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11 Best Day Trips From Tokyo by Bullet Train

Day Trips from Tokyo by Bullet Train - Pagoda tower with cherry blossoms in foreground

Thanks to the expanding shinkansen network, exploring Japan has never been easier. And if you’re a foreign visitor, you can zip around the country without spending a fortune on tickets! These day trips from Tokyo by bullet train take full advantage of the Japan Rail Pass.

Mount Fuji and purple flower field viewed from Tokyo bullet train day trip.

Tokyo is a central transit hub with dozens of direct connections around Japan. Whether you want to wander castle towns, hike forested shrine paths, or relax at an onsen, there’s a shinkansen day trip to suit any mood.

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Don’t Forget Your Japan Rail Pass!

Buying a Japan Rail Pass will save you a ton of time and money when traveling across Japan.

I’ve purchased a JR pass for two out of three Japan trips, and here’s why:

– Free bullet trains and reservations : Quickly travel all over Japan to maximize vacation time.

– Easy to use: Just show your pass to the gate attendant and walk to your train!

– Affordable day trips: Visit popular places like Nagoya, Kanazawa, and more without spending a fortune on tickets.

Order your Japan Rail Pass now for speedy delivery!

Shinkansen Day Trips from Tokyo

Kanazawa | Karuizawa | Nagano | Shizuoka city | Nagoya | Yokohama | Atami | Omiya | Takasaki | Sendai | Kyoto

Nishi chaya district in Kanazawa, a popular day trip from Tokyo by bullet train.

Kanazawa is the perfect easy day trip from Tokyo for culture and history lovers. Unlike other historic Japanese cities, Kanazawa remained relatively unscathed by war and natural disasters, and many of the city’s Edo-period buildings are still standing today. Walking through the famous “chaya” districts is like stepping back in time.

Several of these districts, known for their geishas and tea houses, have been preserved since the 1600s.  Nishi Chaya, Kazue-machi, and Higashi Chaya are the most intact, with several tea houses and shops still operating in Higashi Chaya. When the sun begins to set and the paper lanterns come on, the chaya take on a magical atmosphere.

Located in the city center, Kanazawa Castle towers over the nearby streets. Depending on when you visit, you’ll find cherry blossoms, verdant leaves, or red and gold foliage popping against the white walls.

Just across from the castle lies Kenroku-en , one of the “Three Great Gardens” of Japan. This spectacular example of Japanese green space includes reflecting pools, moss gardens, a traditional tea house, and panoramic viewpoints over the city.

If you’re interested in samurai or ninjas, check out the Nomura Clan Samurai House and Myoryuji ninja temple . While the samurai museum accepts walk-in guests, you’ll need to make a reservation to tour the ninja temple. However, being able to explore secret passageways and hidden traps is worth the inconvenience.

Thanks to the expanded Hokuriku Shinkansen line, this day trip from Tokyo by bullet train is a breeze. The Kagayaki trains departing from Tokyo Station or Ueno Station take 2.5 hours to reach Kanazawa (reservation required). Hakutaka trains have a mix of reserved and non-reserved carriages, and complete the journey in 3 hours.

Check out my Kanazawa day trip itinerary to plan your perfect trip!

Shiraito Falls stream with autumn leaves in Karuizawa Japan.

Western travelers might recognize Karuizawa as the setting for Terrace House: Opening New Doors . In Japan, the mountain town is mostly known for its ski resorts and lavish vacation properties. But this day trip from Tokyo by train is also home to several amazing waterfalls.

Shiraito Falls is the easiest to reach via public transit. While it isn’t the biggest waterfall in Japan, its impressive 70 meter curved curtain makes it a must see. If you’re going to Japan in October , you’ll be dazzled by the autumn leaves drifting around the pool. And during winter, the falls can freeze over, creating a magical icy curtain.

Use my guide to visiting Shiraito Falls for more details , including how to take the bus from Karuizawa station.

Terrace House fans will recognize Sengataki Falls , which drop into several pools surrounded by lush vegetation. If you don’t have a car and want to skip the taxi, you can get here via a 3km path from Sengataki Onsen (reachable by Bus #1 from Karuizawa station). There’s also a car park for the falls, with an easier 20 minute hike to the overlook.

If you’re into winter sports, you can spend your day on the slopes at Karuizawa Prince Hotel Snow Resort . They offer multi-lingual skiing and snowboarding lessons, so it’s the perfect chance to try out a new hobby!

Karuizawa is a short 70-minute journey from Tokyo along the Hokuriku shinkansen line.

Togakushi mirror lake with autumn trees and partly cloudy sky.

Nagano prefecture’s capital city is a speedy 90 minute day trip from Tokyo by bullet train. While the region is a popular skiing destination, there’s more to do here than hit the slopes.

Centered in the heart of Nagano City, Zenkoji is one of Japan’s most important temples. It houses the first Buddhist statue that was brought to Japan over 1,300 years ago. A replica of the sacred Buddhist statue goes on public display every six years, with the next event scheduled for 2021.

The road leading up to Zenkoji is lined with cozy restaurants and shops selling local goods. And nearby Joyama Park is a must see during sakura season and autumn.

There are also multiple things to do in Nagano within easy reach from the city.

For a unique wild animal encounter in Japan, head to Jigokudani hot springs . Every day, dozens of Japanese macaques climb down from their mountain dens to warm up in the steaming outdoor pools. Visitors can watch the monkeys as they soak, groom, and forage for seeds in the water.

Book your snow monkey onsen tour today!

Hikers will love exploring Togakushi ’s famous towering cedar trees and mountain shrines. The shrine path begins at the base of Mt. Togakushi, winding through the village and forest to the summit.

There are five shrines in all, as well as a mirror lake and botanical garden. You can buy bus tickets from the machine inside the Alpico office across from Nagano Station.

Shizuoka City

Shizuoka Miho no Matsubara beach with Mt. Fuji view at sunset.

Important shrines, Mount Fuji views, green tea cafes… Shizuoka City is an underrated day trip from Tokyo by bullet train.

This beautiful destination was the former home of the Ieyasu shogunate. Their main castle– Sunpu –still remains at the heart of the city. And the famous leader Tokugawa Ieyasu is enshrined at Kunozan Tosho-gu , a colorful multi-level shrine that overlooks the ocean.

For incredible views of Mount Fuji, head to the Nihondaira . This observatory and park at the top of Mount Udo is free to enter, and boasts 360 degree panoramic decks overlooking Shizuoka prefecture and the ocean. If the weather is good, you can see Fuji-san rising behind the city.

Nihondaira and Kunozan Tosho-gu are connected by a scenic cable car ropeway, making it easy to visit both in a single trip. You can catch a bus bound for Nihondaira Ropeway from Shizuoka Station. Buses run about every hour, and you can pay with ICOCA cards or change.

If you have time to spare, you won’t regret visiting Miho no Matsubara . This tree-lined beach is considered one of Japan’s best scenic points, especially on clear days when Mount Fuji is visible beyond the water. It’s tough to get here via public transit, so your best bet is to take a taxi (use the Japan Taxi app or ask your hotel to order one for you).

Before you leave the city, pop into a matcha cafe for unique refreshments. Shizuoka produces over 40% of Japan’s green tea, and there’s no better place to sample it than CHA10 . Order the vibrantly green matcha nitro and a slice of cheesecake for the ultimate flavor combo.

Shizuoka City is only an hour away from Tokyo via the Tokaido shinkansen line. And if you’d rather visit the city as a day trip from Kyoto , it’s only 95 minutes on the same line!

Check out the Explore Shizuoka website for more helpful trip-planning information.

RELATED: 15 Places to Visit in Japan Off the Beaten Path

Nagoya Castle with purple sunset sky, among the best bullet train trip from Tokyo.

Thanks to its impressive castle, Nagoya is one of the most popular JR pass day trips from Tokyo. But there’s plenty more to see in Japan’s fourth-largest city.

Atsuta Jingu is a peaceful haven of nature smack dab in the middle of the city. The shrine complex is famous for its tall cypress trees and serene walking paths that are lined with flowering trees during spring and summer.

Along the northern edge of the castle lies Meijo Park . Photographers flock here during cherry blossom season to get that iconic view of the castle and pink flowers. During the rest of the year, it’s a calm place to go for a walk or have a picnic.

And of course, there’s Nagoya Castle . Constructed during the Edo-period, it was one of the largest castles in Japan until it was mostly destroyed in 1945. Restoration efforts are still ongoing, with the main keep set to be finished by 2023. All around the castle is a mix of Japanese gardens, ponds, hanging wisteria, and even a plum blossom grove.

Osu Shopping District is a great place to score unique souvenirs and sample local foods like miso-glazed tonkatsu and eel. I highly recommend ordering hitsumabushi , a Nagoya speciality of miso-glazed grilled eel served with condiments like hot tea and pickled vegetables.

Fans of Studio Ghibli will love the recently opened  Ghibli Park . Located a short bus + tram ride east of Nagoya city center, this whimsical wonderland was built up around the old replica of Satsuki and Mei’s house from  My Neighbor Totoro .

While it used to be a huge fuss for non-residents to gain admission, it’s now possible to buy Ghibli Park tickets internationally! All tickets require an  advanced online reservation , so be sure to plan this excursion out well before your departure.

Nagoya is a 90-minute ride from Tokyo Station, and one of the top places to visit between Tokyo and Kyoto along the Tokaido shinkansen route.

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11 Super Easy Tokyo Day Trips - collage of pagoda, castle, and bullet train

Located just one stop south of Tokyo, Yokohama is a bustling and vibrant coastal city with a ton of sightseeing spots. Despite being one of Japan’s largest cities, most of the highlights are concentrated in a walkable district, making it one of the best Tokyo day trips by train.

The stunning waterfront district of Minato Mirai is packed with things to do. Have some fun at Yokohama Cosmoworld , home to one of the world’s tallest ferris wheels. Enjoy panoramic views from the top of Landmark Tower Sky Garden . Afterwards, take an oceanfront stroll through Rinko Park and along the Kishamichi Promenade.

Minato Mirai also has a Cup Noodles Museum that kids and adults alike will love. This unusual establishment shares the history of instant ramen in Japan, and guests can create their own signature cup of noodles to eat or keep as a unique souvenir.

Yokohama is also home to Japan’s largest Chinatown . The covered arcade is packed with shops and restaurants perfect for snacking and souvenir shopping. And nearby Yamashita Park offers great views of Yokohama Bay and bridge.

If you have more time, take public transit south to Sankeien Garden , a sprawling Japanese garden featuring traditional architecture throughout history. And if you visit during sakura season, check out the nearby Negishi Forest Park for beautiful plum and cherry blossoms.

Atami wooden onsen tub with pink yukata and drinks on serving board.

If the busy city’s got you feeling overwhelmed, a day trip from Tokyo to Atami is the perfect escape.

Atami is regarded as one of Japan’s best onsen resort areas, with hundreds of hot spring baths (natural and man-made) where you can relax the day away. While some resorts require an overnight stay, others offer day passes or short sessions to day trippers.

Hiratsuru and Hotel Micuras are an easy walk from Atami Station and offer day passes to their elegant baths and restaurants.

Note that many Atami onsen don’t allow guests with tattoos. However, some places will let you cover small tattoos by a bandage when using public baths. Onsen with private baths are generally more lenient, but it varies by establishment.

You can reach Atami from Tokyo in 45 minutes via the Tokaido shinkansen.

Omiya Hikawa Shrine pagoda surrounded by pink cherry blossoms.

For travelers with limited time, I recommend visiting Omiya. At only 30 minutes, this is one of the quickest and easiest Tokyo day trips by bullet train.

Omiya is best known for Hikawa Shrine , a lovely complex of Shinto buildings and gardens just a short walk from the main station. Not far from here is Bonsai Village and the Bonsai Museum , where hundreds of whimsical trees are sold and displayed.

And if you’re into trains, stop by the interactive Railway Museum for an up-close look at steam locomotives and other trains throughout the ages.

If you have time to spare, I highly suggest taking the 20-minute JR train over to Kawagoe . This historical Japanese town is packed with Edo-period houses, temples, and candy shops.

You can return directly to Shinjuku Station via the JR Saikyo/Kawagoe line when you’re ready to head back.

Red daruma figures stacked up at Jiganin temple in Takasaki.

Takasaki is among the best bullet train trips from Tokyo away from the crowds. Despite being only one hour north of the capital via shinkansen, you’ll mainly see Japanese commuters on the train.

But don’t be fooled by the lack of tourists! Takasaki has some unforgettable sightseeing opportunities if you know where to go.

The city’s main tourist attraction is Byakue Kannon , the White-Robed Kannon. This impressive statue rises 40 meters high, and visitors can climb to the top for some epic views. The road leading up to Byakue Kannon, Ishiharamachi, is a traditional shopping street lined with cherry blossom trees.

You’ll also spot plenty of daruma here and around Jiganin templ e. These red dolls with painted faces are said to bring good luck, and you can buy your very own daruma fortune from the temple shop.

If your visit falls between April and early May, take a trip out to Misatoshibazakura Park . Every spring, thousands of flowers turn the ground into a Dr. Seussian wonderland of color and patterns.

Masamune mounted on horse statue against partly cloudy sky.

What do Masamune, art, and beer all have in common? They’re the main attractions in Sendai!

Located 90 minutes north of Tokyo via the Akita shinkansen, Sendai is an eclectic port city. Most tourists come here to see Zuihōden Temple , the ornate temple where Date Masamune is enshrined. The nearby Sendai Castle ruins offer great views over the city.

And the Miyagi Museum of Art displays everything from Japanese silk screens to 19th century Western paintings.

Japanese beer fans can book a tour of Kirin Beer Factory, which concludes with a tasting session. It’s a popular attraction with limited slots, so be sure to reserve your spot in advance.

Sanjusangendo Temple with cherry blossoms in Kyoto.

