Tokyo itself is a city that has a lot to offer, but it is also excellently located close to many beautiful places, making day trips possible. This is good to know for people who are visiting the capital and want to see other parts of Japan without the downside of having to spend the night somewhere else. We made a list of the top 5 day trips you can make from Tokyo that guarantee you will fall in love with Japan even more!
Mount Takao is one of the closest areas to Tokyo where people can enjoy nature. A very popular weekend destination, the 599 meters mountain is accessible by chairlift or funicular, which take visitors halfway to the summit, or by one of the six hiking trails.
The easiest trail is number 1, a paved path which goes along all the main attractions. But being the most accessible trail, it is also the busiest one. It can get packed with visitors even on weekdays, especially during spring and autumn when people come to enjoy the foliage. The other five trails are wilder, steeper and much less crowded.
Besides relaxing in the middle of nature, tourists can admire Tokyo from an observation deck, visit a monkey park or pray at Yakuoin, an interesting Buddhist temple. On clear days Mount Fuji can also be seen from the summit.
Kamakura is a city north of Tokyo famous for its ancient Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines. Its most well known landmark is The Great Buddha of Kamakura, a 13 meter Buddha statue that is more than 700 years old. Many temples are connected by wooded hiking trails, a good way to visit Kamakura by avoiding noisy roads.
Many people also love Kamakura for its many sand beaches, very popular during summer for sunbathing, swimming and surfing. Beach shops are open during the hot months, providing food, drinks and other items. There are also changing rooms and showers scattered along the shore.
Another attraction in Kamaura is Enoshima, a small island connected to the mainland by a bridge. The island consists of a small harbor, a forested hill and an impressive rocky coast. The hill can be climbed on foot or using a few paid escalators. The island also has temple, an observatory, a park and a few caves. Mount Fuji can be seen from the rocky coast and from the observatory when the weather allows it.
Nikko National Park
Nikko National Park is an area rich in natural beauty. The region is well known for its astonishing autumn colors. The park has a bit of everything: mountains, lakes, waterfalls, hot springs and marshlands.
Among everything that Nikko has to offer, the most suitable destination for a day trip is Chuzenjiko Onsen, a small hot spring town surrounded by scenic landscapes. The town stands next to Mount Nantai and Chuzenji Lake, two sightseeing spots with breathtaking scenery. Kegon Waterfall is also nearby, an 100 meter tall impressing waterfall.
The surroundings can be enjoyed on foot by hiking around the 25 kilometer long road around Lake Chuzenji or from sightseeing ferries on the lake
Lake Kawaguchi is the most interesting and accessible among Mount Fuji’s Five Lakes, a succession of lakes that were formed during the volcano’s last eruption. The northern shore of the lake offers the best views of Mount Fuji, especially from the “Koyo Tunnel”, a spot full of maple trees that is very popular during the autumn months.
The area can also be enjoyed from the nearby Mount Tenjo, an 1104 meter mountain accessible by hiking trails or by ropeway.
Hakone, part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, is a small town surrounded by mountains known for its hot springs and beautiful views of Mount Fuji.
Lake Ashinoko is considered the main sightseeing spot in the area, a scenic lake formed in the caldera of Mount Hakone after its last eruption. The lake is considered scared and has a Shinto shrine on its shore. Many boats take visitors around Ashinoko, offering nice views of the water combined with Mount Fuji. There are also several trails in the forests next to the lake with different difficulty levels.
All these places are 2 hours or less by train/bus from Tokyo. They are the perfect destinations for short trips and you will not have to spend too much either. Leave the capital for a day and spend some time exploring and relaxing in the middle of nature!