12 Best Tokyo Day Trips and How to Get There via Public Transport

12 Best Day Trips From Tokyo & How to Get There

Let yourself be spirited away beyond the city limits.

Tokyo is the beating heart of Japan; an illustrious and cultured urban sprawl that draws in both first-time visitors and seasoned travellers alike. From the bustle of Akihabara to the iconic streets of Shibuya, there is an almost endless amount of things to see and do.

Looking outside the borders of this magnificent city can be a challenge in its own right. But if you succeed, you’ll discover that Japan has a lot more experiences to offer beyond the lights of its capital city. Check out these incredible Tokyo day trips that you can enjoy. Don’t worry, we’ll tell you how to get there, too!

Also read: 10 Affordable Airbnbs in Tokyo for Budget Travellers

Day trips from Tokyo that you have to experience

1. Hakone, Kanagawa Prefecture

day trips from tokyo

Boat pier along Ashinoko | Image credit: thanyarat07 via Canva Pro

Renowned for its hot springs, Hakone deserves a top spot on your list of Tokyo day trips. In fact, the popularity of Hakone as a hot spring town goes back all the way to Japan’s Edo era (1603 to 1886). For those of you looking for an incredible onsen experience, it really doesn’t get more authentic than this.

Hakone is also a must-visit for hiking enthusiasts. Its mountainous, volcanic terrain holds many hiking trails and each one comes with a story. Make your way up Mount Kintoki, which is the setting for one of Japan’s most famous folk tales: The Legend of Kintaro. From here, you’ll also be able to enjoy excellent views of Mount Fuji

tokyo day trips

Lakefront torii gate along Ashinoko | Image credit: BGStock72 via Canva Pro

Besides that, you can enjoy more of Hakone’s natural beauty by visiting Lake Ashi (Ashinoko). This volcanic lake is gorgeous to behold, especially on autumn days when the surrounding trees turn a fiery red and yellow. There’s a sightseeing boat pier on the banks of the lake that’s perfect for taking pictures.

Along the shores of Lake Ashi, you’ll be able to spot the torii gate that leads to Hakone Shrine, which sits at the foot of Mount Hakone, shrouded in mist and flanked by tall trees that stretch up into the skies.

How to get there: Take the train from Shinjuku, Tokyo. The trip will take approximately 90 minutes. Purchase the Hakone Freepass, which offers unlimited rides on the Hakone Tozan Railway and round-trip tickets from Shinjuku, Tokyo.

2. Kawagoe, Saitama Prefecture

best day trips from tokyo

Kurazukuri Street, Kawagoe | Image credit: GI5702993 via Canva Pro

Fun fact: Kawagoe is also known as Koedo ( Little Edo), and there’s a good reason for that! This quaint little castle town has an almost perfectly preserved atmosphere from the Edo period that shines through its well-kept buildings and monuments. You’ll be able to find most of these along Kurazukuri Street. Look out for the Toki no Kane Bell Tower, built by the former feudal lord of the Kawagoe domain in the 1600s. It stands today as an unmistakable symbol of Koedo, and the bell is rung four times a day.

Be sure to also check out the Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine, which is over 1,500 years old. The shrine is considered especially important for fulfilling wishes regarding love. There are plenty of locations at the shrine that make for pretty pictures on the ’Gram, so it’s worth it to visit while wearing a kimono or yukata. Kawagoe is certainly an amazing destination for a one-day trip from Tokyo, but there’s more to come.

How to get there: Take a 30-minute train ride from Ikebukuro Station, Tokyo on the Tobu Tojo line. Alternatively, take a train from Shinjuku, Tokyo on the Seibu Shinjuku line. You can either get down at the Kawagoe, or Hon-Kawagoe stations respectively.

Also read: 10 Must-See Temples and Shrines in Japan

3. Enoshima, Kanagawa Prefecture

day trips from tokyo

Image credit: Ye Lin Wai

As you’re building that list of day trips from Tokyo, consider a visit to the wonderful Enoshima. This hilly island lies off the Shonan coast in Kanagawa. It’s one of the most popular islands around Tokyo and is actually connected to the mainland via a bridge that’s open to vehicles and pedestrians alike.