To be frank, I wasn’t sure whether or not to include Kyoto on this list of shinkansen day trips from Tokyo. It seems almost sacrilegious to suggest a brief trip to (what I consider) Japan’s greatest city.

But if you simply cannot spend more time in Kyoto, here’s what I recommend: either spend the whole day in Arashiyama, or do the eastern route of shrines and temples.

The Arashiyama district is where you’ll find Sagano bamboo forest , one of Japan’s most famous places . It’s also home to several amazing temples, including Tenryuji and Hōgon-in . There’s even a macaque park at the top of Mount Arashiyama , where you can watch wild monkeys scamper through the trees. 

But Arashiyama is often packed with tourists, making it hard to get around in a timely fashion. Even if you took the earliest shinkansen from Tokyo to Kyoto, you won’t be able to fit much else into your day trip.

The other option is to check out a bunch of shrines and temples and the Gion “geisha” district. Most of Kyoto’s best sites lie in the Higashiyama Ward, which spans north along the Kamo River. There are sightseeing buses that run on a frequent loop through Kyoto, so it’s easy to use Kyoto’s public transit to hop on and off at the key sights.

The must sees in this area include Tofukuji Temple, Rengeoin Sanjusangendo, Kiyomizu-dera, Kodaiji, Yasaka Shrine, and Gion . If you have more time and energy, take the sightseeing bus up to Kinkaku-ji , the famous Golden Pavilion, before heading back to Kyoto Station.

With so many Tokyo day trips to choose from, you’ll have no problem getting your money’s worth from the JR pass! For more travel tips and resources, subscribe to my newsletter below.

1 thought on “11 Best Day Trips From Tokyo by Bullet Train”

Took your advice yesterday- we’re at the end of a two week visit to Tokyo- and took the shankinsen to Omiya and then on to Kawagoe. The bonsai park in Omiya wasn’t open, but the park we walked through to get there was lovely. So, after an Mos burger (had to be done at some stage) we went on to Kawagoe which is a fantastic recommendation and a brilliant place to visit too. We wouldn’t have known about it had it not been for your blog – thank you!

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The 3-Day JR TOKYO Wide Pass: Perfect for Day Trips From Tokyo

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The JR TOKYO Wide Pass allows 3-day unlimited travel in eastern Japan on selected train routes including Shinkansen. It covers scenic sites like Mount Fuji, Karuizawa, Nikko, Echigo Yuzawa, and more, facilitating the exploration of Tokyo's outskirts.

JR TOKYO Wide Pass: The Best Pass for Tokyo Day Trips

The JR Tokyo Wide Pass is a 3-day transportation ticket offered by JR East, which can be used by foreign travelers holding non-Japanese passports , including those with long-term residence, study, or work visas. Therefore, it is a very popular transportation ticket.

JR TOKYO Wide Pass Guide

Price, Usable Train Types, and Coverage Area How to Buy the JR Tokyo Wide Pass - Buy Online Before Coming to Japan - At Ticket Counters in Japan How to Use and Seat Reservation Top Destinations to Visit with the JR Tokyo Wide Pass 1. Karuizawa in Nagano 2. Mount Fuji and Lake Kawaguchi 3. Atami Onsen 4. Nikko 5. Ibaraki 6. The Area Around Echigo-Yuzawa

day trips jr pass tokyo

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JR TOKYO Wide Pass: Price, Usable Train Types, and Coverage Area

JR Tokyo Wide Pass: Explore the Outskirts of Tokyo!

Picture courtesy of JR East Adult tickets for individuals aged 12 and above are priced at 15,000 yen (around 100 USD), while children aged 6 to 11 can avail tickets at half price for 7,500 yen.

The pass allows unlimited rides on designated Shinkansen lines and JR trains in the specified area for 3 consecutive days . Additionally, it is valid on certain private railways such as Fujikyu Railway, Izu Kyuko, and Joshin Electric Railway.

The coverage extends outward from central Tokyo to areas including Chiba, Yamanashi, Kanagawa, Gunma, Saitama, Tochigi, and Ibaraki, encompassing transportation to and from major airports like Narita and Haneda, connecting to the city.

It is important to note that the Tokaido Shinkansen line, which connects Tokyo to Kyoto, Osaka, and Fukuoka, is not included among the applicable train types. Additionally, if you wish to ride the Fuji View Limited Express or the Fujisan Limited Express on the Fujikyu Railway, additional fees apply.

We did the math: just traveling from Tokyo to Karuizawa (5,490 yen one way), then from Karuizawa to the ski resort Echigo Yuzawa (6,050 yen), and finally back to Tokyo from Echigo Yuzawa (6,260 yen) already amounts to the cost of this pass, which is 15,000 yen. It truly is a great deal to travel as much as you like within the pass's validity.

How to Buy the JR Tokyo Wide Pass

The JR Tokyo Wide Pass can be purchased either at on-site counters or online. Please note that regardless of the method of purchase, you must possess and present a valid non-Japanese passport.

Additionally, the pass must be exchanged and used by the passport holders themselves.

How to Buy the JR Tokyo Wide Pass Online Before Arriving in Japan

You can reserve the ticket directly on the JR East official website or a ticket booking site such as Klook.

When booking online, you will be requested to input your passport information in advance. Upon arrival in Japan, you can simply show your purchase confirmation and passport at a JR Ticket Office to exchange for the pass, which is quite convenient.

Please note that some online booking systems do not allow changes or cancellations after purchase, so it's essential to carefully read the purchasing instructions on each website before buying.

How to Buy the JR Tokyo Wide Pass at Ticket Counters in Japan

You can buy the JR Tokyo Wide Pass by presenting your original passport at ticket offices within JR stations in the Tokyo area or at designated seat reservation machines equipped with passport readers.

Please note that not all station ticket counters sell the pass, and the operating hours of ticket counters at each station may vary. It is crucial to check in advance on the JR East official website for the ticket offices that handle the JR Tokyo WidePass , to avoid any inconvenience.

When buying the ticket, the user must personally present their valid passport (the original document) for the purchase; it cannot be bought on behalf of family members or other travelers.

Additionally, you must specify the starting date for the ticket when purchasing, with the validity period starting within one month from the purchase date. Once activated, the pass must be used within three consecutive days.

After purchasing, the date cannot be changed, so it is crucial to plan your itinerary carefully to maximize the value of this pass.

↑ Return to the top of article.

How to Use the JR Tokyo Wide Pass

JR TOKYO Wide Pass

The JR Tokyo Wide Pass is a magnetic card ticket. If you are boarding a regular train, you can simply enter the station using the gates that accept magnetic cards.

However, for trains with reserved seating or if you want to secure a seat, you will need to make a seat reservation in advance before boarding the train.

How to Reserve Seats When Using the JR Tokyo Wide Pass

If you plan to use the Shinkansen or a limited express train, you'll need to reserve your seat.

You can reserve seats at the JR East Travel Service Centers, the green ticket counters at JR stations, or tourist service centers within the coverage area of the pass by presenting your JR Tokyo Wide Pass to the staff.

When purchasing or collecting tickets for the first time at the window counter, you can also reserve seats for the train you plan to board for your first journey. This way, you can board the train directly at the scheduled time without any hassle!

How to Use Seat Reservation Machines

If there are designated seat reservation machines available at the station, you can insert your ticket card into the machine to make your seat reservation.

These machines have interfaces in both Japanese and English, making them highly recommended for those concerned about language barriers.

How to Reserve Seats on the JR East Website

JR East's online booking system also offers an online seat reservation service, which can be accessed through the online seat reservation page.

Please note that you need to register as a website member before making reservations. When booking and reserving seats, you will need to specify the date and location for ticket collection and ensure that you collect the ticket by 9:00 PM the day before your travel date.

The online reservation interface is in English, making it a useful tool for those who want to secure their tickets in advance of their journey.

Top Destinations to Visit with the JR TOKYO Wide Pass

The JR Tokyo Wide Pass is best suited for exploring the suburban cities around Tokyo. Traveling by Shinkansen, you can reach most destinations within a two-hour journey, providing a faster and more comfortable option compared to buses or regular trains, allowing you to make the most of your valuable time.

Below are a few recommended areas worth visiting using the JR Tokyo Wide Pass.

1. Karuizawa in Nagano

karuizawa

Karuizawa , a city in Nagano, is not only a favorite destination for international tourists but also a highly popular spot among the Japanese. Apart from the must-visit shopping street Old Karuizawa Ginza near the station, the area boasts picturesque natural scenery such as the Shiraito Waterfall and Kumoba Pond.

The Karuizawa Prince Outlet offers a great shopping experience. It is an area where anyone can enjoy the delights of traveling. The illuminations at the Karuizawa Kogen Church at night are breathtaking, making it the top-ranked spot in Karuizawa for many visitors!

day trips jr pass tokyo

2. Mount Fuji and Lake Kawaguchi Area

kawaguchiko

Many people visit Japan to catch a glimpse of the majestic Mount Fuji. One of the most popular spots to view the sacred peak is Lake Kawaguchi, which can be easily reached by taking the limited express train Fuji Excursion from Tokyo.

A day trip from Tokyo to Lake Kawaguchi and back is quite relaxing and is considered one of the top Mount Fuji attractions. The area around Lake Kawaguchi offers beautiful landscapes throughout the year. In spring, you can enjoy the picturesque view of cherry blossoms with the Five-Story Pagoda at Arakurayama Sengen Park. In autumn, the Momiji Corridor showcases the reflections of autumn leaves on the lake surface with Mount Fuji in the background.

Locations like Oishi Park with its fiery-red kochia bushes and Sengen Shrine offer truly scenic experiences.

day trips jr pass tokyo

3. Atami Onsen in the Izu Peninsula

atami onsen

The JR Tokyo Wide Pass can take you as far south as the Izu Peninsula in Shizuoka Prefecture. When you visit this area, besides enjoying hot springs in Atami, you can also experience the Atami Plum Garden, which starts blossoming in January. Following this, the Kawazu cherry blossoms make their appearance in February, creating wonderful scenery.

day trips jr pass tokyo

4. The Nikko Area

JR Tokyo Wide Pass

Nikko , renowned for the UNESCO World Heritage site Nikko Toshogu Shrine, is an increasingly popular destination near Tokyo. Nikko is famous for its "Two Shrines and One Temple" comprised of Toshogu Shrine, Futarasan Shrine, and Rinnoji Temple.

These lavishly adorned traditional Japanese temple structures attract visitors from both within and outside of Japan. In recent years, the autumn foliage beauty of places like Nikko Toshogu Shrine, Kinugawa Onsen, and Oku-Nikko has made this area a hot spot for tourists during the fall season.

day trips jr pass tokyo

Nikko / Kinugawa

JR Tokyo Wide Pass: Explore the Outskirts of Tokyo!

Ibaraki Prefecture is known for the enchanting blue nemophila fields and charming red kochia at the Hitachi Seaside Park. Traveling from Tokyo via the JR limited express train is very fast and convenient, with major attractions reachable in about one hour.

day trips jr pass tokyo

6. The Area Around Echigo-Yuzawa

JR Tokyo Wide Pass

In the winter, many people visit Japan for skiing, and one of the popular ski areas easy to reach from Tokyo is Niigata's Echigo Yuzawa .

Echigo Yuzawa, famous originally due to Yasunari Kawabata's novel "Snow Country," has recently attracted more visitors, particularly to the nearby GALA Yuzawa Ski Resort .

GALA Yuzawa even has the GALA Yuzawa Temporary Station, which operates only during the winter to spring seasons. Additionally, this year, there is a limited-time promotion for JR pass holders. Until May 6, 2024, using the JR Tokyo Wide Pass allows you to enjoy special discounted prices for three types of cable car package tickets!

Enjoy Exploring Eastern Japan with the JR Tokyo Wide Pass

When traveling in Japan, transportation costs can be a significant expense, and utilizing a rail pass can provide more flexibility to visit numerous attractions. Even with the price increase to 15,000 yen, the JR Tokyo Wide Pass is still very cost-effective.

For travelers who are familiar with Tokyo's city center or who enjoy exploring suburban landscapes, using the JR Tokyo Wide Pass can help you discover lesser-known scenic spots in eastern Japan.

day trips jr pass tokyo

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The Best Bullet Train Day Trips from Tokyo: 7 Places to Visit from Tokyo With the JR Pass

Don’t be scared to get out of the city – here are the best bullet train day trips from Tokyo.

If you’re planning to visit Japan, be prepared to be impressed at every turn – especially if it’s your first time in Japan.

Japan takes organisation and efficiency to a whole new level, especially with its transport systems.

The Japan rail network isn’t just impressive and bound to inspire awe in every visitor. It also makes travelling Japan SO much easier, allowing you to fit a surprising amount into a single trip.

Whether you have as little as one week in Japan or many weeks to explore, you’ll certainly want to make the most of the trains (not least because they’re an experience in themselves!).

And, even if you plan to base in several places throughout your Japan trip, it still often makes more sense to take day trips to other nearby (and not so nearby) cities, rather than constantly packing up and moving all your things. .

In this post, we’re focusing on the best bullet train day trips from Tokyo – a city that almost every visitor finds themself in.

We’ll cover some of the best places to visit from Tokyo via train, plus some tips for making the most of your time in Japan.

Where to stay in Tokyo

#1 visit kyoto for one day, #2 see the bowing deer in nara, #3 see the bathing snow monkeys, #4 visit hitachi seaside park, #5 marvel at mount fuji, overnight trips from tokyo.

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Choosing which places to visit from Tokyo

If you’re anything like me, you’ll arrive in Japan with a bucket list as long as your arm and only a fraction of time to squeeze it all into.

Luckily, Japan is one of the easiest countries to travel around thanks to the bullet train .

It may surprise you just how much of Japan you can see by taking some Tokyo day trips – especially if you buy a Japan Rail pass before you go .

The shinkansen makes it possible to travel hundreds of kilometres in just a few hours, so nothing is really off limits.

This is why a Japan Rail pass will be your best friend during you Japan trip, even if you spend every night in Tokyo!

