Tokyo is one of the most frenetic, lively and exciting cities on the planet. Home to over 9 million people it is also one of the most populated.
An ever active city, there is plenty to see and do during a visit to Tokyo. Modern and business minded, there are historical pockets in Tokyo that should not be missed.
Senso-ji is a beautiful historical temple dedicated to the Goddess of Mercy. The Tokyo Imperial Palace and the Meiji Shrine are also fascinating places to explore.
Japan is a very well connected country, the area surrounding the capital city has a wealth to cultural and historical gems to explore. Let’s take a look at the best day trips from Tokyo.
1. Mt Fuji
Mt Fuji is the most iconic natural landscape in Japan and is in fact the highest mountain, or rather volcano, in the country.
Surrounded by five magical lakes, Mt Fuji’s splendour must be seen to be believed.
Throughout a day trip from Tokyo you can take in the breathtaking vistas of rural Japan.
It is possible to incorporate a visit to Oshino Ninja Village and proves to be a fun addition to the day.
You can learn further about Japanese culture and even have your photo taken with a ninja.
The Japanese garden at the Ninja Village is pretty incredible too.
The mountain city of Nikko is one of the most picturesque destinations in all of Japan.
A day trip to Nikko is filled with temples, imperial villas and shines galore.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site this incredible city is worthy of all preservation efforts.
The mountain landscape of Nikko city is truly beautiful.
Throughout the day you can stop by the Toshogu Shrine and marvel at the intricate craftsmanship of its architecture.
Over 2.5 million sheets of gold leaf were used to adorn the interior.
The Tamozawa Imperial Villa should not be missed, built in 1899 the villa incorporates element of Meiji, Taisho and Edo architecture.
Remember to charge your camera before you leave Tokyo.
3. Disneyland and DisneySea
For those of you who thought that Disneyland only existed in Los Angeles and Paris then think again.
Japan has its very own Disneyland theme park and DisneySea park next door.
A day trip to Disneyland sees you enjoy the full Disney experience.
Meeting and mingling with all your favourite characters, rides aplenty and a full sized Cinderella Castle too.
DisneySea features a huge lake in its centre and there are water rides and sea themed attractions to keep you and a your family laughing and making memories for hours on end.
Hakone is one of Japan’s best loved hot springs resorts.
Located in the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, Hakone is the gateway to Mt Fuji.
Before you strip of and jump in the hot pools take the opportunity to visit the Hakone Shine and accompanying museum that can be found next to Lake Ashi.
On that note, taking a stroll along the shores of Lake Ashi offers breathtaking views of the mountains in the distance.
It should be noted that this particular area of Japan is best experienced in autumn when the leaves are on the turn.
The last stop off before the hot springs should be the Hakone Open Air Museum that features dozens of quirky and thought provoking sculptures.
5. Tokyo Skytree & Tokyo Bay
Although the Skytree is firmly in the heart of Tokyo, teaming a visit to the Skytree with a cruise on Tokyo Bay is a wonderful day trip that sees you leave the city limits horizontally and vertically.
From the top of Tokyo Skytree, the largest broadcasting tower in the city, you can see Mt Fuji if the weather is particularly clear.
An opportunity not to be missed.
The Solamachi Mall neighbouring the Skytree is the best place to stock up on souvenirs and mementos.
Once you’ve left the city sky-ways it’s time to head out onto the waterways and soak up Tokyo’s specular cityscape from the luxury comfort of a cruise boat in the bay.
Yokohama is a city steeped in maritime history for it was one of the first ports in Japan to be utilised for international trade back in 1859. With a large Chinatown area Yokohama is a melting pot of Asian cultures.
There are hundreds upon hundreds of Chinese restaurants to explore; Yokohama is a great city from which to compare and contrast Chinese and Japanese culture.
The Yokohama Marine Tower is one of the most recognisable landmarks in the city and features an observation deck from which you can look down on the city or out over Tokyo Bay that feeds into the East China Sea.
Enoshima is a small island connected to the mainland Shonan district by the 600m long Enoshima Bridge.
There is a whole lot to explore on this compact island but the highlight is surely the grand Enoshima Shrine complex.
These hallowed grounds are dedicated to the goddess of good fortune, of music wealth and poetry; the Goddess Benzaiten.
The island has its own aquarium but with caves and temples to explore perhaps a day connecting with ancient history and culture is more worthwhile.
It is the Iwaya Caves that are most popularly visited and feature tidal pools to add to the uniqueness of the site.
Kamakura lies just half an hour away from Tokyo city centre and is one of the easiest day trips to coordinate.
