One of the best things about visiting Japan is that you have so many different choices when it comes to day trips from Tokyo. With many cities surrounding the city of Tokyo, you have things like modern, traditional, historic, and even cities with a fantastic scenic view all within your grasp.
And viewing all of these majestic places can easily be done in a 2 to 3 week Japan trip to ensure you get to spend a lot of time seeing and doing whatever you want.
But with so many choices for you to think about, where do you start? How do you choose?
I know there are some popular choices like Mount Fuji and such, but that isn’t all Japan is known for. In fact, there are plenty of other lesser-known cities that are equally as good in which many first time visitors have never heard about.
Which brings me to this post.
In this post, we’ll be discussing all the best day trips from Tokyo you can do while also venturing out and exploring the places many people haven’t heard about.
So if you are ready, lets get started!
Here are the 22 best day trips from Tokyo Japan you definitely need to go on.
- Best Day Trips From Tokyo Japan
- 30 Minute Day Trips From Tokyo
- 1 Hour Day Trips From Tokyo
- 1.5 Hour Day Trips From Tokyo
- 2 Hour Day Trips From Tokyo
- 2 Hour + Day Trips From Tokyo
- How To Travel Around For Day Trips In Tokyo
- Should You Visit Kyoto For A Day Trip?
Best Day Trips From Tokyo Japan
Here are our personal recommendations on the best day trips you can take from Tokyo, Japan.
This list will be separated by categories in order of time it takes to reach that destination.
A quick look at the places we are going to talk about are:
- 30 minutes Day Trips From Tokyo – Disneyland and DisneySea, Kawasaki, Yokohama
- 1 Hour Day Trips From Tokyo – Sanrio Puroland, Kamakura, Kawagoe, Mount Takao, Chiba City
- 1.5 Hour Day Trips From Tokyo – Odawara City, Ibaraki’s Ushiku Daibutsu, Enoshima, Nagano
- 2 Hour Day Trips From Tokyo – Takasaki, Atami, Nokogiriyama, Kusatsu Onsen Town, Okutama, Hakone, Nagatoro, Nikko
- 2 Hour + Day Trips From Tokyo – Matsumoto, Kawaguchiko
30 Minute Day Trips From Tokyo
Disneyland and DisneySea
One of the coolest things you can do in Tokyo is to take a day trip to Disneyland and Disneysea. It is a short train ride away that will bring you lots of fun and joy. Both Disneyland and Disneysea are theme parks where you can go on multiple rides, watch shows, and eat some tasty food. Although they are 2 separate parks, they each bring something special to the table. For instance, you can see many Disney characters and themes with a Japanese twist to things.
It is a fantastic place to feel like a kid again and enjoy the experiences with your friends and family.
Do note – If you are wanting to come to this theme park, try to buy your tickets ahead of time which will ensure you get in immediately and not wait in a long line.
Kawasaki is a simple yet fascinating town as it is not well known like other cities around Japan. It is a beautiful city with many scenic views and things to do. Some of the attractions you can do here includes visiting a massive Daishi Temple, check out the Doraemon Museum, and even the Japan Open-Air Folk House Museum.
Plus, one of the most famous events in Japan is here in Kawasaki, as they are known to hold the Kanamara “Penis” Festival each and every year. It is definitely a sight to see.
Yokohama is the second largest city in Japan with a population of over 3 million people. Because of this, you can definitely expect there to be all sorts of cool things for you to see and do.
For instance, some of the things you can see and do here includes visiting the two ramen museums (Cup Noodle and Shin-Yokohama), or you can visit one of the biggest Chinatowns Japan has to offer. Plus at night, you can see some beautiful night views of the city across Minato-Mirai.
Visiting this city, will definitely keep you busy for hours on end.
1 Hour Day Trips From Tokyo
This is something adorable that your kids will absolutely love.
Sanrio Puroland is basically the Sanrio version of Disneyland. Here you’ll find all the iconic characters like Hello Kitty, Gudetama, Pekkie and many others all roaming around this area.
Plus there are lots of things for you to do here at this amusement park. For instance, you can ride a train through My Melody’s World, play mini games in Gedetama Land, or even take a picture inside Lady Kitty’s House! The options are endless.
So if you are a fan of Sanrio or just have kids who like cute things, then this is definitely the place for you to visit.
Kamakura is an interesting place that is popular among many tourists who come. It is a city that is well known for its traditional style and rich history as it has a whole bunch of temples and shrines located all over the place. Not only that but you’ll also be able to find many hiking trails where you can hike around and see beautiful views of history. For example, there is even a hike that’ll take you to see a giant Buddha as well as some beautiful shrines and bamboo forests.
Kawagoe which is also nicknamed “Little Edo”, is a beautiful town that has been preserving history for a long time. It really does have an Edo like feel when you come here as you’ll be surrounded by many traditional buildings and amazing food.
For example, Kurazukuri Street is lined up with a bunch of preserved buildings characterized by clay walls and tiles. Many of these buildings have in fact been turned into cafes and restaurants for people to enjoy.