Explore the island to your heart’s content, because there’s plenty to discover. Iwaya Caves offers a gorgeous view of the ocean, and as you explore the caverns around you, be sure to stop and check out the on-site shrine. After that, feast your eyes on different marine life forms at the Enoshima Aquarium.

tokyo day trips

Iwaya Caves | Image credit: Daderot

Of course, no trip to Enoshima would ever be complete without seeing the Enoshima Sea Candle. It’s a lighthouse observation tower that offers fantastic views of the ocean, Mount Fuji, and the Miura Peninsula. A ticket to access the viewing deck costs approximately ¥300 for adults and ¥150 for children.

How to get there: Take a train from Shinjuku, Tokyo to Katase-Enoshima Station on the Odakyu line. It’s an 80-minute ride, one way. A round-trip ticket is included when you purchase the Enoshima-Kamakura Freepass. From Katase-Enoshima Station, there’s a 12-minute walk to Enoshima Island.

4. Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture

best day trips from tokyo

Toshogu Shrine, Nikko | Image credit: Leonid Andronov via Canva Pro

Japan has no shortage of hiking meccas, and Nikko is one of them. Filled with mountains, trails, and monkeys, this is one of the best day trips from Tokyo (in autumn, especially) that you’ll ever discover. The highlight of any visit to Nikko is the immense Toshogu Shrine, famous for its intricately carved decorations of wood and gold.

tokyo day trips

Shinkyo Bridge | Image credit: Atibordee Kongprepan

Beyond Toshogu, the forested hiking trails of Nikko are a beautiful sight to behold, even more so during fall. You can also visit the sacred Shinkyo Bridge, or check out the Kirifuri Waterfall that tumbles majestically down the mountains from a height of 75 metres.

How to get there: For direct access, take the limited express Nikko train from Shinjuku, Tokyo. Alternatively, take the Limited Express Spacia on the Kegon Line from Asakusa (Tobu Asakusa Station) to the Tobu Nikko Station.

5. Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture

Great Buddha of Kamakura | Image credit: Leung Cho Pan via Canva Pro

Kamakura contains an abundance of temples, monuments, and shrines, so much so that visiting it feels like taking a trip to Kyoto. If you’re eager to immerse yourself in a little bit of Japan’s vast historical and cultural tapestry, Kamakura should definitely be on your list of Tokyo day trips.

It served as Japan’s political capital during the Kamakura shogunate from 1185 to 1333, and a primary attraction here is the Great Buddha of Kamakura. Also known as Kamakura Daibutsu, this massive bronze statue is the second-tallest Buddha statue in all of Japan, standing at 13.52 metres in height. The Great Buddha itself was cast in the year 1252 and has stood the test of time, gently watching over Kamakura visitors to this day.

You can also visit the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, which is Kamakura’s largest Shinto shrine. There won’t be any trouble finding the shrine, because you’ll find an array of torii gates leading from the Kamakura waterfront, through the city centre, and into Tsurugaoka Hachimangu. The temple grounds are beautiful, filled with various smaller shrines, gardens, and ponds.

How to get there: Take the JR Yokosuka or Shonan-Shinjuku line from Shinjuku Station, Tokyo. This trip will take under an hour.

6. Lake Kawaguchi, Yamanashi Prefecture

Image credit: Phattana via Canva Pro

Hankering for that perfect shot of Mount Fuji to cap off your visit to Japan? Then you’ll want to take this Mt. Fuji day trip from Tokyo. Lake Kawaguchi (or Kawaguchiko) is one of the Fuji Five Lakes, notable for being one of the best places for visitors to get Instagramable pictures of the legendary mountain. 

Surrounding this lake is Fujikawaguchiko, an onsen resort town that’s filled with plenty of bathhouses for the weary traveller. Other attractions include the Kawaguchiko Museum of Art and the Fujiyama Museum. You also also visit one of Japan’s most popular theme parks here —  Fuji-Q Highland.