With a Japan Rail rail Pass, you can visit some of Japan’s coolest spots without needing to stay overnight.

Unlike other countries, where you’ll have to prioritise one or two areas to explore, it’s possible to choose a base in Japan and cover a lot of ground in a short space of time.

And Tokyo is the perfect base for that!

MUST-KNOW TIP: The Japan Rail Pass

The Japan Rail Pass gives you access to the entire network of high-speed trains (and some non-high-speed local trains) across the country.

It will also save you a small fortune on the cost of travel in Japan!

It’s best to order your pass before you leave because it’s much cheaper than buying it once you arrive. Plus, it’s also much easier.

You can buy your pass on this official website and get free delivery to almost any country in 24-48 hours. If you prefer, you can also do as I did and pick your pass up when you arrive, but you’ll save time by getting it delivered.

If you plan on visiting other places from Tokyo, staying near a station should be your priority.

Most of the best bullet train day trips from Tokyo connect to Tokyo station, but Shinjuku station is a possible option too – especially if you want to explore lots of Tokyo !

Whichever you choose, staying close to the station will save you a bunch of travel time and help you make the most of your trip.

Here are some of the best sustainable hotel options near stations:

  • For apartment living and home comforts: Citadines Shinjuku
  • Combine city views and ultimate convenience: Odakyu Hotel Century Southern Tower
  • Budget-friendly option: Daiwa Roynet Hotel Tokyo Kyobashi
  • For a luxurious splurge: The Four Seasons at Marunouchi

The best bullet train day trips from Tokyo

As you’ll quickly find, travelling around Japan from a Tokyo base is incredibly easy – even if you don’t speak to the language!

With a Japan Rail Pass , you’ll also be able to get to many places at no extra cost. You’ll also make sure you get more than your money’s worth on your pass!

Taking day trips is also a great way to save money on hotels (and time on travelling between them!).

If you want to take some of the stress out of organising, it’s also possible to join guided trips to most of the places listed below.

On these types of trips, the host will usually meet you at a bullet train station since most visitors will have a rail pass – and therefore you won’t be paying for the train twice by taking an organised tour

Whether you go with a guide or venture out on your own, here are the best bullet train day trips from Tokyo.

One week in Japan itinerary Tokyo Harajuku

Is it possible to see Kyoto in one day? If you’re short on time – definitely!

With the high-speed bullet train running directly between them, you don’t have to choose between Japan’s two most popular cities.

Despite the 365km (227-mile) distance between the two cities, a Kyoto day trip from Tokyo is easier than the map would make you think.

The trip from Tokyo to Kyoto takes just 2 hours and 40 minutes on the Shinkansen Hikari.

That means if you leave Tokyo on the 8am bullet train, you can be in Kyoto before 10:40am.

(Note: It takes 20 minutes less on the Shinkansen Nozomi, the fastest bullet train of all, but it’s not covered by the JR pass.)

Kyoto is a large city, so head to the Hokanji Temple and surrounding area if you’re only there for the day. Or, if you want to maximise your time in Kyoto, take a tour with government-licenced guide.

While I’d always recommend spending at least one night in Kyoto in order to experience the unique Kyoto nightlife , a day trip is still very much worthwhile if it’s all that’s possible.

Even on a day trip from Tokyo, you’ll get a great feel of Japan’s former capital city and may even spot a geisha of Gion .

Day trips from Tokyo to Nara with the JR Japan Rail pass

Nara is usually presented as one of the best day trips from Kyoto or Osaka, but it’s also possible to visit on a day trip from Tokyo!

Nara was one of the places I was most excited to visit in Japan. We’d heard that the deer in Nara Park, in the most Japanese way possible, bow to park-goers to ask for food.

And let’s face it, who could resist the idea of bowing deer?

What we didn’t hear about was how amazing the park itself is! Whether bowing deer pull at your heartstrings or not, Nara is a beautiful park well worth visiting on a day trip.

If you visit during sakura season, the cherry blossoms make for a truly magical backdrop behind the Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines and stunning natural scenery.

It’s going to be a long day trip from Tokyo, but you could combine it with a quick stop in Kyoto if you’re short on time.

If you want to explore as much as possible, it would be worth booking a hotel in Kyoto and heading back to Tokyo the next day. That way, you can explore both without feeling rushed.

If you decide to stick to a one-day trip, hiring a local guide is the best way to make the most of your time in Nara (and make sure you don’t get lost – it’s huge!).

If you really want to maximise your time – and have a little fun – a cycling tour such as this one is the absolute best way to experience Nara.

monkeys in japanese hot springs

Have you heard about the Japanese monkeys who like to bathe in hot springs ?

Seeing the bathing snow monkeys was one of my highlights of our month in Japan and nearly always the first thing I mention when people ask.

So of course I’m going to recommend a trip to see them!

Fortunately, you won’t need to go out of your way (too much) to see them for yourself because it’s possible to visit from Tokyo.

In fact, this may just be the best of the best bullet train day trips from Tokyo – even if it requires an early start.

The snow monkeys live just outside the remote town of Shibu Onsen, an onsen town near Nagano.

It’s a lengthier day trip from Tokyo, but is easier than you might think (do you see a theme here?).

The Shinkansen from Tokyo to Nagano takes less than two hours and runs very frequently with several trains per hour.

And hey, that also means it’s super easy to take a Nagano day trip from Tokyo if wildlife travel isn’t your kind of thing.

If you can time it well, the express bus from Nagano station will take you directly to the monkey park in less than an hour.

If time isn’t on your side, however, you can hop on the Nagano Dentetsu express train to Yudanaka (40 minutes). Then, it’s just a short 10-minute bus ride from there.

Alternatively, you can leave the planning to someone else and take a Jigokudanai Monkey Park tour from Tokyo.

Alternatively, it’s also possible to spend a night in Shibu Onsen. As an onsen town, taking a dip in the hot springs is of course the top activity to do here – and there isn’t much else.

However, if you want to break up the travel, it can make for a relaxing break from the city or a great inbetween stop on your way to Kyoto or Osaka.

Check in to Senjukaku for the complete ryokan experience complete with open-air hot springs.

Hitachi Seaside Park, one of the best bullet train day trips from Tokyo

Of all the places on this list, Hitachi Seaside Park is one of the easiest day trips from Tokyo.

With a short transfer time from the city, it can be a quick day trip if you wish.

For this reason, it’s also one of the best bullet train day trips from Tokyo for visitors that don’t have tons of time to explore.

That means it’s perfect if you’re looking for an easy-going day out of the city that won’t leave you exhausted for the rest of your trip!

It’s also great if you want to spend most of your time (and energy!) soaking up everything Tokyo has to offer.

Hitachi Seaside Park changes with the seasons. By that, I mean the flowers in the iconic flower hill change throughout the year.

Every month or so, a new colour paints its lawn as a different type of flower comes into bloom. You can see the calendar of blooms on the official website.

That means it’s the kind of place you could go back to time and time again, and have a different view every single time.

It’s also a great reason to go back to Japan in the winter (or another month, depending on when you visited)!

To get to Hitachi Seaside Park from Tokyo, simply take the JR Joban Line directly to Katsuta station.

Once you’re there, step outside the station and hop on a bus that will take you there.

The bus stop is right outside the station and the journey takes 10-15 minutes down a completely straight road, so there’s very little room for error!

Mount Fuji, one of the best bullet train day trips from Tokyo

While many travellers choose to spend a night at Mount Fuji in order to hike for sunrise, it’s totally possible to visit on a day trip from Tokyo. In fact, it’s one of the most popular day trips from Tokyo!

This is an especially good option during the winter months, when the hike isn’t possible due to the snow that covers Fuji’s peak.

It’s only a short trip from central Tokyo by shinkansen, but it’s still worth making a full day of it and making Fuji just one stop on a tour around the Hakone area.

The Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park is a national park that covers Yamanashi, Shizuoka, and Kanagawa prefecture, as well as the city limits of western Tokyo.

As you’ll discover, there’s a lot to see here: castles, volcanic valleys, the Hakone ropeway, museums, a cable car, Lake Ashi and of course the famous Hakone shrine, among many more things (including Mt Fuji!).

It’s the perfect place for groups with varying interests because you can experience so many sides of Japanese culture and Japanese history is a short time.

Once again, the best option is to use your Japan Rail Pass to take one of the direct trains Odawara station and then arrange for a private guide to meet you there .

Of course, you don’t just have to take a day trip from Tokyo.

Many of the best bullet train day trips from Tokyo also make for great extended trips, whether you’re returning to Tokyo or continuing your Japan travels elsewhere.

Lots of places are well worth spending at least a night or two if you have the time, even if it’s not essential, so don’t rule out an overnight trip from Tokyo.

If you travel out of Tokyo one day and back the following, you’ll still be getting great value for money with the Japan Rail pass .

Just make sure you set aside some other nights to enjoy the Tokyo nightlife !

Here are just a couple of my favourite overnight trips from Toyko to consider:

An overnight trip to Kyoto

If you want to see as much of Kyoto and the surrounding attractions as possible but don’t have much time on your hands, one night in Kyoto will be a worthwhile investment.

Hotels in Kyoto aren’t cheap, but you’ll be able to fit in some extra things you wouldn’t see otherwise.

Watch the sun set over Toji temple after exploring all day, then wake up early the following morning to see the sun rise at the Arashiyama bamboo forest .

It’s a magical experience that you can only get if you stay close by.

You’ll still have time to take the bullet train to Himeji Castle , another one of my favourite places in Japan (below), before hopping on another Shinkansen back to Tokyo.

Himeji Castle day trip from Kyoto

Stay in a traditional Japanese house in Kanazawa

Even if you only do it for one night, take any chance you get to stay in a traditional Japanese house .

Sleeping on a thin floor mattress doesn’t  sound like the making of a great night’s sleep but I promise you’ll have the sweetest of dreams.

Kanazawa is a traditional Japanese town that’s a lot more affordable than Kyoto, and it’s where we spent two nights. Of all the places we stayed, this one felt the most authentic.

Kanazawa isn’t the most popular destination, but it has some of the most well-preserved buildings from the Edo period.

It’s a city of traditional craft, and visiting here is like stepping back in time.

In my opinion and after travelling all over Japan, there’s nowhere better to check into a traditional Japanese house.

You’ll also be able to visit the UNESCO village in the morning if you do, so it’s worth spending a night here.

traditonal japanese house in kanazawa

Japan Travel Planning

Even though I found Japan surprisingly easy to travel, it still pays to be prepared.

In fact, it’s one country where you’ll really save yourself some time and money (not to mention stress!) by having as much prepped in advance as possible.

Here is a checklist of things to have prepared before you go:

Shinkansen Tickets

The Japan Rail Pass is a no-brainer for anybody who wants to see more than one part of Japan.

Booking in advance is super simple – much simpler than buying in Japan – AND comes with free 24-48 hour delivery.

I booked through JRailPass.com and can’t recommend them more for their price, efficiency and customer service.

GET YOUR TICKETS

Travel Insurance

The good news: things generally run smoothly in Japan and, when they don’t, the healthcare is some of the best in the world.

The bad news: when things don’t go to plan, it can be very expensive.

That’s why travel insurance is a must in Japan.

Since moving to Portugal, I use and recommend True Traveller because they cover a wide range of activities and circumstances.

If you’re resident outside of Europe, EKTA travel insurance offers affordable, transparent and extensive coverage all over the world.

WiFi/Sim Card

Getting a sim card in Japan is tricky (and expensive!). Unfortunately, I waited until I was there and learned the hard way, so I highly recommend arranging your WiFi situation before you go.

The best way to stay connected while travelling Japan is with an eSim that you can use right away or this local sim with unlimited data that you can pick up on arrival.

Save on flights to Japan

Did you know that you can save up to 10% on flights with a cashback service?

With WayAway Plus , you can find the cheapest flights, transfers and other travel services and receive part of your purchase back in cash. It goes straight to your Paypal account!

I use WayAway to book all my flights so that I can save extra and have secured an exclusive discount for Alajode readers to do the same.

Use this link and the code ‘ALAJODE’ to save a massive 55% on your yearly membership plan and start saving. That mean you’ll get up to 10% off all travel services for less than $4 per month. In just one trip to Japan, that could save you hundreds of dollars!

Not only does a VPN help protect you and your data while travelling, it can also help you access geo-locked content.

That’s something that comes in really handy in a place like Japan, especially if you don’t speak the local language!

NordVPN is the one I use and trust, and currently has this great deal available.

Airport Transfers

If you’ll be arriving late or staying somewhere fairly remote, consider booking an airport transfer on arrival.

This will take a whole lot of stress out of an already confusing situation when you land in Japan, especially after a long flight.

I’ve found this website has the best prices and the widest availability (sometimes in places where there aren’t even taxis!).

About Jodie Marie Dewberry

Jodie has been travelling the world full time since 2017, sharing the most unique places in the world along with tips for living as a digital nomad. She is a passionate wildlife photographer and has worked with a number of prominent travel brands, including airlines, tourism boards, hotels and tour operators.

4 thoughts on “The Best Bullet Train Day Trips from Tokyo: 7 Places to Visit from Tokyo With the JR Pass”

We are planning a trip to Japan and heard lots of people have suggested day trips to different places either from Tokyo or Kyoto. What I try to understand is why would we want to do DAY trip using Tokyo or Kyoto as a base if the hotels there are expensive and it takes 2 -3 hrs to get there (means 4 – 6 hrs just for round trip transportation)? Would it better if we travel to those places and stay there for a night or two? I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Thanks Kimy

Hi Kimy, it totally depends on what you prefer to do. You could totally spend a night everywhere if you’re happy to pack up and take your luggage with you. If you have a short trip and don’t want to spend time packing, storing luggage, and checking in/out every day though, it’s easier to do day trips. Plus, you can still experience the city nightlife. Totally depends on what you prefer. I was in Japan for one month and did both – both have their pros and cons. Osaka is cheaper than Kyoto, so I’d recommend staying there if you plan to do day trips around the Kyoto area.