It is also a popular place where you’ll be able to see many people go out and wear kimono’s which match with the surrounding areas. And a cool thing about wearing kimonos is that a lot of the shops and restaurants will give out special discounts for wearing these traditional outfits.
Chiba City is one of the coolest places to visit for a day trip because it is jam packed full of many traditional and modern things.
The castle you see in the picture is a real castle that has since been turned into a folk museum for people to visit and learn about the city’s history. Another place that is awesome is the Chiba shrine which is an impressive sight on its own.
You can also enjoy many modern build things like museums, zoo’s, parks, and even the Chiba Port Tower which offers a 360 degree view of the city and its surroundings.
But for the most daring, you should visit the world’s longest suspended monorail which sounds insanely scary, but is actually really safe.
Overall, it is a great place to spend your day and learn about various cultures and history of the city.
If you love to hike, then one place you must visit is Takao. It is an amazing place where there are lots of different hiking trails and things to see and do. Once you start ascending the mountain, you’ll be able to see things like the Yakuoin Temple which is around the half way mark, or if you reach the top, you’ll be greeted with some beautiful panoramic views of Tokyo and Mt fuji.
This mountain is also home to a monkey park if you are interested in seeing some wild monkeys roam around.
1.5 Hour Day Trips From Tokyo
If you like visiting castles, then one castle you’ll want to visit is the one in Odawara. It is a beautifully restored castle which contains many information about the history and culture of the area. Plus, once you are done visiting the castle, you can head to the local Odawara Fish Market Den and grab a bite to eat.
Aside from that, Odawara is a pretty peaceful place that is perfect for relaxation.
Ibaraki’s Ushiku Daibutsu
This might be a weird place for a day trip but in my opinion, it is one of the most interesting places to see.
Here in the outskirts of nowhere in the nearby prefecture of Ibaraki, you’ll find what is the second largest Buddha in the world. The buddha isn’t just for show either as you can go inside it and do mamny things.
For instance, you can venture inside and do some calligraphy, see over 3000 golden Buddhas, or even enjoy some views from the top at the observation deck.
It is a perfect place to relax and have fun with the scenery around you as aside from the Buddha, there is only nature surrounding you.
If you are tired of all the city life, then why not head to the most popular beach resort in all of Tokyo. Enoshima offers plenty of things to do as it is an island filled with all sorts of cool things.
You can get to the island either by walking from the station or by boat. Once you are here, you can enjoy the beautiful sands, play in the water, or even roam around and look at things like caves and sea views which will take up most of your time of the day.
A popular winter destination is a place called Nagano. It is the perfect place for you to visit if you love nature.
Here you’ll be able to find Japan’s 30 highest peaks (excluding Mt Fuji), which makes it a perfect place to do many snow activities. But despite it being a cold and snowy place, during the other seasons, it actually transforms into a beautiful place with colorful leaves and nice scenery.
Nagano is also mostly known for the Zenko-ji which is one of Japan’s most important temples. It dates back to the 7th century having survived countless earthquakes, natural disasters, and is believed to house the first ever Buddhist statue that was bought to Japan.
Plus, you can also spot snow monkeys which can be found all year round!
2 Hour Day Trips From Tokyo
Takasaki is a pretty neat little area in Gunma that is not really mentioned among travelers. However that is a shame because this city has quite a few things to offer.
For instance, this city is home to the Daruma, which you probably have seen are the red angry faced figures located all around Japan. These figures are suppose to bring good luck towards accomplishing ones goals. And a vast majority of the figures are made here right in this city. Not only that, but there is also the Takasaki Daruma Ichi which is a market full of Daruma that is held in January.
Or if you are tired of Darumas, you can try visiting the Jiganin Temple complex which is located right next to one of the biggest Kannon statues in Japan. The statue stands at about 40 meters tall and allows you to climb up and enjoy some views from the very top.
Atami is a beautiful seaside city on Japan’se Izu Peninsula. The area is located on a set of volcanic hills which makes it a prominent place for many natural hot spring spots.
Although in recent years, it has been declining in popularity. But it still is a great place to visit especially if you want to have some fun.
This place has some interesting things like a fake castle that houses some real castles, trick art museum, and even has a gondola that goes up to a sex museum, and more much. It is a fascinating place where you can have some fun and relax at the same time.
Mount Nokogiri which is also known as Sawtooth Mountain, is an amazing mountain filled with adventure and scenery. It has many hikes that offer stunning views as well as venturing around several Buddhas in the area.
While climbing this mountain, you’ll be able to see things like the largest cliff-carved Buddha and also a 30 meter Goddess of Mercy with 1500 Arbat in between. You’ll also notice next to the Goddess of Mercy that there is a really famous “View To Hell” area which might scare off some people.
If you manage to get to the top, you can even find the Nijonji Temple complex which also offers plenty of things to see and do.
This mountain is an amazing place that will always have things to keep you busy.
Kusatsu Onsen is a popular hot spring resort located in the Gunma Prefecture. Many tourists from all over love coming here for its beautiful and amazing hot springs.
This resort draws their water from Mount Kusatsu-Shirane, and have employed creative ways to help cool it down as it normally would be too hot to bathe in.