How to get there: You can take an express bus to Lake Kawaguchiko from the Shinjuku, Shibuya, and Tokyo stations. Alternatively, you can take an express train from Shinjuku Station. Take the JR Chuo line to Otsuki Station, transfer to the Fujikyu Railway and disembark at Kawaguchiko Station. The bus ride takes up to two and a half hours, while the train ride takes approximately two hours.

Also read: 12 Traditional Airbnbs in Japan for a Unique Travel Experience

7. Chiba City, Chiba Prefecture

tokyo day trips

Image credit: Moarave via Canva Pro

Chiba’s a big city with plenty to offer and is definitely worthy of inclusion on your list of Tokyo day trips. The Chiba City Museum of Art is a great place for art lovers to take in ukiyo-e artworks and traditional Japanese ink paintings. 

If you’re travelling with children, take them to the Chiba Zoological Park to see a whole host of different animals from kangaroos to red pandas. Looking to learn a little more about the history of this city? Then visit the Chiba City Folk Museum, which is housed in a replica of Inohana Castle.

How to get there: Take the train on the JR Sobu Line from Tokyo Station. You will reach Chiba City in 40 minutes.

8. Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture

best day trips from tokyo

Hitsujiyama Park | Image credit: Shawn.ccf via Canva Pro

Chichibu is a gorgeous getaway that showcases Japan’s natural beauty in a way you won’t soon forget. When it comes to taking day trips from Tokyo in autumn, this destination is one you shouldn’t miss. This is because of the fiery Nakatsu Valley. During the autumn season, gaze down into the valley and you’ll be greeted by a vast vista filled with red and yellow leaves, framed by majestic cliffs and hazy mountains.

Other than that, Chichibu is also home to Hitsujiyama Park, which has one of the largest fields of shibazakura flowers in all of Japan. Visit at the very end of spring to see the blooming flowers turn the ground into a stunning pink and white petaled landscape. 

You can also climb aboard the Paleo Express for a slower, more romantic tour of Chichibu. This old steam locomotive winds its way through the mountain valleys and stops in five different locations within Chichibu.

How to get there: Take the Seibu Chichibu train line from Ikebukuro Station, Tokyo. Alternatively, you can take a Shinkansen to Kumagaya from Tokyo Station. Once at Kumagaya, transfer to the Chichibu Railway for Chichibu. Do note that the Chichibu Railway leg of the trip is not covered by the Japan Rail Pass.

Also read: 12 Flower Fields and Parks in Japan to Spot Springtime Flowers

9. Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture

tokyo day trips

Image credit: SeanPavonePhoto via Canva Pro

Yokohama is a great place to add to your list of Tokyo day trips if you’re not looking to spend too much time on a train. This city is known for its beautiful oceanside views and gobsmackingly delicious Chinese food at Motomachi Chukagai — aka Yokohama’s Chinatown. Prepare your tummy for all-you-can-eat restaurants and delicious street food options including xiao long bao, char siu bao, mapo tofu, and much more.

Walk off your big meal at the nearby Yamashita Park, which offers great views of the Port of Yokohama. Besides that, feel free to shop to your heart’s content at the Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse, or enjoy a sunset vista from the top of the Cosmo Clock 21 Ferris Wheel. At one point, this was once the tallest Ferris wheel in the world, standing at a height of 107 metres.

How to get there: Purchase a Japan Rail Pass and take the Tokaido Shinkansen bullet train from Tokyo Station. Alternatively, board the JR Keihin Tohoku Line, JR Tokaido Line, or the JR Yokosuka Line.

10. Karuizawa, Nagano Prefecture

best day trips from tokyo

Image credit: Umarin Nakamura via Canva Pro

Luxurious Karuizawa sits nestled amidst the mountains in Nagano Prefecture, and makes for another great addition to your list of Tokyo day trips. This is a town that’s worth visiting at any season; enjoy tons of activities from golf and cycling in the summer months, to skiing and ice skating in the winter. 