Hey, I also recommend a day trip to Nagoya from Tokyo! Most travelers skip Nagoya on a trip to Japan but I think it is worth a visit. Nagoya is much less crowded than the other big cities. There is delicious food and a lot of culture here.

Great content! Very well written with helpful and informative content.

I had a question, would you recommend a visit to the various temples like Ryoanji and Kinkaku-ji in Kyoto? I have heard a fair bit about them so I’m just wondering if they are worth a visit?

Otherwise, keep up the great work!

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The 11 BEST Day Trips from Tokyo, Japan (2024 Edition)

Picture of Richard Barnes

  • Last Updated: January 25, 2024

If you’re looking for the best day trips from Tokyo, this article will help you plan your vacation perfectly!

Tokyo, the capital city of Japan, is an excellent place to base yourself for exploring the surrounding area.

Japan’s excellent transport network and rail passes mean that day trips are easy, convenient and cheaper than you might think. Tokyo station has train journeys leading to may amazing places outside the city.

In some cases, it is possible to join day trips together to make 2 to 3 long day trips utilising some of the amazing regional rail passes available.

Often this can work out being cheaper than taking individual day trips.

READ MORE: Check out our list of the top things to do in Tokyo .

However if you have an active JR pass then you can utilise this for all of the destinations listed below.

Be sure to double-check which route you can use a JR pass on, although I highly recommend getting one. You can buy yours on the Klook website for the best price .

READ MORE: Don’t miss our article on how to spend 3 days in Tokyo !

Mount Fuji Day Trips From Tokyo

Table of Contents

What is There to See and Do? 

Getting there and away , book a tour, what is there to see and do, getting there and away, accommodation , insider tip – rail passes, best day trips from tokyo.

Without further ado, let me share with you the best Tokyo day trip ideas to make the most of your time outside the city!

The best way to get around is to rent a car and explore on your own! We recommend Rental Cars , which has the largest range of vehicles for the best value on the market.

Probably Japans most iconic image is the peak of Mt Fuji against a blue sky backdrop. Visiting the famous mountain is a bucket list item for many Japan travelers.

This is the image many come for however, you are more likely to get clouds around here so check the weather forecast. 

A day trip to see Mount Fuji from Tokyo is one of the most popular day trips from Tokyo. 

It’s also one of the easiest with direct buses running from Shibuya and Shinjuku Station. You can book on the day, but it’s better to book in advance.

Aside from Mount Fuji, quite a lot actually. Naturally, Mount Fuji is very much a centrepiece but it’s not all that’s on offer.

This is also one of the most popular day trips from Tokyo for tourists and locals alike, however with a lot to do it never feels that crowded (unless you’re climbing in Mt Fuji in peak season).

If you are looking to climb Mt Fuji, as many people do in the summer, check the dates the trail is open.

As a warning, climbing Mt Fuji is very popular, so do be aware that heading up to the peak may be similar to a rather long conga line. 

Things to see and do at Mt Fuji are quite spread out, and as a result, it’s worth planning what you want to do in advance to make the most of your time there.

The first thing to note is that unless you’re climbing Mt Fuji you really want to go to Fuji Five Lakes (Fuji-Goko).

This area is made up of, rather unsurprisingly, five lakes. There are numerous walking trails around these lakes.

The majority of day trip transport options will take you to the largest lake Kawaguchiko, but there are a couple of buses that will take you further afield.  

The Chureito Pagoda has stunning views of Mt Fuji on a clear day (sadly I did not have much luck).

To get here you will need to take a local train from Fuji Kawaguchiko to Shimoyoshida. From here it’s a nice 20-minute or so walk. 

Chureito Pagoda Fuji

Kawaguchiko is the most easily accessible of the 5 lakes around Fuji. There are numerous trails and the ropeway taking you part way up Mount Tenjo can offer (weather dependant of course) excellent views of Fuji.

Mount Tenjo itself has a couple of hiking trails that go beyond where the ropeway takes you, as well as trails up and down the mountain itself.

Incidentally, there are a couple of deserted temples on the hike down from the ropeway station that are worth a look. 

There are excellent bus and train options from Tokyo Station for getting to Fuji Five Lakes. The best bet depends if you have any kind of JR pass.

Buses are better for a day trip if you don’t have a rail pass with a one-way journey costs 1950 yen.

You can take buses from Shibuya or Shinjuku, however, Shinjuku usually has more buses leaving.

Click here to book. This is the way most will get to Fuji from Tokyo.

Taking a train is a little more complicated and more expensive unless you have a JR pass or a regional rail pass.

You will need to take the JR Chuo line to Otsuki and then take Fujikyu railway to Kawaguchiko.

Getting to Otsuki you can take the direct 70-minute train at  2500 yen one way or the 100-minute local for 1320.

From Otsuki the train to Fujikyu is 55 minutes and costs 1140 yen one-way.

Obviously, you will not have to worry about the price if you have either of the rail passes listed above.

In addition, you can get a 3-day rail pass that combines Fuji and Hakone. Certainly value for money, it just depends on the time you have available. 

If time is an issue, or you’d prefer to let somebody else do all the thinking and planning for you, we recommend booking a day tour to Mount Fuji from Tokyo.

The one below is the best-rated tour you can book ahead of time on the internet and includes a comfortable coach transfer from Tokyo to Mount Fuji, a delicious traditional lunch and a visit to the beautiful Lake Kawaguchi.

Kawaguchiko

Hakone is famous for its lake, views of Mt Fuji, onsens, hot springs, and Japanese culture.

Situated in between Fuji and Kamakura it is possible to visit as a day trip or as part of a longer trip utilising some of the awesome train passes available.

These multi-day passes mean its more cost-effective to use a regional rail pass and combine visits to Hakone with Fuji or Kamakura.

READ MORE: Here’s our list of the best places to visit in Japan !

Ashino-Ko is the centrepiece of Hakone with boat trips (often covered by regional rail passes) as well as a famous ropeway and some amazing Fuji viewing points.

There are also a number of art museums and short walking trails that make this place one of the great side trips from downtown Tokyo.

The Odawara Castle is a highlight of the area. Originally built in the mid 15th Century, the magnificent Odawara Castle is a must see on your next trip to Hakone.

Other than the Odawara Castle, the scenery in Hakone itself is particularly gorgeous. There are onsens galore that make for some awesome accommodation options and there are a few nice hot springs to enjoy as well. 

Tenzan Onsen has traditional Japanese baths and hot springs where you can relax in the warm thermal waters and admire the waterfalls.

Hakone Yuryo and Hakone Kowakien Yunessun are two other hot springs in the area. There is no better way to treat yourself in Japan than soaking in the natural hot springs, so definitely visit at least one of them!

The train is the best option here. You can either use a JR pass, 2-day Hakone pass or 3 day passes combing Hakone and Kamakura or Hakone and Fuji. 

Once again it’s easy to book a tour to this charming tow from downtown Tokyo to take away all the stress of figuring it our yourself.

Try this tour through Klook , which combines Hakone and Mount Fuji into one epic day of exploring.

READ MORE: Don’t miss our ultimate guide to travelling in Japan – Click here .

Kamakura 

This gorgeous, small seaside town is one of the best day trips from Tokyo.

Whether you want to hike, Buddhist temple hop or relax on the beach, Kamakura can accommodate. 

Temples and hiking trails are the main highlights, however there is a decent beach and the funky island of Enoshima to keep you entertained.

The small town of Kamakura itself has some awesome restaurants and cafes all within walking distance of the top tourist attractions. 

Daibatsu, also known as the Great Buddha, is probably Kamakura’s most iconic sight. The 11.4 metres high Buddha is very popular and naturally is one of the busiest areas in Kamakura.

However the Great Buddha is definitely worth a visit.

The surrounding area has a number of other interesting Buddhist temples including the gorgeous Hase Dera Temple which overlooks the coastline and the town itself. 

Daibatsu Kamakura

Behind Kencho-Ji you can access the Ten-en Hiking Course.

This trail takes you up into the hills behind Kamakura and offers lovely views and some interesting temples en route.

The trail is clearly signposted and there are numerous ways to come down from the hills and back into the town itself. 

Hiking In Kamakura Day Trips From Tokyo

Another interesting sight is the Tsurugaoka Hachiman-Gu which is located at the end of Wakayama-Oji.

This is said to be Kamakura’s most important shrine, dedicated to the Hachiman, the god of war. 

The area around the train station is home to numerous cafe’s restaurants and little craft shops.

If you head north from the train station and essentially follow the train track there are a couple of lovely, deserted temples that are a perfect place to find that bit of zen and Japanese culture that you may be craving.

Pick up a Kamakura Day Pass from the Odakyu private train line at Shinjuku station for 1470 yen.

This covers a return trip from Tokyo station to Fujisawa and then enlisted usage of the Enoden and Odakyu railway lines between Fujisawa and Katase-Enoshima (Odakyu) and Fujisawa (Kamakura (Enoden). 

Depending on which train you get it can take anything between 1.5 and 2.5 hours.

Most of the time you will need to transfer once at Fujisawa (which is the end of the line) and then take the Enoden line to Kamakura itself. 

If you are planning on heading to Daibatsu and Hasedera first then you’re better off getting off at Hase Station.

If the beach is what you’re aiming for any of the stations on the beach should suffice. 

There is an Odakyu-Kamakura Rail Pass which allows you to combine a visit to Kamakura and Hakone.

In addition this pass covers transport in Hakone itself and offers discounts to some tourist attractions. 

If you want to enjoy a bit of luxury, you can book private transfers from Tokyo to Kamakura and back. This only costs about 3,500 Yen one way.

Another one of the awesome day tours from Tokyo on Get Your Guide, this one includes a private trip to Kamakura with an English-speaking professional guide so you can learn all about the Japanese history and culture.

Tokyo Day Trip Ideas for Hikers

Tokyo’s surrounding area is blessed with some great hiking trails with many of them offering gorgeous views of Fuji on a cloud-free day.

The only rail pass option available is the 3-day Tokyo area pass. However it is 10,000 yen, so make sure you can get your money’s worth! 

This means that some may end up being more expensive than some of the other trips suggested.

Alternatively, if you have an active JR pass then hikes in Yamanashi, Saitama or Tochigi prefectures may be far more accessible and cost-effective.

There are far more hikes than the ones listed below, I’ve focused on hikes that are nearer to Tokyo limiting travel time.

Here’s what I recommend for hikers looking for awesome Tokyo day trips.

Hike Mount Daibosatsu

This beginner-intermediate level hike is one of many awesome trails in Yamanashi Prefecture.

There are two trails, both of which are just over 6 hours in length. Clear days reward you with stunning views. 

From Shinjuku station, you need to take the JR Limited Express “Kaiji” train and get off at Enzan Station (塩山駅).

The train takes about 90 minutes and costs around 3500 yen, there are cheaper and slower alternatives available. 

From Enzan take the bus heading towards Daibosatsutōge-tozanguchi, this takes 30 minutes and cost 3500 yen.

Hiking Mount Mitake

There are a couple of excellent hikes on offer here with Fuji even being visible from various viewpoints on clear days. 

The pick of the trails on offer is the hike from Mussashi Mitake-jinja to the summit of Otake-san which is a 5 hour round trip.

To get to the start point you can walk or take the cable car from Taikimoto. It’s an hour one way and the cable car runs from 7:30 am to 6:30 pm. 

It takes around an hour and 45 minutes to get out here. Take the JR Chuo line from Shinjuku station to Tachikawa or Ome and then change to JR Ome line.

Get off the Ome line at Mitake and then take a bus from here to the start point at Takimoto. 

Hiking Mount Takao

A nice three and half hour (give or take) hike to the summit that offers decent views back towards Tokyo.

Probably not the most spectacular or peaceful hike around Tokyo (it can be packed on weekends). On a clear day, you can spot Fuji. 

The trail is littered with temples, shrines and tori gates. There is a cable car if you don’t have the energy.

Take the Keio line out to Takaosanguchi from Shinjuku. If you have a JR pass you can head out via the JR Chuo line to Takao and then change onto the Keio line and get off at Takaosanguchi.

The journey times are similar and since the non-JR option costs 370 yen it’s probably not worth activating your JR pass for this.

Of this hikes mentioned this is the closest to Tokyo and the easiest to get to. 

Mount Takao Tokyo Day Trips

Hike Myojingatake 

This lovely hike down in Hakone offers amazing views of Fuji if the if it’s not cloudy.

The trail is tough in some parts and you should budget between 4 and 6 hours depending on weather, pace and fitness. 

This could be a good option if you are using one of the multi-day Hakone rail passes and looking for great day tours from Tokyo.

You will need to head to Gora station on Hakone Tozan railway. The trail then starts from here. 

Izu Peninsula

If you fancy a little more freedom for your day trips out of Tokyo, you could consider a road trip down to the Izu Peninsula south of the city.

It is popular with Tokyo-ites on weekends and holidays. The western side offers great views of Fuji when the weather cooperates. 

This is rarely visited by tourists and it covers a huge area. There are some lovely hot spring areas offering superb onsens.

In addition, there are some gorgeous beaches where you can bum around in the sun. This helps to cement its reputation as a great place to relax. 

The peninsula is home to some gorgeous beaches and funky laid back towns that are well worth exploring.

Obviously if exploring is on your agenda then hiring a car is your best bet.

However, if hiring a car isn’t an option then it is possible to get around by train, you just don’t have the same level of freedom.

Since this covers such a large area there is no shortage of things to see and do.

The Jogasaki and Irozaki coasts of some fantastic views and Shorehama and Dogashima offer some lovely beaches.

Shuzenji, Ito and Arami offer some amazing onsens and for those that like hiking Kawazu Nanadaru, the seven waterfalls in the mountains above Kawazu, offer some lovely trails.

There’s certainly enough to keep you busy here for a day or more if you choose!