Do know that because the water has a very high level of sulphor, you’ll most likely be getting some strong scents of boiled eggs smell.
Okutama is a wonderful place that is filled with mountains, rivers, waterfalls and many other natural wonders. It is the perfect place to unwind and relax while being one with nature.
Go on some hikes and see the scenery, have a picnic by the river, or even do some water sports. There is even a cave called the Nippara Cave which is the longest in the Kanto Region which is amazing to explore.
It is a really neat place that I think anybody who loves nature would love.
One of the most popular day trips you can do from Tokyo is to head to Hakone. It is a wonderful place that is filled with hot springs, mountains, teahouses, and beautiful scenery.
Some of the things you can do includes riding a gondola to volcanic alleys, going on pirate ships to travel around a lake, or even relaxing in a hot onsen. There is even a red torii gate located here as well so you don’t have to travel far to Kyoto to see it.
If you want to do something more modern and learn about things, you’ll also be happy to know that there are quite a bit of museums located in the area for you to roam around in.
Nagatoro is a beautiful town located in the Saitama Prefecture. It is famous for its Nagatoro River where you can do many water activities like swimming, fishing or even white-water rafting. Or if you want a much safer route, you can enjoy a river boat tour through the river as well.
This town also has the Hodosan Shrine which is a popular place for people to visit.
Although it is a bit farther than the rest listed in this section, Nikko provides a very exceptional day trip that is fun and exciting. It is famed for its beautiful scenery and numerous amounts of temples and shrines.
One shrine in particular which is the most famous in the city is the Toshogu Shrine, dedicated to the founding rule of the Tokugawa Shoganate. It is a Shinto shrine where many people come and visit.
2 Hour + Day Trips From Tokyo
When most people think of day trips from Tokyo, most of the time they’ll think about going to the cities that are close to them. Not many would venture far away just to see something cool and special.
Matsumoto is often overlooked because of how long it usually takes to get here which is about 2 hours and 30 minutes give or take. But you should reconsider as it is a very good place to spend your day away from the city.
The most famous thing at this location is a castle called Matsumoto Castle which is one of the four castles that is listed as a National Treasure of Japan. Below it is also a structure that is Japan’s oldest wooden castle. And inside the castle is a collection of artifacts and antique weapons that has been collected throughout the years from the 16th century.
Definitely a sight to see.
This might be expected since Mount fuji is one of the most famous natural landscapes in Japan. It is also the tallest mount in Japan or Volcano if you want to think of it like that in the entire country.
This mountain is surrounded by five beautiful lakes which is a must see thing to do.
And since you are here, I would suggest you also visit the Oshino Ninja Village. It is a great place to learn about the history and cultures of ninjas. Heck, you can even take a picture with one as well.
How To Travel Around For Day Trips In Tokyo
Because there are so many places to visit in Tokyo, one of the most common questions you’ll see is if you should buy a Japan Rail Pass.
For those that don’t know, a Japan Rail Pass or JR Pass for short is a pass that allows you to ride the Japan rail trains as many times as you want for the duration of the pass.
But is this pass necessary?
To be honest, it really depends.
If you are just going to be traveling around Tokyo and the inner areas, you do not need to actually buy the JR Pass. The reason for this is because there are multiple other methods for you to travel around.
From subways to taxis or even buses, it just makes more sense to save your money and use these transportation methods.
However, if you plan on visiting other cities in Japan, then the JR Pass is a must have item for your travels. But you’ll still have to calculate and consider the cost of things. See if it actually makes sense money wise to buy the JR pass or if you should use regular transportation methods to travel around.
Should You Visit Kyoto For A Day Trip?
In all honesty, if you really wanted to, you could totally do a day trip from Tokyo to Kyoto. However I would not recommend this.
It takes about 5 to 6 hours to travel to Kyoto which is going to take up most of your day, especially if you go for a round trip. Which means you won’t really have time to see and do much when you get there.
Which is a shame, because Kyoto is much more than Fushimi Inari (red gates). In fact, there are so many cool things to do there like going up Kyoto Tower, visiting the temples of Kiyomizu-dera, Kinkakuji and Eikando Zenrinji, seeing monkeys, stroll through Nishiki Market and much more.
You simply can’t do everything you wanted in a short amount of time.
Which is why I really do not recommend doing a day trip to Kyoto.
If you really want to go to Kyoto, I would suggest to take your time and actually spend a few days there to actually take in everything it has to offer.
As you can see, there are many interesting and unique places you can actually visit for a day trip from Tokyo.
Many of which are actually pretty close to Tokyo and will take you about an hour or two to get there.
So hopefully this list was able to help provide you some ideas and suggestions as to where to visit if you ever decide to take a day trip from Tokyo.
Also, if you are planning to visit Japan anytime soon, you might be interested in some of my other Japan posts.
- The Ultimate Guide To Renting The Best Pocket WiFi In Japan
- How Much Does It Cost To Visit Japan?
- Where To Stay In Tokyo
- Souvenirs From Japan You Must Buy Before Leaving
Or you can check out my complete list of things to do in Japan by clicking here.
Let me know how your trip goes!