Consider visiting the Shaw Memorial Church, the oldest church in Karuizawa that was built in 1895. Kumobaike Pond is another beautiful spot to visit, especially if you’re looking to check out some autumn foliage. If you’re an art enthusiast, head over to the Museum of Contemporary Art Karuizawa, which specialises in exhibitions showcasing world-renowned Japanese artists.

Harunire Terrace | Image credit: Karuizawa Tourist Association Official Website

Finally, get some shopping done at the Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plaza, which is actually Japan’s largest outlet mall. Its design evokes the feel of a resort, featuring a massive expanse of green lawn and a small lake. If you’re not looking to shop until you drop, visit the Tombo-no-yu open-air bath house for some rest and relaxation. You can also try out some locally brewed Yona Yona ale at Harunire Terrace, a space filled with cosy cafes and local shops designed to help people immerse themselves in the laid-back Karuizawa lifestyle.

How to get there: Take the Hokuriku Shinkansen from Tokyo. The journey will take approximately an hour. Alternatively, there are highway buses that depart from the Shinjuku and Ikebukuro stations, but this will take three hours.

11. Misaki Port Town and Jogashima, Kanagawa Prefecture

Misaki fishing port | Image credit: MK2014 via Canva Pro

Looking to wander off the beaten path? There are some unusual day trips from Tokyo that are simply more unique than others. On the Miura Coast of Kanagawa, there is a small fishing town called Misaki. It’s also known as Japan’s “Tuna Town.” Misaki has its own fish market where retailers engage in serious bidding wars for the best tuna catches of the day. This is arguably one of the best places in Japan to try out all the maguro (tuna) that you can eat.

Umanose Cave Mouth, Jogashima | Image credit: o_shimo via Canva Pro

From Miura, you can get to Jogashima via a bus or a ferry. The island is a picturesque haven, seemingly untouched by human presence. There’s also a well-defined hiking trail that lets you explore the entirety of Jogashima. While the island is mostly rocky, there are some swimming spots scattered throughout, if you feel like taking a quick dip. Another popular site on the island is the Umanose Cave Mouth: a natural stone arch formed by countless years of erosion by the sea.

How to get there: Take the train on the Keikyu Main or Kurihama line from Shinagawa Station in Tokyo. Disembark at the Misakiguchi Station and transfer to a bus bound for Misakiko. The train ride takes approximately 90 minutes, and the bus ride an additional 15 minutes.

12. Katsunuma, Yamanashi Prefecture

tokyo day trips

Image credit: ssiltane via Canva Pro

Welcome to Japan’s wine country. Although the Land of the Rising Sun is renowned for its sake, the Yamanashi Prefecture is the birthplace of Japanese winemaking, and has been producing wine for over 150 years. Katsunuma is a town that’s home to 31 different wineries, many of which offer tasting sessions and lessons in winemaking.

Budo no Oka | Image credit: funk bass

Try visiting Budo no Oka, a winery where you can enjoy the incredible views of the surrounding vineyards and taste over 200 varieties of delicious Japanese wine. Besides that, you can also check out the Chateau Mercian, which is one of the oldest wineries in Japan.

How to get there: Take the Kaiji train from Shinjuku Station, Tokyo to Katsunuma Budokyo Station. The journey takes approximately 90 minutes. Alternatively, you can take the JR Chuo line Limited Express Azusa.

Also read: 10 Small Towns & Villages in Japan Worth Visiting

As you can see, there are plenty of adventures lying in wait just outside Japan’s capital city. The next time you’re planning a trip there, spice up your itinerary with any one of these exciting Tokyo day trips.

About Author

Jeremiah Patrick
Jeremiah Patrick

A journeyman wordsmith wandering the creative lexicon, looking to craft a masterpiece. The only thing on par with Jerry’s love for a good story is the time he spends playing dauntingly difficult video games, reading works of fiction, and listening to horror podcasts. His mood shifts between dark brooding and cheery quips, depending on how much caffeine swirls in his system.