READ MORE: Check out our complete guide to the Izu Peninsula and all the best things to do in Shizuoka Prefecture ! 

There is a rail pass available but depending on where you’re going it may be more cost-effective to purchase tickets separately.

Utilise the amazing app Hyperdia to help you do your research. 

However, if you want some freedom then renting a car is a great option. Day rentals are common in Japan, but you will need your countries driving licence AND an International Drivers Permit (IDP).

Bonus Multi-Day Trip: Nikko  

Nikko is famous for temples and onsens, and the lush Nikko National Park. It’s a bit too far from Tokyo to do as a day trip so most people will do it as a 2 or 4-day visit depending on which rail pass they decide to use.

Central Nikko is a Unesco World Heritage Site which is home to some truly outstanding temples.

In Nikko National Park there are some amazing hiking options around Lake Chuzenji and numerous onsens.

If temples are your thing then Central Nikko is the place to start. From Tobu Nikko station you can take a bus that is covered by the Tobu Nikko pass up to the World Heritage area.

Here you can explore temples at your leisure.

The area around the Toshogu shrine can get particularly busy. The further away you get from here the quieter it gets, with Taiyuin-byo being particularly lovely. 

If you’re looking at heading further afield Lake Chuzen-ji is a great change of pace. There a numerous hiking trails, ropeways and boats to help you get the most out of this gorgeous area.  

Check out this other article I produced on what to see and do in Nikko.

Toshogu Shrine

This area is famous for its onsen hotels and resorts. These are some of the more expensive accommodation options in Japan.

Very often prices on sites like Agoda, Booking.com and Hotels.com can be eye-watering.

Your best option is to check out the Japanese hotel site Rakuten . Sometimes you can find some incredible bargains. 

More often than not these hotels will have an option to include breakfast and dinner.

Also, there is usually an additional onsen fee that will be paid upon check out. However it’s usually a small amount of a few hundred yen per person.

Kinugawa Onsen is the most accessible onsen area as it’s included on the most basic rail pass.

This area is littered with some gorgeous onsens. Further than that, you will probably need to pay for transport as your rail pass may not cover it, however, these onsets may be slightly cheaper.  

The best way to get there is from Asakusa station in central Tokyo. Here you can buy a Nikko Tobu pass (follow the signs for the Tobu line or Tobu Asakusa). 

There are a variety of passes that are either 2 or 4 days in length and will cover different areas meaning it is possible to customise your trip to your needs and wants.

Yunishigawa Onsen

Very loosely fitting the definition of a “day trip from Tokyo” as it’s only down in Tokyo Bay.

However, this huge onsen is a fantastic way to spend the day.

If you love onsens then this is the place for you. This huge complex in Tokyo Bay can best be described as an onsen theme park.

Inside you will find restaurants, relaxation rooms, massages, performances and fair ground stalls. 

At the entrance, you need to remove your shoes and select your Yakuta. They will give you a fob with your locker number on it.

You also use this fob to purchase anything inside which you then pay for when you exit. 

Remember to wear your underwear under your Yakuta, otherwise it could be rather embarrassing. 

If you’re curious about what an onsen is and why it’s so popular then this is a pretty awesome place to find out more. 

This huge onsen complex is actually located in the south of Tokyo. Take the Tokyo metro out to Telecom Centre and from there it’s a 5-minute walk.

Japan’s second-largest city is home to 3 million people and is only 30 minutes from Tokyo station by train.

It certainly has an appeal that helps it escape its much bigger brother to the north. 

READ MORE: Check out our list of the best things to do in Yokohama

Minato Mirai is a huge redevelopment of Yokohama’s shipping docks. The area is full of bars, restaurants, arcades and fairground rides all connected by a series of promenades. 

Yokohama is also home to Ramen and Cup Noodle museums for those with a taste for the quirky and the Kirin beer factory if you fancy sampling some of Japan’s most popular beer. 

For those in the mood for something more cultured, the Yokohama Port Museum and Yokohama Museum of Art await.

Additionally there is the lovely Sankeien garden to explore. 

There are a number of different railway companies that run between Tokyo station and Yokohama. Check them out on the Japan Guide site.

Japan’s amazing rail network is the envy of the world. Delays are rare, carriages are spotless and you can get almost anywhere. 

Day trips from Tokyo are made easier and more cost-effective by the rail passes on offer. The hard part comes when deciding which passes to use.  

In this article, there will be a number of different rail passes mentioned. Some are variants of Japans famous JR pass and others are passes on privately run rail networks, most notably down to Kamakura and up to Nikko.

For information on ALL of the rail passes available in Japan check out this excellent article by japanguide.com .

This is a great way to research what is going to be the best option.

Do be aware that rail passes that take in more than one place usually cover only one return trip to Tokyo.

So for example, you couldn’t head to place ‘A’ from Tokyo, head back to Tokyo that night and then head to place ‘B’ the following morning on the same rail pass.

Often these sorts of rail passes cover local transport including buses and trains in the passes local areas.

The article above can give you all the information you need.

DISCLAIMER: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links, which means if you book accommodation, tours or buy a product, we will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. These commissions help us keep creating more free travel content to help people plan their holidays and adventures. We only recommend the best accommodations, tours and products that ourselves or our fantastic editorial team have personally experienced, and regularly review these. Thanks for your support, kind friend!

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VOYAPON

Great Day Trips from Tokyo with the JR Tokyo Wide Pass

There is a lot to discover in the Kanto region around Japan’s capital Tokyo, and it can be hard to decide where to go with so many possible destinations in mind, especially when your time is limited. If you take the train every day, traveling can get quite expensive, particularly if you want to go on day trips a little further away. Here it is worthwhile to use one of  the numerous train passes . This article will give you travel tips for  day trips from Tokyo with the JR Tokyo Wide Pass .

How does the JR Tokyo Wide Pass work?

Top destinations around mount fuji, what to do in nikko and the surrounding area, visit izu peninsula on the jr tokyo wide pass, things to see in ibaraki prefecture on the jr tokyo wide pass, boso peninsula in chiba prefecture, day trips to narita and sawara city, day trips to kusatsu onsen in gunma prefecture, more destinations and trip ideas on the jr tokyo wide pass.

The JR Tokyo Wide Pass is a train ticket valid for  three consecutive days  and can be purchased by anyone with a non-Japanese passport. It can be used by foreign tourists as well as foreign residents in Japan. For  10,180 yen , you can travel around a large area surrounding Tokyo using special express trains. Especially if you want to cover longer distances, the pass is valuable to save money. Plus, traveling by train in Japan is much more fun!

Mount Fuji and the Chureido Pagoda in Japan

Tokyo Wide Pass

3 days of unlimited train rides in Tokyo and the surrounding prefectures with this discount pass! Perfect for day trips from Tokyo to nearby attractions like Mt. Fuji, Nikko, and Karuizawa.

You can purchase the pass either online in advance or after you arrive in Japan at the Japan Railway Travel Service Center . If you’re looking to travel further into the Kanto region, here is further information about where you can go on the JR Tokyo Wide Pass.

JR Tokyo Wide Pass ticket and flyer in Japan

Day Trips from Tokyo on the JR Tokyo Wide Pass

There are tons of places you can travel to with the JR Tokyo Wide Pass in the Kanto region. We make Tokyo our starting point, as Japan’s capital is mostly chosen as accommodation by tourists. Even if the train pass is only valid for three days, if you want to visit even more places, you can buy another pass with a new validity period. In addition to the traveling times to each location, I’ll share the regular costs for the individual train journeys without the JR Tokyo Wide Pass (or another train pass) to decide whether the pass is worthwhile for your planned travel route.

A popular destination is Japan’s highest mountain, Mount Fuji. With the JR Tokyo Wide Pass, you can travel to Lake Kawaguchiko (河口湖), from where you have a wonderful view of Mount Fuji on a clear day. But also a stop at the Arakura Fuji Sengen Shrine (新倉富士浅間神社) — get off at Shimoyoshida station — won’t be difficult either. There you can see Mount Fuji together with the famous Chureito Pagoda (忠霊塔). For fans of roller coasters, the pass is ideal for a visit to the FujiQ Highland , an amusement park with many attractions. In addition, Kawaguchiko and Mt. Fuji Station are good starting points for exploring the wider area by bus or rental car.

Kawaguchiko with Mount Fuji

The train ride from Shinjuku to Kawaguchiko Station takes under two hours on the Fuji-Excursion Limited Express and costs 4,130 yen one way. Note that this special train only runs three times a day in each direction and it is better to make a seat reservation (free with the JR Tokyo Wide Pass). Otherwise, you can also use the regular trains, which require a little more time and are usually connected with transfers between trains.

Japanese woman calling a friend on a land line: もしもし

The Mobal SIM Card is the only SIM card with a Japanese phone number — perfect if you need to stay in touch on short visits or for long-term visitors living, working, or studying in Japan. Mobal pocket wifi is also great if you’re traveling with family or a group!

Nikko is another popular destination from Tokyo. There you will find the famous Toshogu Shrine (東照宮) with the mausoleum of Ieyasu Tokugawa, but also some other beautiful temples and shrines. The area offers great hiking trails with waterfalls and gorges. The JR Tokyo Wide Pass furthermore gives you access to Kinugawa Onsen Station , a hot spring resort. From there you can also visit the miniature theme park Tobu World Square and the Edo Wonderland Nikko Edomura , which allows you to travel back in time to ancient Japan.

Toshogu Shrine in Nikko

Thanks to a cooperation with the Tobu Railway, you can use the JR Tokyo Wide Pass on the direct limited express that connects Shinjuku Station with Tobu Nikko Station. The single trip takes two hours and costs 4,080 yen. A seat reservation is required here. Alternatively, you can also use the Shinkansen to Utsunomiya and continue from there with the JR Nikko Line. Here the travel costs per route are around 5,000 yen.

The JR Tokyo Wide Pass gives you the opportunity to explore the eastern part of the Izu Peninsula (伊豆半島) in Shizuoka Prefecture because you can use the Izukyu Railway with it. One of the first stops in this area is Atami (熱海), which has an onsen, a beautiful harbor area, and a tourist castle with a cable car connection. Located further along the train route is Ito Onsen (伊東温泉), another place known as a very popular onsen resort. Just a little way down is Jogasaki Kaigan (城ヶ崎海岸), a stony coastal area with bridges and lighthouses that is ideal for hiking. The southernmost station on the Izukyu Railway is Shimoda (下田). This place is of historical importance because in 1854 Commodore Perry forced Japan to open the port which ended the 200-year isolation policy of Japan. You can still find monuments of it in Shimoda today. In spring, I recommend a stop in Kawazu (河津) to see the early cherry blossoms. Over 8,000 cherry trees are in bloom there, mostly between the beginning of February and the beginning of March (depending on the weather of the year), and attract countless visitors.

Harbor area of Atami with castle in the background in Japan

To get to the Izu Peninsula, some JR trains run from the capital region to Atami. You can’t use the Shinkansen in this direction with the JR Tokyo Wide Pass. From Atami, you can use the Izukyu Railway, which does not belong to the Japan Railway but is included in the pass. There is also the Limited Express Odoriko , which runs between Shimoda and Tokyo and can be used with the pass (take care that this does not include the special Saphir Odoriko express train ). With the Odoriko train, journeys from Tokyo Station to Atami take around 80 minutes (3,560 yen for the single route), to Ito Onsen around 100 minutes (3,890 yen), and to Izukyu Shimoda around 170 minutes (6,060 yen). So if you’re traveling from Tokyo to Shimoda and back, you can take advantage of the value of the JR Tokyo Wide Pass.

Ibaraki Prefecture is often neglected by many tourists; there are so many other places to discover in Japan. However, this area is also worth a visit! The Hitachi Seaside Park (国営ひたち海浜公園) in particular is a great experience in different seasons. You can get there by bus from Katsuta train station (approx. 15 minutes). In the city of Mito, you can find the Kairakuen Garden (海楽園), one of the five most beautiful gardens in Japan , which is best known for its plum blossom in spring.

Hitachi Seaside Park in full bloom in May in Japan

Mito Station is connected to Japan’s capital by the Hitachi and Tokiwa Limited Express trains (connected to Tokyo, Ueno, and Shinagawa station). The journey takes about 70 minutes and costs 3,890 yen one way. Katsuta Station is just one station away from Mito on the JR Joban Line.

The Boso Peninsula (房総半島) is located east of Tokyo in Chiba Prefecture. Above all, it has beautiful beaches, which is why it is very popular as a holiday destination in summer. In good weather, you can even see Mount Fuji on the other side of the sea from some beaches. Aside from swimming, you can also visit Nokogiriyama (鋸山) Mountain , where you can visit the Nihon-ji Temple (日本寺) with large Buddha statues made of stone. The coastal town of Tateyama (館山) also offers some attractions, such as Tateyama Castle and the connection to the Boso Flower Line, a coastal road with flower parks, and more.

Stone statue of a Buddha at Nihon-ji Temple

There are several JR trains from Tokyo Station that run along the coast of the Boso Peninsula. For example, for visiting Nihon-ji Temple, it takes about 2 hours to get to Hamakanaya Station and costs 1,980 yen. It’s about 2.5 hours to Tateyama and costs between 2,310 yen and 4,400 yen, depending on whether you use special express trains or not.

When you hear Narita, many people think of the international airport straight away. However, the city of Narita in Chiba Prefecture has a lot more to offer for a great day trip from Tokyo. One of the main attractions in the city is the temple complex Narita-san (成田山新勝寺), which is very extensive and houses many different buildings. You can stroll along the old shopping street and try the eel that is famous there.

Traditional temple complex in Narita, Japan

In addition, Sawara (佐原) is only about 30 minutes by train from Narita. The place impresses with its canal roads, on which you can take a boat tour, and admire the architectural style of the Edo era that lines the waterways.

