in the area? Visit Kawagoe Castle’s sole surviving structure, the Honmaru Goten where feudal lords used to meet for official matters.
Speaking of cities stuck in time, Atami joins Kawagoe in this category but in a very different way. Atami is a laid-back port city that is far removed from the hustle of Tokyo’s central business districts, with many locals owning yachts parked by the stunning coast over sparkling ocean waters.
Aside from the water by the coastline, many locals and visiting tourists flock to this slow-paced city for the soothing and unique salt-water onsen experiences and scenic diving spots that it has to offer. Atami is also home to the famous Atami Plum Garden, as well as multiple museums including the sprawling MOA Museum of Art.
With so much to do in Atami, you can easily plan a very eventful day in a very calm city. The best part is that a trip to Atami is easily workable into your schedule by taking a train from Shinjuku or a Shinkansen train from Shinagawa. Read all about Atami in our quick guide here: Atami Travel Guide.
Despite being a port city like the previous entry, Yokohama is known for being quite busy and not too far off from Tokyo in terms of the mood. Still, it is worth dropping by if you want to escape Tokyo but not the modernity and stunning nightscapes that the capital city offers.
Yokohama has an impressive art scene and a steadily growing community of craft beer artisans, so there is still plenty to set this city apart from Tokyo’s metropolitan mood. From the various Koganecho installations that have brought back warmth to the city’s war-ravaged areas down to the dockside BankART 1929 which features a gallery, cafe, and studio hybrid, Yokohama truly feels like it comes alive due to its artistic community.
A trip to Yokohama is a mere 25 minutes away from Tokyo Station, making it an easy and quick escape from Tokyo’s robotic routines.
If the past few entries have been feeling a bit too close to the city vibes of Tokyo, then Nagatoro may be the break you have been looking for. This small town on the edge of Saitama will bring any tourist right back to basics, as nature abounds plenty in the form of lush greenery, riverside hiking trails, and calm waters with occasional rapids marked with white foam.
Adrenaline junkies and extreme sports lovers will love paragliding, hiking, swimming, and white water rafting in the area. However, calmer nature lovers will likely appreciate a quick trek to the Hodosan Mountain Shrine, a kayak trip that passes Iwatadami Rock, or even a shopping trip to the local shop street for delicious local produce.
We highly recommend dropping by the many restaurants in Nagatoro, since the local produce is often used to cook. Local specialties to try include warajidon, buta miso don, and delicious walnut and sun-dried tomato treats.
For our final destination on this list, we thought we would choose a day trip from Tokyo that was perfect for unwinding. And what better way to unwind than to drink wine? Katsunuma belongs to the country’s top three wine producers, with scrumptious grapes being grown successfully in the town despite the humidity in the area.
If you are a wine enthusiast, you will surely enjoy wine-tasting experiences at the many wineries in Katsunuma. In fact, wine is so common that you can even find wine vending machines dispensing wine in exchange for coins at Buko no Oda. Due to the many wineries in the area, Katsunuma is also similar to the Italian countryside. The change in scenery is perfect if you need a break from the capital’s concrete jungle.
We highly recommend visiting Chateau Mercian for a European vibe that has stood the test of time. For a more Japanese feel, you cannot go wrong with Miyakoen – a winery founded by the pioneers of winemaking in Japan.
Find the Perfect Day Trip From Tokyo Here
With a total of twelve unique day trips from Tokyo to choose from on this list, we hope that we helped you discover possible plans to escape the city’s busy streets even just for a day! Bear in mind though that despite recommending these as day trips, traveling to any town or city in Japan is best experienced by savoring your stay and extending it by a few days
If luxury is your preferred way of escape, you may want to check out these luxury ryokan options to take a break from Japan’s busiest city!