Many delightful places to visit are just a 90-minute ride or less from Japan’s capital. In this article, I’d like to share my favorite day trips from Tokyo and tips to enjoy the best of your trips.
Just an hour away by train from Tokyo, Mount Takao is truly a nature lover’s slice of paradise. The mountain is home to stunning hiking trails, temples, and tasty Japanese food.
Make sure to start your day early to make a full day of it.
After hopping off the train from Tokyo, you can get to Takao Mountain by cable car, chair lift, or hiking.
If you decide to hike, there are 6 hiking routes on Mount Takao that you can choose from depending on your fitness and experience. Most trails take about 90 minutes or more to complete, making Mount Takao a comfortable day trip.
You will get to see some of the most spectacular views while hiking. In addition to the wonderful natural forests, you can see wildlife, waterfalls, listen to the sound of streams and visit temples here.
If you choose Trail 1, stop by Mt Takao Monkey Park & Wildflower Garden, just past the first observation deck.
If you’re hungry, stop by some street food stands and try delicious cheese tarts or red bean pancakes. Also, don’t forget to try delicious soba noodles at the foot of Takao Mt. when you get back from the hike.
Best time to visit Mount Takao
Mount Takao is one of the ideal places to see maple leaves. The best time to see the maple leaves is in the fall, between September and November when the whole mountain is filled with red.
How to get from Tokyo to Mount Takao
From Shinjuku station, take the Keio Line and ride to Takaosanguchi Station, which is the last stop. I recommend getting Keio 1-day Pass for the round trip train ticket with cable car or chair lift tickets.
If you have JR Rail Pass, you can take the JR Chuo Line to Takao Station before transferring to the Keio Line for Takaosanguchi Station.
The journey takes about 1 hour 10 minutes.
Hakone is one of my favorite places to visit in Japan. Located about 100km from Tokyo, Hakone is home to several hot springs, volcanic areas, and historical sights.
It’s ideal if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo and find the quiet and fresh nature.
Some must-visit attractions in Hakone are
Owakudani volcanic area: formed by the eruption of the Hakone volcano 3000 years ago
From Shinjuku station, you can take the Odakyu Line to Hakone Yumoto Station. The journey takes about 90 minutes.
Alternatively, you can take the JR Tokaido Shinkansen from Tokyo Station to Odawara Station (about 35 minutes). Then take the Hakone Tozan Line from Odawara Station to Hakone-Yumoto Station. The total travel time is about 55 minutes.
Within the Hakone area, buses run every 15 to 30 minutes from Hakone-machi to Hakone-Yumoto Station and Odawara Station.
I recommend getting Hakone Freepass to save money and time when you tour around Hakone, even just for a day.
With Hakone Freepass, you can enjoy unlimited rides to 8 transportation systems on eight different types of transportation in Hakone, including Hakone Tozan Train, Hakone Tozan Bus, Hakone Tozan Cable Car, Hakone Ropeway, and even the Hakone Sightseeing Cruise.
Note that the pass already includes the fare from Shinjuku to Hakone Train. Plus, you can get discounts on more than 70 attractions and establishments, including several shops, museums, onsen, and restaurants.
Hakone travel tips
Tips: While you can cover the best of Hakone in a one-day trip out of Tokyo, if you want to try the hot spring or do some hiking, staying overnight would be better.
Kamakura is a perfect day trip destination from Tokyo, with plenty of shrines, temples, and beaches.
The Great Buddha (Kamakura Daibutsu) is Kamakura’s most famous landmark. The statue of the compassionate Amida Buddha sits cross-legged in the Kotokuin temple courtyard. This 11-meter-tall bronze statue was cast in 1292.
In addition to the Great Buddha, there are other temples and shrines to explore in the area. I recommend visiting Hasedera Temple, Tsurugaoka Hachimangu, and Hokojuku temple.
How to get from Tokyo to Kamakura
You can take the JR Yokosuka Line from Tokyo Station to Kamakura Station. The journey takes about 1 hour.
From Kamakura Station, you can visit many attractions within walking distance.
Note: You can get a Hakone Kamakura 3-Day Pass for unlimited rides on different transportation services such as boats, ropeways, buses, and trains in Hakone and Kamakura. Plus, you’ll get discounted admission to about 90 attractions in Hakone, Enoshima, and Kamakura.
Tips: Although Kamakura is an easy day trip from Tokyo, you may want to spend a night there.
Jogashima Island is a gorgeous little getaway not far from Tokyo. The island is located in Kanagawa Prefecture, about 73 km south of Tokyo.
Jogashima island is quite small, only 1.8 km from east to west and 0.6 km from north to south. It’s made of volcanic rock and rises about 30m above sea level.
The island has several stunning landmarks, including incredible volcanic rock cliffs, a beautiful park with panoramic views over the Pacific, and viewpoints of Mount Fuji over Sagami Bay.
You can follow the hiking trail around Jogashima island and make the most of your trip.
It takes approximately 2 hours, and you can visit most of the island’s spectacular sites, such as Jogashima Lighthouse, Cape Nagatsuro, Umanose Domon, and Misaki fishing harbor.
Also, walking across the Jogashima-Ohashi Bridge and trying fresh tuna in Misaki Fisharina Wharf – Urari should be on your bucket list.