Buildings in Edo style in Sawara

Since the JR Tokyo Wide Pass does not contain any special express trains for the journey to Narita, the costs here are not that expensive. From Shinjuku Station, the one-way ticket to Narita costs only 1,340 yen and takes about an hour and a half. Nevertheless, a day trip is worthwhile and you can cover 2,680 yen with it. The single trip to Sawara costs another 510 yen, which you can save thanks to the JR connection.

Gunma Prefecture is home to many of the onsen resorts in the Kanto region. One of the most famous onsen locations is Kusatsu Onsen (草津温泉). There you will find a large water field called Yubatake , which is also illuminated at night. You can watch Yumomi , a performance in which women in traditional costumes cool off the hot water, and of course, you can relax in one of the hot springs. There are a few places that you can visit as day guests, but it is advisable to spend a night in one of the onsen hotels, also due to the long journey to get to Kusatsu.

Kusatsu Onsen in Japan

There are several ways to get to Kusatsu Onsen. For example, there is an express train from Ueno Station that goes directly to Naganohara-Kusatsuguchi Station, but only 2-3 times a day. The trip takes about 2.5 hours and costs 5,570 yen. You can also take the Shinkansen to Takasaki from Tokyo Station or Ueno Station, and from there take the JR trains. You only need about 10-15 additional minutes and the single trip costs 6,320 yen. From Naganohara-Kusatsuguchi Station, you can continue by bus to Kusatsu Onsen. Unfortunately, this is not included in the JR Tokyo Wide Pass and you have to pay the 710 yen for the 30-minute bus ride to the onsen location.

These are just a few of the day trip destinations from Tokyo that you can visit with the JR Tokyo Wide Pass, and there are many more. Excursions to Karuizawa, Utsunomiya, and Takasaki and, in winter, to the Gala Yuzawa ski resort are also worthwhile to take advantage of the value of the pass. You can also use the pass in Tokyo itself to take the JR trains to different locations. Keep in mind that train rides inside the city center are not too expensive and the pass for 10,180 yen is only worthwhile if you take longer trips outside the city during the three valid days. If you plan to spend a day within Tokyo’s city limits, you may want to combine your visit with further destinations on the remaining two days.

The same goes for day trips to places not too far from Tokyo, such as Yokohama, Kamakura, Odawara , and Kawagoe . The JR Tokyo Wide Pass covers journeys with the JR trains to these places, but since the costs are not too high, you may want to combine these with trips to 1-2 of the destinations listed above to take advantage of the train pass.

As you can see, there are numerous ways to use the JR Tokyo Wide Pass that you can’t do all in three days. So you can get the pass again and again and go on new adventure trips. I wish you a lot of fun traveling and exploring the Kanto region with it.

Claudia Mitsubori

Claudia Mitsubori

Grown up in the middle of Germany, I made several trips to Japan since 2010, did one year Working Holiday and started living in Western Tokyo since October 2016 with my Japanese husband and our cute cat. I love traveling, food (especially sweets), learning more about Japanese traditions, Japanese music and everything related to cats. I am looking forward to share my experiences with you!

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Red torii gate of Hakone Shrine on Lake Ashi

13 best day trips for a weekend getaway from Tokyo

Find some of Japan’s most beautiful temples, hiking trails and nature attractions no more than a few hours from Tokyo

Photo: Pasu Ratprasert/Shutterstock

It’s true that Tokyo really does have everything, from the best restaurants in the world to endless shopping and even lush forest within the city limits. It’s way too easy to spend a whole vacation in the heart of central Tokyo. However, Japan has much more to offer than just its capital city.

Get out of the city for a day (or longer, if you have time) and head south to Kanagawa hot springs, north to Tochigi for traditional shrines, or out to Yamanashi for postcard perfect views of Mt Fuji . Tokyo might have captured your heart, but these day trips will fully cement your love of Japan.  

If you're looking for a specific kind of day trip, here are the best autumn leaves destinations and art destinations near Tokyo .

Get out of town

Hakone, kanagawa prefecture.

Hakone, Kanagawa prefecture

The mountain of Hakone lies about 90 minutes by train from Tokyo, which makes it a popular day trip or weekend getaway from the capital. It has had a long and illustrious history as a hot spring town – its name even appears in Edo-era (1603-1868) rankings of Japan’s best onsen. But Hakone is about much more than just bathing. It’s got everything from superb art museums to an active volcano – as well as a jaw-dropping view of Mt Fuji on clear days.

Getting there: The Hakone Freepass includes unlimited rides on the Hakone Tozan Railway, the ropeway, the Lake Ashi pirate ship and all other major forms of transportation in the area. A two-day pass, which includes a return train ride from Shinjuku, costs ¥6,100 (¥1,100 for children).

Kawagoe, Saitama prefecture

Kawagoe, Saitama prefecture

Also known as Koedo or Little Edo, Kawagoe is an Edo period (1603-1867) castle town that's kept its old-fashioned atmosphere through well-preserved traditional streets and buildings. 

Kurazukuri Street is a must-visit as many of the old buildings and warehouses have been converted into quaint shops and restaurants. You'll know you've reached the area when you see the Toki no Kane bell tower – it's an unmissable 16 metres tall. The bell rings four times a day at 6am, 12noon, 3pm and 6pm. 

A short walk from the town's main street is Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine, which hosts many festivals throughout the year. In summer, this so-called 'love shrine' hosts a wind chime festival where you can stroll under a tunnel of tinkling furin  chimes. Come spring, the river behind the shrine is flanked with cherry blossoms and you can even take a boat ride beneath the flowers.

Getting there: Kawagoe is approximately 30 minutes from Ikebukuro Station on the Tobu Tojo line. You can also get there from Shinjuku in about an hour on the Seibu Shinjuku line. The two nearest stations are Hon-Kawagoe and Kawagoe.

Enoshima, Kanagawa prefecture

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Enoshima, Kanagawa prefecture

Travel down to the Kanagawa coast and you’ll find the small but beautiful Enoshima. The hilly island lies off the Shonan coast in western Kanagawa, and is connected to the mainland by a bridge that's open to both vehicles and pedestrians.

Enoshima is one of the most popular islands nearest to Tokyo. You’ll find a number of cultural monuments, quaint cafés and sightseeing attractions, more than enough to fuel a day trip. When the weather’s clear, you can even see Mt Fuji in the distance. 

Getting there: The Enoshima-Kamakura Freepass  includes a round-trip ticket on the Odakyu line from Shinjuku to Katase-Enoshima Station, which takes about 80 minutes one way. You also get unlimited rides on the Enoden line between Fujisawa and Kamakura stations for a bit of extended sightseeing in the area. The pass costs ¥1,640 for adults and ¥430 for children. It's a 12-minute walk from Katase-Enoshima Station to the island.

Kurkku Fields, Kisarazu, Chiba prefecture

Kurkku Fields, Kisarazu, Chiba prefecture

Sustainability, art, eco-friendly farmland and the rolling hills of the inaka (countryside) –  Kurkku Fields really does have it all. Located in Kisarazu, Chiba prefecture, Kurkku Fields is a 74-acre sustainable wonderland with the goal of reconnecting busy Tokyoites with nature by introducing them to farming, open nature and even eco-friendly energy in the form of solar panels and a biogeo water purification system. The venue’s farm-to-table restaurant, Kurkku Fields Dining, serves vegetables and herbs grown in the edible garden, eggs and fresh cheese from the dairy farm, and wood-fired pizzas, all made with natural, local ingredients.

Stop by the art galleries, which boast art by Anish Kapoor, Fabrice Hybert, Camille Henrot and Yayoi Kusama – including one of her famous Infinity Rooms. Don’t forget to pick up some fresh charcuterie, cheese and delicate chiffon cake for your city pals. 

Getting there: The best way to access Kurkku Fields is by highway bus from Tokyo Station or Yokohama Station. For more information on access via car or train, see the  website . 

Nikko, Tochigi prefecture

Nikko, Tochigi prefecture

With mountains, hiking trails, monkeys and shrines, at its heart, Nikko is pure traditional Japan. A popular day trip for both Tokyo locals and international tourists, Nikko is best known for the grand Toshogu Shrine and its opulent decorations of carved wood and gold, including three famous wise monkeys representing the principle of ‘see no evil, hear no evil, say no evil’. 

While Toshogu is surely the highlight of the trip, Nikko is also known for forested hiking trails, which are especially picturesque in autumn foliage. There’s also Shinkyo Bridge, painted vermillion and flanked by mountains and temples, and the 75-metre tall Kirifuri waterfall dramatically tumbling down a mountain. 

Getting there: The only direct access is on the limited express Nikko train from Shinjuku station to Tobu Nikko Station. You can also take the JR Tohoku Shinkansen from Tokyo and Ueno stations with a transfer at Utsunomiya Station for the JR Nikko line. Or, from Asakusa, take the Limited Express Spacia (Kegon line) from Tobu Asakusa Station to Tobu Nikko Station. 

Kamakura, Kanagawa prefecture

Kamakura, Kanagawa prefecture

This small coastal town is often referred to as the Kyoto of Eastern Japan for its multitude of temples, shrines and historical monuments. It was the country’s political capital during the Kamakura shogunate (1185–1333) and there’s plenty to do and see here. Top of the list should be a visit to the Great Buddha of Kamakura (Kamakura Daibutsu). This towering bronze statue of the celestial Buddha is the second tallest in Japan and stands at 13.35m. Originally cast in 1252, the Buddha has been peacefully watching over its visitors since 1495.

If you have a little more time, pay a visit to Tsurugaoka Hachimangu, Kamakura’s largest Shinto shrine. You can reach it via a long, wide approach that leads from Kamakura’s waterfront through the city centre, with multiple torii gates along the way. The grounds include the main hall, a museum and many secondary shrines as well as beautiful ponds and gardens. Look out for a horseback archery display during the Reitai-sai Festival in mid-September performed along the main approach.

Getting there: Kamakura is less than an hour from Tokyo via the JR Yokosuka or Shonan-Shinjuku line from Shinjuku Station. The cheapest but slowest route (90 minutes) is via the Enoshima Kamakura Free Pass (¥1,640), which provides a round trip from Shinjuku Station to Kamakura, as well as unlimited use of the Enoden line for the day.

Lake Kawaguchiko, Yamanashi prefecture

Lake Kawaguchiko, Yamanashi prefecture

One of the Fuji Five Lakes, Lake Kawaguchiko is where you’ll get the best view (and perfect Instagram shots) of Mt Fuji. Filled with hot springs, ryokan (Japanese inns) and tourist attractions such as the Fuji-Q Highland theme park, there’s so much to do around the lake you might as well book a weekend trip.

The best time to view good ol’ Fuji-san is in April when the cherry blossoms bloom, November when maple leaves turn vermillion, or in winter when the dry air makes for a picture-perfect, cloud-free view of the snow-capped mountain. Hint: the best photo spot is along the northeastern shore of Lake Kawaguchiko, next to the Kawaguchiko Music Forest. 

Getting there: Lake Kawaguchi is accessible by express bus (from Shinjuku, Shibuya and Tokyo stations, about two to two and a half hours) and express train (from Shinjuku station, take the JR Chuo line to Otsuki Station, transfer to Fujikyu Railway and get off at Kawaguchiko Station. The whole journey takes about two hours).

Chiba City, Chiba prefecture

Chiba City, Chiba prefecture

Most visitors to Tokyo only set foot in Chiba when they disembark the aeroplane. However, Chiba has much more to offer than just Narita Airport – and Chiba City has something for everyone. Art lover? Stop by the Chiba City Museum of Art to see ukiyo-e and traditional Japanese ink paintings. Need to entertain the kids? The Chiba Zoological Park has a wide variety of animals, including red pandas, giraffes and penguins. History buff? The Chiba City Folk Museum is housed in a replica of the Inohana Castle and is dedicated to the history of Chiba City. 

Getting there: From Tokyo Station, take the JR Sobu line and you'll reach Chiba City in 40 minutes.

Mt Jinba, Tokyo & Kanagawa prefectures

Mt Jinba, Tokyo & Kanagawa prefectures

A crowd-free alternative to Mt Takao is Mt Jinba, located on the border of western Tokyo and Kanagawa. The hike to the top is better suited for trekkers looking for an advanced course: at 857m, Mt Jinba is taller and has a better variety of trails than Mt Takao’s more predictable, not to mention shorter, courses.

If you’re really looking to get a workout, you can always hike up Mt Takao, veer off to Mt Jinba, snap a quick pic of Mt Fuji and the odd-looking horse statue at the peak, then head down Mt Jinba and reward yourself with fresh soba noodles and beer. Don’t worry, hiking paths are clearly marked and the majority of the signs are in English. 

Getting there: From Shinjuku Station, take the Keio or Chuo line to Takao Station, then hop on the bus towards Jinba Kogenshita and get off at the last stop.

Yokohama, Kanagawa prefecture

Yokohama, Kanagawa prefecture

If you want to head out of Tokyo but don’t want to spend too much time on the train, Yokohama is the perfect choice. Just down south in Tokyo’s neighbouring prefecture Kanagawa, Yokohama is known for its oceanside views and delicious Chinese food in Motomachi-Chukagai, also known as Chinatown . The area can be a bit kitschy – expect a lot of vermillion and pandas – but remember, you’re there for the food. Wear your elastic pants and indulge at an all-you-can-eat restaurant, or wander the town and taste test street food – xiaolongbao, char siu bao, shu mai and bubble tea – it’s completely okay to walk and eat here. 

After indulging, walk off your meal at the nearby Yamashita Park with breezy views of the Port of Yokohama, or do some shopping at the Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse . To finish off the day, catch the sunset at the top of the Cosmo Clock 21 Ferris Wheel, once the world’s tallest Ferris wheel at 107.5m. 

Getting there: Yokohama is easily accessible from Tokyo. The Tokyu Toyoko, JR Tokaido, JR Yokosuka and JR Keihin-Tohoku lines connect central Tokyo to Yokohama in approximately 30 minutes. 

