The Top 10 Day Trip Destinations Within 2 Hours of Tokyo
Tokyo is filled with plenty of unmissable sightseeing locations. But did you know that rich natural landscapes and buildings brimming with atmosphere can be found by riding the train just 1 to 2 hours away from the city? Here are 10 popular day trip destinations for scenery and experiences unlike any you'll get in Tokyo.
Jul 29 2020 (Sep 09 2020)
1. Kamakura (Kanagawa Prefecture)
Kamakura is very easy to access from the city center and is located just an hour from Tokyo, making it a popular location for a casual visit. The town is overflowing with nature, being surrounded by mountains and the sea, and is home to beautiful flowers and scenery that change with each of the four seasons.
Kamakura was one of the former capitals of Japan in ancient times, and more than 100 Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples remain today. Some places not to be missed are Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, known as a power spot where people wish for luck and good fortune in business, and Hokokuji Temple, famous for the magical bamboo grove inside its grounds. In addition, Komachi Street (Komachi-dori), which runs between Kamakura Station and Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, is lined with approximately 250 shops and restaurants, many of which sell grab-and-go food items that can be enjoyed while strolling along the street. Kamakura is lined with both historical buildings and new trendy cafes, making it an attractive destination for a broad range of people of all ages.
Access from Tokyo Station: 12 stops on the JR Yokosuka Line (no transfers)
Time required: Around 1 hour
Fare: 935 yen
Highlights: Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, Hokokuji Temple, Komachi Street, the Great Buddha of Kamakura, Enoshima
Note: Kamakura’s city center isn’t very large, and you can easily explore the area on foot, but if you want to see the ocean around Enoshima, it takes about 25 minutes from Kamakura Station on the Enoden (Enoshima Electric Railway). If you want to enjoy plenty of what Kamakura has to offer, from the history and local cuisine to the scenery at Enoshima, it’s suggested to arrive early in the day.
For more things to do in Kamakura, see our article 15 of the Best Photogenic Sightseeing Spots in Kamakura That You Have to Visit.
2. Nikko (Tochigi Prefecture)
Nikko is a small city surrounded by the mountains of Tochigi Prefecture. There are a great number of historic buildings in Nikko, including the three shrines and temples which make up the World Heritage Site known as “Shrines and Temples of Nikko.” The most famous among them is the magnificent Nikko Toshogu Shrine, the grounds of which are home to 55 stunning structures, including 8 national treasures and 34 Important Cultural Properties of Japan. Each is decorated with Japanese lacquer and brilliant colors, with numerous carvings of stunning beauty decorating the buildings.
The area is also blessed with beautiful natural scenery such as waterfalls and wetlands and is home to many popular outdoor spots including Kegon Falls, Lake Chuzenji, and Mount Nantai. In addition, Nikko’s Kinugawa area is known as one of the most prominent hot spring areas in the Kanto region.
Access from Tokyo Station: Transfer from the JR Tohoku Shinkansen Line to the JR Nikko Line at Utsunomiya Station
Time required: Around 2 hours
Fare: 5,150 yen
Highlights: Nikko Toshogu Shrine, Kegon Falls, Lake Chuzenji, Kinugawa Onsen
Note: Nikko is about 3 - 7 degrees (Celsius) cooler than Tokyo. Even in summer, the mornings and evenings here can be chilly, so it’s recommended to bring a light jacket. It gets particularly cold here in winter with temperatures dropping below freezing, so be prepared with appropriate clothing.
For more things to do in Nikko, see our article 13 Sightseeing Attractions You Won't Want to Miss When Visiting Nikko!.
3. Mount Fuji (Shizuoka Prefecture / Yamanashi Prefecture)
When most people think of Japan, they think of Mount Fuji. Mount Fuji is the tallest mountain in Japan at 3,776 meters in elevation and was registered as a World Heritage Site in 2013.
The very same Mount Fuji can be reached from Tokyo in about 2.5 hours. There are many tourist attractions surrounding Mount Fuji, so in addition to climbing the mountain, it can also be fun to visit for the purpose of enjoying the sights of the whole area.
The appearance of Mount Fuji changes with the season, time of day, and even the viewing angle. For example, on a windless day, you can see “inverse Fuji” reflected on a calm water surface, or you may see “red Fuji” when the snow-capped Mount Fuji is stained red by the rising or setting sun. Try enjoying the views of Mount Fuji on these different occasions.
Access from Tokyo: transfer from JR Chuo Line Chuo Special Rapid to Fujikyuko Line at Otsuki Station
Time required: around 2 hours and 40 minutes
Fare: 2,560 yen
Highlights: Fuji Five Lakes (Lake Yamanaka, Lake Kawaguchi, Lake Motosu, Lake Saiko, and Lake Shoji)
Note: book a mountain hut when spending a night on the mountain. There are some people who take a day to climb the mountain from dawn, but it is not recommended due to problems such as altitude sickness. If you are going to climb Mount Fuji, it is recommended to prepare sufficiently before climbing.