Undoubtedly the highlight of Kamakura is the giant Great Buddha of Kotokuin statue.
An incredibly scared site, you need not have a faith to appreciate the impressiveness of the Great Buddha statue.
Japan is perfect for temple hopping and during a day trip to Kamakura you can tick off three more beautiful temples each very different but no less beguiling.
The Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, the Engakuji Temple and the Hasedera Temple can all be visited before Tokyo lures you back again.
The Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine is the most important Shinto Shrine in all of Kamakura.
The city of Kawagoe can be found northwest of Tokyo and lies in the Saitama Prefecture.
The main attraction of Kawagoe is the Edo-Period architecture and the Kawagoe Castle Honmaru Residence.
Widely known for old clay warehouses and the homes of hard working merchants known as Kurazukuri, Kawagoe offers great insight into the Edo-era of Japan.
The sweet shops of Kawagoe are not to be missed.
There is a whole street dedicated to the traditional stores known as Candy Alley; heaven for the sweet-toothed traveller.
For those interested in Buddhism then the Kita-in is a must-visit, not only featuring the ruins of an Edo Castle but is also home to over 500 stone statues of Lord Buddha and his disciples.
If you love pink then you’ll love Chichibu.
In all honesty even if pink is your least favourite colour you’ll still be charmed by the pink hues of Chichibu.
The start and end point for the Chichibu Kannon Pilgrimage route, Chichibu is surrounded by rugged mountains that hide within them 34 sacred temples.
In the city of Chichibu itself you’ll find the Kinshoji Temple, which just so happens to be the 4th stop along the pilgrimage route.
Here you’ll be able to observe hundreds of Buddha statues, each a little different from the last.
The Hitsujiyama Park is one of the most impressive parklands in all of Asia.
Best known for it’s spring flower display there are bountiful blossoms and blooms throughout the year.
11. Kusatsu Onsen
Tucked away in Gunma Prefecture is Kusatsu Onsen one of the most popular hot spring resorts in the region, and high on the list of favourite hotspots for locals too.
Kusatsu Onsen makes for a wonderful day trip from Tokyo but you may come away wishing you had more time to relax and unwind.
If you can afford to spend a night or two here you wouldn’t regret it.
During your visit you must observe the Yumomi performance.
During the show women stir the hot spring waters with large wooden paddles to help cool down the steaming pools, singing folk songs all the while.
12. Atami City
Atami City is a charming seaside city that falls on the Izu Peninsula.
Nestled in the volcanic foothills of Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, Atami City offers views of the great Mt Fuji, a great number of hot springs and a wealth of city culture to explore.
The MOA Museum of Art is home to a vast collection of East Asian art that traces back through the centuries, the museum itself also gave pretty impressive coastal views.
The Atami Castle is the highlight of a visit to the city.
In the spring months Atami Castle is one of the best viewing spots for the Sakura cherry blossoms in all of the prefecture.
With the coast privating a stark yet beautiful colour contrast below.
13. Chiba Castle
We’ll tell you now, Chiba Castle is technically not a castle but it would easily fool you.
Chiba Castle is, in fact, a folk museum set in a modern building with the facade of a historical Japanese castle.
The museum features exhibits that impart knowledge and insights into the history and development of Chiba city.
Chiba Castle, and the city as a whole, is a particularly beautiful place to visit during the Hanami festival, also known as the cherry blossom festival.
Art lovers should make time to add the Hoki Museum to their day trip from Tokyo itinerary.
This art museum focuses on realism and is very interesting indeed.
Kawasaki is best known for its production of motorbikes but the city is certainly a destination in its own right with a lot to explore.
Adrenaline junkies will no doubt make a beeline for Yomiuriland.
More adult orientated than Tokyo’s Disneyland, Yomiuriland has dozens of rollercoasters, scream-inducing rides and bungee jumping too.
For the culture vultures will be keen to hear more about the Kawasaki Daishi, a Buddhist temple founded hundreds of years ago in 1128 CE. Kawasaki Daish is the headquarters for the Chizan sect of Shingon Buddhism.
Japan provides a wealth of opportunities for travellers to expand their knowledge of Buddhism as a way of life.
Odawara is the neighbouring city to Hakone and in a day trip from Tokyo the two cities can be covered with ease, if a little quickly.
Odawara Castle is a multi-storey castle built in classic Japanese style.
Once destroyed by the Meiji government, Odawara Castle will now be protected forever more.
A small, understated castle, on the inside you’ll find a wonderful assortment of artefacts and exhibitions.
Odawara is another city that provides a gateway to Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park.
During February and March visitors can enjoy the Odawara Plum Festival that features horseback archery and local folk dance.