Karuizawa, Nagano prefecture

Karuizawa, Nagano prefecture

Nestled at the foot of Mount Asama, the most active volcano in Honshu, lies the upmarket resort town of Karuizawa. Many wealthier Tokyoites own second homes here. Start your day at Karuizawa Ginza in the old part of the town, with its traditional shops, cafés, restaurants and stalls selling locally-produced jams and honey. Serious shoppers searching for serious discounts should head to the Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plaza near the train station. This discount shopping outlet is home to over 200 stores set in a sprawling and beautifully landscaped area – great for kids to run wild while you splash the cash.

When your credit cards scream for mercy, escape to the open-air Tombo-no-yu bath house for a peaceful soak. Finish off your day at Harunire Terrace and order yourself a refreshing pint of the locally-brewed Yona Yona ale.

Getting there: Karuizawa is just over an hour from Tokyo on the Hokuriku Shinkansen. Get the JR Tokyo Wide Pass (¥10,180) for unlimited travel on all JR trains in the Kanto area over three consecutive days (available to foreign residents of Japan and international tourists). There are also highway buses  departing from Shinjuku and Ikebukuro Stations, which will take about three hours. 

Sayama Hills, Saitama prefecture

  • Attractions

Sayama Hills, Saitama prefecture

Best known for inspiring Hayao Miyazaki and the movie ‘My Neighbour Totoro’, Sayama Hills , also called Totoro no Mori, is a breath of fresh air just outside Greater Tokyo. Channel your inner Satsuki and Mei and pack a bento lunch to wander around the 3,500 hectares of forest with over 1,200 species of flora and fauna  and 19 hiking trails .

Be sure to stop by Kurosuke’s House (open Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday 10am-3pm) – the visitor’s centre – to pick up maps and learn about the nature reserve and its influence on Studio Ghibli and Totoro. You might not get to befriend a giant tanuki or ride in a cat bus (you’ll have to stop by the Ghibli Museum for that) but the fresh air and secluded forest will certainly add a sense of childlike wonder to your trip. 

While you’re in the area, stop by the nearby Sayama Lake reservoir. The lake is pleasant in any season, but especially in winter, when you can easily spot a snow-capped Mt Fuji on the horizon. 

Getting there: From Shinjuku Station take the JR Yamanote line to Ikebukuro, then transfer to the Ikebukuro line and alight at Nishi-Tokorozawa Station. Take the Sayama line to Seibu Kyujo-Mae Station. It will be a 20-minute walk to reach the forest. 

Katsunuma, Yamanashi prefecture

Katsunuma, Yamanashi prefecture

Although better known for sake than vino, Japan has actually been producing amazing wines using locally-grown grapes since the 1800s. Katsunuma, in Yamanashi prefecture, is home to 31 wineries, which between them account for about 30 percent of all Japanese wine. Many offer tasting sessions and lessons in winemaking as well as tours.

Experience it yourself at Budo no Oka (Grape Hill). Here, you can soak in magnificent views of the surrounding vineyards and the Japanese Southern Alps to the west – Yamanashi is home to Mount Fuji – while tasting more than 200 varieties of wine. Aside from wine tastings, there’s plenty more to enjoy on site, including a terrific barbecue restaurant and open-air hot spring.

Getting there: Katsunuma is about 90 minutes on the JR Chuo line Limited Express Azusa, or Kaiji from Tokyo’s Shinjuku Station to Katsunuma-Budokyo Station.

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JRailPass.com » Japan Travel Blog » Mount Fuji from Tokyo: Day trip itinerary

Mount Fuji from Tokyo: Day trip itinerary

November 8, 2022

Monte Fuji al amanecer desde el lago Kawaguchi

A day-trip from Tokyo to Mount Fuji and the lesser-known Hakone five lakes area is among the favorite experiences of many travelers to Japan, so here is our guide on how to visit this famous landmark with the Japan Rail Pass. Whether you prefer climbing or a more relaxed pace, we have the perfect guide for you make the most out of this trip!

Let’s start with some interesting facts about Fuji-san : Mt Fuji is not only the highest mountain ( 3.776 meters) , and Japan’s most climbed and depicted one, but it is also the pure representation of good luck and good fortune for all Japanese citizens. This is a curious fact, considering the mountain is actually a giant volcano.

Nevertheless, what is even more fascinating is that it is not a single volcano. It is part of three volcanoes, one on top of the other. The bottom one is Komitake volcano, and the second layer is Kofuji, while Fuji is the youngest of all three. Although officially classified as active, it has a very low eruption risk, since it was last active in 1708.

Interesting fact: Did you know that Mount Fuji is part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park , located less than 100 kilometers away from Japan’s capital?

Mount Fuji

Climbing Mount Fuji

All travelers eager to climb the top of Mount Fuji must bear in mind that the climbing season lasts from July until September . During summer all hiking trails are open.

In any other period, trails and mountain huts will be closed, so it can be very dangerous for anyone to attempt climbing on their own.

Also read: Mount Fuji climbing guide

To climb Mount Fuji, there are four Fuji trails, which will take you to the mountaintop:

  • Yoshida trail   – 2,300m (altitude of head trail)
  • Subashiri trail – 2,000m
  • Gotemba trail  – 1,450m
  • Fujinomiya trail – 2,400m

All trails can be accessed via a mountain bus, taking passengers from one of the five 5th stations (although they are all named 5th station, these are different stations ), with the Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station, at Yoshida trail, being the most popular one.

Climbing Mt Fuji

Tokyo to Mount Fuji via Gotemba

Apart from the Yoshida trail, the  Gotemba trail is one of the most popular routes among visitors. Travel time by train is a little over 2 hours from Tokyo. To get there:

  • Take JR Tokaido line for Kozu from Tokyo Station, using your JR Pass
  • Once at Kozu (Kanagawa), take the JR Gotemba Line for Numazu
  • Get off at Gotemba Station | final destination

Tokyo to Gotemba

Note: The Hyperdia screenshot shows you a detailed description of a journey example with pre-selected departure time and date. Note that the train trip will be free of charge for all Japan Rail Pass holders. The displayed price is only valid for passengers with no JR pass.

Once at Gotemba station, take a bus to Subashiri 5th station , the gateway to climbing Mount Fuji. The bus operated by Fujikyu to reach the Gotemba climbing route. A one-way bus journey is about an hour long, at the cost of 1.540 yen (round trips are 2.060 yen).

Please note that Fujikyu is not part of the Japan Rail Group, which means the Japan Rail Pass does not cover buses ran by this company , and no seat reservations are available .

Book your Japan Rail Pass now

Mount Fuji from the Shinkansen trains

Summer is also the time when Mount Fuji can be clearly seen from a Shinkansen train leaving Tokyo towards Nagoya – Osaka – Kyoto. The window view is impressive – make sure to reserve your D or E seat (C or D in Green Cars ), which is the right side from Tokyo, left side from Kyoto .

Fuji bullet train

What to see in the Mount Fuji area

As we have already mentioned, Mount Fuji forms part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. Hakone is one of the most popular destinations for tourists, located less than 100 km. from the capital city of Japan.

Famous for its scenic area, Ashi lake , hot springs and breathtaking views of Mount Fuji, Hakone is more than worth the visit.

Please check our new Hakone guide for more information on visiting the area.

LakeAshi and Mt Fuji Hakone

Best time to visit Mount Fuji and its area

Also, please remember that the best time to visit any of these places is the hiking (summer) season , from July to mid-September . These are the months that promise sunshine, good weather, and fantastic views.

Unfortunately, travelers who decide to make this trip in October or March may not be able to enjoy the area’s scenery fully due to heavy rains or clouded mountain peaks.

Tokyo to Hakone with the JR Pass

Here’s how to get from Tokyo to Hakone with the bullet train :

  • Take the Tokaido Shinkansen (Kodama and some Hikari trains, please check) from Tokyo Station (covered by the Japan Rail Pass)
  • Get off at Odawara station
  • Take the Hakone Tozan train for Hakone-Yumoto (not covered by JR)
  • Get off at Hakone-Itabashi. This is your final destination.

Also very popular among the locals are Fujigoko or Fuji’s Five Lakes , which are located in the northern area of Mount Fuji.

Tokyo to Fuji Five Lakes

Kawaguchiko (or lake Kawaguchi) , Saiko, Yamanakako, Shojiko, and Motosuko are the Fuji Five Lakes. Each of them offers unforgettable views and outdoor activities, including fishing, hiking, and camping.  Most hotels in the area are located close to the five lakes too.

Mount Fuji as seen at sunrise across Lake Kawaguchi

To get to the Fuji Five Lakes:

  • Take the JR Chuo Line from Shinjuku Station (Tokyo) to Otsuki Station (Azusa trains, covered by the JR Pass).
  • Once at Otsuki, take Fujikyu Railway to Kawaguchiko Station (not covered by the JR Pass).

Kyoto and Osaka to Hakone

Some travelers prefer to visit the area coming from the Kansai region (Osaka and Kyoto). Here’s how to get there from the west with a  bullet train :

  • Take the Tokaido Shinkansen (Kodama and some Hikari trains, please check) from Kyoto Station or Shin-Osaka station (covered by the Japan Rail Pass)
  • Take the Hakone Tozan train for Hakone-Yumoto Station (not covered by JR)
  • Get off at Hakone-Itabashi Station. This is your final destination and the gateway for the Mount Fuji area.

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  • 10 Best Day Trips from Tokyo

Explore more with this list of epic ideas of the best day trips from Tokyo!

Tokyo is one of the largest megacities in the world and you will never be bored with what it offers. It doesn’t stop there, though. There are many places which are easily accessible from Tokyo that a lot of travelers miss before moving to other popular destinations such as Kyoto or Osaka. Here are some ideas of day trips from Tokyo to add to your bucket list.

1. Kamakura

Once the political capital of Japan, Kamakura is home to beautiful temples and shrines, where locals enjoy spending their weekends. It’s also famous for one of the most bustling beaches in Japan.

day trips jr pass tokyo

2. Yokohama

A magnificent port city with the second largest population in Japan. Find unique souvenirs at Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse and enjoy delicious cuisine at the biggest Chinatown in Japan.

day trips jr pass tokyo

3. Hitachi Seaside Park

The beautiful blue nemophila flowers reach their peak bloom from mid-April to early May, although the park offers amazings view of flowers in its immaculately maintained gardens throughout the year.

day trips jr pass tokyo

4. Arakurayama Sengen Park

If you want to take the perfect “iconic Japan” picture with Mt.Fuji, a beautiful pagoda, and cherry blossoms, visit this scenic park located near the Lake Kawaguchi in Yamanashi Prefecture.

day trips jr pass tokyo

5. Chichibu

Just an hour and a half from Tokyo by train, Chichibu is a great day trip destination to immerse yourself in nature. Enjoy a boat ride in Nagatoro river, or the breathtaking fields of pink mountain phlox, known as shibazakura in Japan.

day trips jr pass tokyo

With its scenic mountain views and a plenty of onsen hotsprings, Hakone is one of the most popular day trip destinations for Tokyoites looking to avoid the hustle and bustle. It is also one of the best places to enjoy autumn foliage in Japan.

day trips jr pass tokyo

A beautiful small city in the mountains with several UNESCO World Heritage sites. The Nikko Toshogu Shrine is a must-visit if you have time for a day trip from Tokyo.

day trips jr pass tokyo

8. Fuji-Q Highland

Located at the foot of Mt. Fuji, Fuji-Q Highland offers a wide range of experiences from scream-inducing roller coasters, to gentle attractions for children.

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9. Mt. Nokogiri Hiking

If you are looking for a refreshing hiking experience near metropolitan Tokyo, Mt. Nokogiri could be a good option. Its easy access from Tokyo and the famous jagged cliff lookout point attracts many nature-seekers from neighbouring urban areas.

day trips jr pass tokyo

10. Kawagoe

Located less than an hour from Tokyo, here you are able to walk the streets of “Little Edo,” which are lined with historical buildings where you can enjoy great local foods and seasonal festivals.

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Easy Day Trips From Tokyo

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If you are looking for the best day trips to take from Tokyo, the following are places that you should not miss:

Kawaguchiko

Mount fuji at Lake kawaguchiko. Milky Way. fuijsun in japan

Kawaguchiko, a small town in the Yamanashi Prefecture, is quite popular for its fantastic views of Mount Fuji. It offers some of the best locations for taking breathtaking and spectacular photographs of Mt. Fuji and Lake Kawaguchiko.

From Tokyo, travel to Kawaguchiko takes about three hours either by highway bus or train.

Enoshima bay, Enishima Island, Autumn season in Kamakura, Japan

A small island off the Kanagawa mainland, Enoshima is home to numerous historical and scenic attractions, including the Enoshima Shrine (a three-shrine complex that holds the statue of Benten, the goddess of wealth and patron of Enoshima), the Enoshima Island Spa (a resort spa that has pools and hot spring baths), and the Iwaya Caves.

The fastest way to get to Enoshima from Tokyo is by train, which takes about two hours.

Panoramic view of Yokohama Minato Mirai 21 buildings

Only half an hour from Tokyo by train, Yokohama is Kanagawa Prefecture’s capital and Japan’s second largest city. It started out as a small fishing town and has now become one of the country’s major metropolises.

Some of its highly-rated attractions are the Chinatown, Ramen Museum, Cup Noodles Museum, Sankeien Garden, Kirin Beer Village, and Yamashita Park.

Kitain temple in springtime at Kawagoe town saitama in Japan

Frequently dubbed as “Little Edo,” Kawagoe is home to numerous architectural structures that were built during the Edo Period, between the 1600s and the 1800s.

The Warehouse District, where important trade and merchant activities occurred back then, is now the most iconic tourist spot of the city. It consists of lines of clay-walled buildings that were used as warehouses in the olden times, but are now restaurants, shops, and other establishments. Found nearby are other attractions such as the Bell Tower, Museum of Kurazukuri, Kawagoe Festival Museum, and Kashiya Yokocho.