For more information about Mount Fuji, see our article The Ultimate Travel Guide to Mt. Fuji.
4. Hakone (Kanagawa Prefecture)
Hakone is a tourist destination that has long been known as an onsen town. This area has many charms, such as sublime nature, spots filled with history, and art galleries. Many events are held in Hakone that can be enjoyed throughout the year, beginning with the Hakone Ekiden, a race that signifies the New Year for many Japanese people. There are also many means of transportation in the area, such as the mountain railway, cable cars, and buses, making it an exceedingly easy place to get around while traveling between the many sightseeing spots.
The area around Hakone-Yumoto Station, the gateway to Hakone, is a hot spring resort town, and there are many restaurants and souvenir shops here as well. There are several hot spring facilities that can be visited during the day, making it convenient for those who don’t have time to stay overnight or just want to visit one more onsen before finishing their trip.
At Owakudani, one of Hakone’s most iconic tourist attractions, visitors can get a spectacular view of white smoke rising up from the rugged terrain. The local specialty there, "kuro tamago," are a boiled eggs with pitch-black shells, made by cooking the eggs directly in the hot spring for 60 minutes. There is a statue called “Enmei Jizoson” at Owakudani which is a jizo (guardian deity) of prolonged life and child-rearing. For this reason, it is said that eating the kuro tamago will prolong your life.
Access from Tokyo Station: Transfer from the JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line to the Odakyu Limited Express at Odawara Station
Time required: Around 1 hour
Fare: 3,800 yen
Highlights: Hakone-Yumoto Station area, Owakudani, Hakone Ropeway
For more things to do, see our article on the 30 Best Things to Do in Hakone.
5. Izu (Shizuoka Prefecture)
Izu has a warm climate year-round and is rich in nature. Here you can enjoy beautiful views of the sea with Mount Fuji in the background, gorgeous sunsets, the refreshing nature of the Izu Kogen area, and seasonal flowers including the Kawazu Sakura (the earliest-blooming cherry blossoms on Honshu), narcissus, and nanohana flowers. Other famous sights include Shuzenji Temple, namesake of the Shuzenji Onsen where it is located; Izu Granpal Park, and Lake Ippeki. Families with children might enjoy the Shimoda Kaichu Aquarium or trying their hands at local tea harvesting. Taking a leisurely stroll around the area's many onsen towns, beloved by Japan’s literary masters, while soaking up the traditional atmosphere is also highly recommended. You can even wish for a boost to your financial luck at the local power spot, the “Toi Gold Mine.”
As the region is rich in the natural bounty of both the sea and the mountains, more than a few tourists also come to Izu just to enjoy its local gourmet cuisine, made using local fresh ingredients.
Access from Tokyo Station: Transfer from the JR Shinkansen Line to the Ito Line at Atami Station
Time required: 1.5+ hours
Fare: 4,070 yen
Highlights: Shuzen-ji Temple, Izu Granpal Park, Lake Ippeki, Shimoda Kaichu Aquarium, Toi Gold Mine
Note: Izu is divided into four large areas: Higashi Izu, Minami Izu, Nishi Izu, and Naka Izu. Depending on the locations you want to visit, you won’t be able to see everything in one day, so it’s suggested to decide on your destinations and route ahead of time.
6. Atami (Shizuoka Prefecture)
Atami is the gateway to the southern tip of Shizuoka Prefecture, the Izu Peninsula. It has a long history as a popular destination for its onsen and resorts. Atami is surrounded by rich natural landscape, and the vast open ocean stretches out before your eyes. It is a wonderful place for swimming in summer, viewing colorful foliage in the autumn, and admiring plum and cherry blossoms from winter into spring. There are also fireworks festivals held in Atami throughout the year, so no matter which season you visit, there is always something to see.
Atami Onsen was apparently even favored by the legendary Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate (1600 - 1868), and is an onsen that’s said to have been opened back in ancient times. This special place, which has also been loved by literary masters through the years, is a hot spring that Japanese people continue to visit to this day, thanks to its excellent water quality. In front of Atami Station, there is a footbath supplied by a natural hot spring known as “Ieyasu no Yu.” Anyone can use it for free, and it is always overflowing with visitors.
Access from Tokyo Station: 4 stops on the JR Shinkansen (no transfer)
Time required: Around 45 minutes
Fare: 4,270 yen (reserved ticket) or 3,740 yen (unreserved ticket)
Highlights: Atami Onsen, Atami Plum Garden, Atami Sun Beach
7. Yokohama (Kanagawa Prefecture)
Yokohama is a melting pot of Japanese, Western, Chinese, and other cultures. The city is particularly popular among Japanese people and was chosen as the most desired place to live in 2018. The city has great access from Tokyo, located within a 30-minute train ride from Shinjuku, Tokyo, and Shinagawa stations, and is home to many people who work in Tokyo.