Best time to visit Jogashima
You can visit Jogashima Island any time of the year. However, December or January is the best time to view more than 5000 blooming daffodils and see Japanese cormorants and thousands of migratory Pacific reef herons.
How to get from Tokyo to Jogashima island
You can take the Keikyu Line from Shinagawa station to Misakiguchi station (1 hour 17 minutes). Then take the Keihin Kyuko bus from Misakiguchi Station (28 mins) to Jogashima harbor.
Lake Kawaguchiko, Mt. Fuji
With a breathtaking lake view with a mountain backdrop, lake Kawaguchiko is tailor-made for stunning photographs.
Lake Kawaguchiko is also one the most easily accessible of the Fuji Five Lakes from Tokyo. To catch a glimpse of Mount Fuji, you should be there in the early morning before 9 am or in the late afternoons.
If the weather is nice, I recommend renting a kayak or paddleboat and enjoy the lake’s scenery.
Afterward, head to one of its finest hot springs and relax there. Hotel Mifujien is a great choice with views of Mount Fuji.
How to get from Tokyo to Lake Kawaguchiko
The bus from Shinjuku Station or Tokyo Station is the least complicated way and costs 1800 Yen ($18).
If you’d like to travel by train, take the JR Chuo Line from Shinjuku Station to Otsuki Station (1 hour). At Otsuki, change to the private Fuji-Kyuko Line for Kawaguchi-ko, which takes another 50 minutes.
The total traveling time is about two hours, and you can use your JR Pass as far as Otsuki.
Guide: Although you can manage to explore Lake Kawaguchiko in one day, it’s better to stay overnight and relax in this charming town.
Transport: Book your JR Rail Pass to enjoy ultimate JR train rides.
Located just about 40km southwest of Tokyo, Yokohama is a fabulous destination for a day trip. The city boasts exceptionally good eating, drinking, and entertainment.
There are many things to do and see in Yokohama, and my favorite one is the Cup Noodles Museum. It’s a fascinating museum dedicated to instant noodles, Cup Noodles, and its founder, Momofuku Ando.
If you’re looking for delicious food, head to Bashamichi Avenue, which is known as Horse-drawn Carriage Street. It’s a wonderful stop for food lovers, with elegant coffee shops, patisseries, restaurants, and boutiques.
Also, visit Harbor View Park for spectacular night-time views of the waterfront, the gardens of Yamashita Park, and the Bay Bridge. Cruising Yokohama and enjoying a meal is also a great experience.
While you’re in Yokohama, you’ll want to stop at Chinatown. It’s the largest Chinatown in Japan, with a history dating back over 150 years. Peking duck, dumplings, and steam buns are some delicious dishes you should try.
With splendid scenery and temples, Nikko makes one of the most amazing day trips from Tokyo. Its gorgeous landmarks include a breathtaking waterfall and numerous shrines and temples.
There are plenty of things to see and do in Nikko. Here are my favorite ones:
After visiting the temples and shrines, head to Yonoko lake for hot springs. In addition to relaxing in natural baths, the area offers hiking trails, fishing, camping, skiing, bird-watching, and mountain-climbing activities.
How to get from Tokyo to Nikko
You can take a direct train from Tobu Asakusa Station to Nikko station. The journey takes one hour 48 minutes and costs ¥2,800.
I recommend buying your tickets in advance if you travel during summer, autumn and weekends.
If you visit Nikko on a day trip, note that the last return train is at 7:43 pm, and you need to change at Shimo-Imaichi, and arrives at Asakusa at 9:35 pm.
For JR Pass Holders, take the Tohoku–Honsen Line limited express from Ueno Station to Utsunomiya (1.5 hours) and transfer to the train for JR Nikko Station (45 minutes).
Accommodation: I love my stay at Nikko Akarinoyado Villa, a walkable distance from Nikko Toshogu and the main street. The villa also offers delicious breakfast and beautiful Japanese-style rooms. You can also check other places to stay in Nikko here.
Transport: Book your JR Rail Pass to enjoy ultimate JR train rides.
Disneyland and DisneySea
The joy and the magic that comes with a trip to Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea gives you something to hold on to forever. I love that Disney parks are for everyone, no matter the age.
Tokyo Disneyland has 7 main areas. Let’s explore each area together.
World Bazaar: Around Disney castle are many parades of cartoon characters. This is a great opportunity for you to interact and take photos with your favorite Disney characters.
Adventureland: The realm of adventure and thrill rides such as Pirates of the Caribbean, Western River Railroad, and Jungle Cruise: Wildlife Expeditions.
Westernland: an area with many wooden houses, restaurants, and cafes, and Native American statues.
Critter Country: Splash Mountain is the main attraction here.
Fantasyland: The dreamy, fairy-tale world of Cinderella Castle, featuring Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Peter Pan, and Pinocchio.
Toontown: There’re plenty of attractions here: Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin, Goofy’s Paint n’Play House, Chip n’ Dale’s Treehouse, Donald’s Boat, and Mickey’s House.
Tomorrowland: Full of creative fantasy and thrilling outer space adventures including Space Mountain, Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters, Monsters’ Inc. Ride & Go Seek!
Here are some interesting attractions and games that you can’t miss at DisneySea.