With modern and retro buildings standing side-by-side at the Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse, authentic Chinese cuisine at Yokohama Chinatown, aquariums, art galleries, and shopping malls, Yokohama is the perfect spot for a good time on your day off. It’s also a popular date-night destination thanks to the romantic scene created by the evening light-up display at the port.
Access from Tokyo Station: 4 stops on the JR Tokaido Main Line (no transfer)
Time required: Around 25 minutes
Fare: 480 yen
Highlights: Minato Mirai, Yamashita Park, Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse, Yokohama Chinatown
For more places to go in Yokohama, see our article 16 Photogenic Spots in Yokohama That You Have to Capture on Camera.
8. Mount Takao
You can get to Mount Takao by train from Shinjuku Station in just 50 minutes, making this the closest nature area to Tokyo’s urban center. The mountain is optimal for hiking and there are many climbing trails up to the 599-meter peak. It’s also popular as an easy mountain to climb for beginners due to the cable cars and lifts that run up the mountainside for those who aren't keen on trekking. On the side of the mountain is Takao-san Yakuo-in Yuki-ji Temple, boasting 1200-odd years of history. This is considered one of the three head temples of Kanto, alongside Naritasan Shinsho-ji Temple and Kawasaki Daishi Heiken-ji Temple.
Since you can do this trek as a day trip, the mountain is bustling with climbers on the weekend. For this reason, those hoping for a more relaxed hike are recommended to make the trip on a weekday. On a clear day, it is even possible to see Mount Fuji from the top. Additionally, at the base of Mount Takao is a hot spring called Gokurakuyu where you can refresh yourself after enjoying a hike.
Access from Tokyo Station: Transfer from the JR Chuo Line to the Keio Takao Line at Takao Station
Time required: Around 1 hour
Fare: 1,070 yen
Highlights: Mount Takao’s summit, Yakuo-in Yuki-ji Temple, Gokurakuyu bathhouse
Note: This is an easy mountain to climb for beginners, but it’s suggested to wear practical shoes for walking. There are no garbage bins on the mountain, so be ready to bring any trash back down with you.
9. Chichibu (Saitama Prefecture)
Chichibu, located in the north-west part of Saitama Prefecture, is the most spacious town in the prefecture and is home to many gourmet specialties, tourist spots, and activities in nature. There are many famous historical places here, but among them, Chichibu shrine, Chichibu Imamiya Shrine, and Mitsumine Shrine are particularly known for being power spots. Mitsumine Shrine is famous as a place to go to pray for success in life and fortune in business.
One particular place worth recommending is Hitsujiyama Park, a great spot to enjoy the natural landscape of Chichibu. This park is located on high ground overlooking the streets of Chichibu and is a popular spot for flower viewing and outings. In April, the cherry blossoms here are in full bloom, while late June to early July is the best time to see the blooming of 10,000 Japanese irises.
Access from Tokyo Station: Transfer from the JR Ueno-Tokyo Line to Chichibu Railway at Kumagaya Station
Time required: 2 hours 45 minutes
Fare: 2,050 yen
Highlights: Chichibu Shrine, Chichibu Imamiya Shrine, Mitsumine Shrine, Hitsujiyama Park
10. Kawagoe (Saitama Prefecture)
Kawagoe, a flourishing castle town since the Edo Period (1600 - 1868), is a charming town also known as “Little Edo,” with a historical "kurazukuri-style" streetscape. Just by walking the streets, you will pass many historical spots. Be sure to find the symbol of Kawagoe, “Toki no Kane" (the tower shown in the photo above), charming back alleys, shopping streets, and more. There also are many kimono rental shops in Kawagoe, so another fun thing to do is put on a kimono and talk a leisurely stroll around the streets that are brimming with Edo-period atmosphere. There are also many gourmet spots in town, including a street lined with traditional sweets stores that stretches on for 80 meters, making it a great place to walk and snack at the same time.
Access from Tokyo Station: Transfer from the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line to the Tokyo Metro Fukutoshin Line at Ikebukuro Station
Time required: Around 1 hour
Fare: 610 yen
Highlights: Toki no Kane, Kawagoe Ichibangai, Taisho-Roman Shopping Street
For some off-the-beaten-path things to do in Kawagoe, check out our article The Kawagoe Wander Diary: 4 Amazing Places to Add to Your Travel Itinerary.
That’s it for our top 10 day trip destinations that you can reach by train from Tokyo. Put them on the list for your next Japan trip!
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The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.