Mount Takao

Takao mountain,tokyo,japan autumn

If you want to go hiking, take a 50-minute train ride to Takaosan and visit Mount Takao.

Considered sacred by the locals, Mount Takao offers different hiking trails of varying difficulties, and a cable car service that goes up to the observation deck that has an astounding view of Tokyo. Close to the mountain’s peak stands the Yakuoin temple, where visitors can pray to the mountain gods and ask for good fortune.

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10+ Awesome Day Trips from Tokyo, Japan

If you’ve spent plenty of time in Tokyo and need some places to visit outside the main city – you’re in luck! There are so many day trips from Tokyo that will allow you to stretch those legs away from the crowds. From other large cities like Kyoto to enjoying the breathtaking views on top of Mount Takao, these are the best day trips from Tokyo

Thanks to Japan’s fantastic transportation infrastructure, it’s easy to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city! Any of these trips can be done as a day trip from Tokyo typically by train! You can see all the ideas on this map . You can purchase your JR Pass here and check out my guide on how to use the JR Pass .

While Tokyo is a major city, don’t be overwhelmed! Here is an awesome guide to Tokyo Districts to help get you situated in this incredible city.

If you like this post, be sure to sign up for my e-mail list for travel inspiration (and get your FREE budget printable), or connect with me on Facebook , Instagram , Twitter , or Pinterest .

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Jogashima Island

Recommended by mia of walk a mile with me.

Located around 73 kilometers (or 45 miles) south of Tokyo, in the Kanagawa Prefecture, Jogashima Island is one of the best day trips from Tokyo. Filled with stunning spots, including a scenic nature park with panoramic views over the Pacific, incredible cliffs made of volcanic rock, and viewpoints of Mount Fuji over the Sagami Bay, you won’t regret visiting Jogashima Island. While the island is relatively small, covering an area of only one square kilometer, this makes it super easy to walk around. I recommend taking the southern hiking trail so you can walk by the top sights, including Cape Nagatsuro, Umanose-Domon, and Jogashima Lighthouse. I also recommend walking across Jogashima-Ohashi Bridge, and trying some of Jogashima’s fresh tuna! No joke, the tuna donburi I had at Jogashima Island was the best I’ve ever had.

But how do you get to Jogashima? From Shinjuku Station, there are a few ways of getting to Jogashima Island, all of which require both train and bus. It takes anywhere from 2 to 2.5 hours to get there, so be prepared for a long day, with round-trip transportation costing around ¥3100. Alternatively, you can drive to Jogashima from Tokyo, which will take around 1.5 hours. However, you will have to pay tolls.

Jogashima Island is one of the best day trips from Tokyo

How to get to Jogashima Island from Tokyo: Use the Keikyu Kurihama Line to get to Misakiguchi Station and then take the bus to Jogashima.

How long it’ll take to get to Jogashima Island: 90 Minutes

Read more: Essential tips for Visiting Japan

Recommended by Me, The Directionally Challenged Traveler

Kamakura is a great day trip from Tokyo to get away from the crowds! The peaceful atmosphere with numerous shrines, temples, AND beaches makes Kamakura an ideal destination. The top thing to do in Kamakura is visit the Kotokuin Temple to see the Great Buddha. It stands at 37 feet (11.3 meters) high, and even higher with the base. It weighs 121 tons (242,000) pounds, and it will literally stop you in your tracks. Even if you do nothing else in Kamakura, seeing this statue makes the trip worth it.

There are many temples and shrines to choose from so you can spend the day wandering around.  Hasedera Temple and Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine are two of the most recommended temples to visit! There are trails nearby the temples that you can hike through the mountains.

The Enoshima area is a great place to spend time if you have the opportunity. It is an island with hot springs, lighthouses, caves, and more adventures to visit. 

Kamakura  is one of the best day trips from Tokyo

How to get to Kamakura from Tokyo: Take the JR Yokosuka Line from Tokyo Station to Kamakura Station.

How long it’ll take to get to Kamakura: One hour

Recommended by Victoria of Guide Your Travel

Nikko is located around 2 hours north of Tokyo and makes for a fantastic day trip. Nikko is the best place to access the nearby Nikko National Park and a fantastic way to experience Japan’s incredible nature. A great way to get to Nikko is by bus which is affordable and fast. Nikko has some incredible temples and historic architecture to explore. Definitely make sure to pack your camera as there are lots to see and do. The Rinnjoi Temple, the Taiyun Temple, and the Toshogu Shrine are only a few examples of stunning places you absolutely need to visit during your time in Nikko. If you’re up for a day packed full of activities you should head into the national park and explore some of the natural beauty in this area. The Kegon Falls are well worth a visit and represent one of Japan’s most famous waterfalls. Lake Chuzenji is another incredible place that will absolutely take your breath away. Then there is the Shinkyo Bridge which is listed as a World Heritage Site. This cute little bridge is the perfect photo subject and a great place to get one last picture of your day trip before you head back to Japan.

day trips jr pass tokyo

Recommended by Louis from Outdoor Explorer

Despite being the second largest city in Japan, Yokohama is often criminally overlooked by travelers visiting Tokyo. It is located only 40 kilometres southwest of the capital and is easily accessible by trains that run every few minutes. Expect a 30 minute ride costing around ¥500 each way.

There’s plenty to do in Yokohama, although the most popular would have to be a visit to Chinatown. It is the largest Chinatown in Japan, and indeed one of the largest in the world!

It has a rich history dating back over 150 years, when Chinese people began immigrating into Japan. Today, you can visit a wide variety of Chinese restaurants here, and enjoy delicacies such as steamed buns, dumplings, shumai, Peking duck and more!

You can take a seat in one of the many, large restaurants, or wander around and enjoy street food from the vendors. This is a great way to try a bite size piece of many different foods!

Other popular Yokohama attractions include the Minato Mirai port area, which contains a theme park, a museum about cup noodles (yes, you read that right!) and an observatory on top of a building that until a few years ago was Japan’s tallest.

If you want to relax a little and get back to nature, visit the Sankeien Garden, located not far from the port area. It’s a traditional Japanese garden, complete with beautiful cherry blossoms in the spring and fall leaves in autumn.

Yokohama  is one of the best day trips from Tokyo

How to get to Yokohama from Tokyo: Take the JR Tokaido Line, Yokosuka line, or Keihin-Tohoku line to the Yokohoma Station

How long it’ll take to get to Yokohama 50 minutes

day trips jr pass tokyo

Lake Kawaguchiko

Lake Kawaguchiko is the most easily accessible of the Fuji Five Lakes with direct train and bus connections – making it a great day trip from Tokyo. Mount Fuji is located at the lake’s eastern side, but the best views are from the Northern shores. However, just because you’re close to Fuji, that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to see it. Visibility tends to be best in the early morning (before 9:00) and in the late afternoons. Even if there are clouds, keep your camera nearby, you never know when you’ll get a glimpse!

Lake Kawaguchiko is known as a hot springs town – and a few of them are open to non-staying guests during the day. Hotel Mifujien is localed on the Northeastern shore. While the gender-separated bathing facilities are dated, the views of Mount Fuji make up for it. Kaiun no Yu is another ryokan open to non-staying guests but without the views of Mt. Fuji.

If it’s warm out, feel free to walk around town and take in some of the small shops. You can also take a paddle boat or kayak on the lake to really embrace the views. There are plenty of t hings to do in Lake Kawaguchiko that you could easily spend more than one day here.

Paddle boats at Lake Kawaguchiko

How to get to Lake Kawaguchiko from Tokyo: The bus from Shinjuku Station or Tokyo Station is the least complicated way and costs 1800 Yen ($18). By train, take the JR Chuo Line from Shinjuku Station to Otsuki Station. Once there, transfer to the Fujikyu Railway Line that will take you to Kawaguchiko Station.

How long it’ll take to get to Lake Kawaguchiko 2 hours

Recommended by Anne of Pretraveller Travel Blog

A great day trip from Tokyo is to explore the mountainous  Hakone area near Mt Fuji , which has great attractions to visit including hot springs, art galleries, volcanic areas and historic sights. 

The gateway to the Hakone area is Hakone-Yumato Station, and from there you can travel in a loop around the area.  You can get to Hakone-Yumato Station either by Shinkansen train from Tokyo Station to Odawara Station and then transfer, or direct on the Limited Express Romance Car Train from Shinjuku Station.  To get around the area you should purchase a Hakone Free Pass, which includes all local trains, buses and most ropeways around the area, and can also includes the Romance Car train return from Shinjuku Station in Tokyo.

The main Hakone attractions to visit include:

  • The train trip from Hakone-Yumato Station to Gora Station – where you climb through the mountains via switchbacks from 96m to 541m above sea level.
  • Hakone Kowaki-en Yunessun Hot Spring Theme Park near Gora, which includes both a fun hotspring and water park area where you can wear swimmers, as well as a more traditional onsen area without clothing, with separate male and female areas.
  • Gora Museums include options to view ancient and modern Japanese and Chinese art, a Picasso display, an outdoor art gallery and much more.
  • Catch the Hakone Ropeway to visit the Owakudani volcanic area, and then do a pirate boat trip across Lake Ashi, with views of Mt Fuji before returning to Hakone-Yumato Station by bus to then return to Tokyo

Hakone  is one of the best day trips from Tokyo

How to get to Hakone from Tokyo: Take the Sanyo/Tokaido JR LIne from Tokyo station to Odawara Station (about 35 minutes) then you can take a local train or bus to get to downtown Hakone area.

How long it’ll take to get to Hakone 50 minutes

Mount Takao

Recommended by audrey of that backpacker.

If you’re looking for an easy nature escape from Tokyo, look no further than Mount Takao! Located just an hour away by train, this destination offers hiking trails, temples, and delicious food. Going on a  day trip to Mount Takao  is very easy. Take the Keio Line departing from Shinjuku and ride all the way to Takaosanguchi Station which is the last stop on the line. Just make sure you get on the express train to avoid unnecessary stops.

Once you arrive, you can make your way up Mount Takao three different ways: you can ride the cable car (which is really a funicular and the steepest line in all of Japan!), you can take the chair lift, or you can walk up with your own two feet. The first two options take you about halfway up the mountain. During your visit to Mount Takao, you’ll get to experience the Cedar Walk, which is a beautiful section of the trail that’s lined with towering trees. You’ll eventually reach Takao-san Yakuo-in Yuki-ji, a Buddhist temple that dates back to 744; many people come here to pray for good luck.

Over the course of your hike, you’ll encounter multiple street food stands serving chewy rice flour dumplings, pancakes filled with red bean paste, and matcha-flavored cheese tarts. If you’re still hungry at the end of your visit, there are restaurants at the base of the mountain that specializes in soba noodles.  The nice thing about Mount Takao is that it feels worlds away from Tokyo, but it’s super easy to reach. This is a great day trip you won’t want to miss. 

Mount Takao  is one of the best day trips from Tokyo

How to get to Mount Takao from Tokyo: Take the Sanyo/Tokaido JR LIne from Tokyo station to Odawara Station (about 35 minutes) then you can take a local train or bus to get to downtown Hakone area.

How long it’ll take to get to Mount Takao 50 minutes

Recommended by Cortney of Tin Can Living

Enoshima is a beautiful coastal town in Japan and a great day trip from Tokyo. It’s less than an hour away by train, so why not spend the day exploring this relaxing seaside village? Enoshima has everything you need for a perfect day out with friends or family – lots of interesting shops to browse, delicious restaurants to try, and breathtaking views that are sure to take your breath away!

There are many things to do in the small town of Enoshima.  One of the most popular attractions is to take in the views from a wonderful observation tower. This vantage point provides a bird’s eye view that spans across Kamakura, one of Japan’s most historic towns, and Fujisawa, which was once known for its beautiful tea plantations.

The aquarium is a spectacular place to visit.  It’s a large, indoor facility that houses both salt and freshwater fish from all over the world. The tanks are huge with some rooms holding as many as 20 giant whale sharks!

The town also has an intriguing Buddhist temple called Chinju-Ji Temple which was built in 1814 by a shogun who ruled during Japan’s Edo period. This shrine is not only a beautiful sight to see, but it also has a beautiful garden and pond with carp swimming in the lotus flowers.

While you are in Enoshima, you can also relax in the nearby beach area.  It’s a great spot for swimming in the ocean, walking along the water’s edge, and looking out at Mount Fuji. Enoshima is a perfect day-trip destination from Tokyo for all to enjoy.

One of the longer day trips from Tokyo is the incredible city of Kyoto . It’s a 2-3 hour Shinkansen ride depending on which one you take, or you can take an overnight bus to really optimize your time in Kyoto! The night buses leave Tokyo between 11pm-12pm and arrive in Kyoto around 6 or 7am.

There are a few top items to see in Kyoto in a short time – including Kinkakuji Temple (the Golden Pavilion). This temple stands tall in the middle of a small lake and is breathtaking. Built in 1397, this Zen Temple was the residence of Yoshimitsu Ashikaga, a military commander. The building is covered in gold leaf, so it shimmers in the sun! Nijo Castle was used as a palace for hundreds of years before being donated to the city and opened for viewing. Another temple in Kyoto is the Kiyomizudera Temple recognized for it’s large balcony overlooking the country side.

If you prefer to hike, and experience a temple first hand – the Fushimi Inari shrine. While known for being very “ Instagrammable ” it’s so much more than that. The over 10,000 torii gates are dedicated to the god of rice. At the beginning, you’ll be in a massive crowd, but as you climb the stairs over Mount Inari, the crowds will dwindle, and you’ll be left alone in peace to take in the incredible views.

Travel Tip: Reserve the seat E so you can see Mt. Fuji on a sunny day!

Fushimi Inari Gates in Kyoto

How to get to Kyoto from Tokyo: Take the JR Line from Tokyo Station or Shinagawa Station in Tokyo to Kyoto Station. The Hikari Shinkansen is shorter than the Kodama.

How long it’ll take to get to Kyoto 2 hours 45 minutes

Read More: Ultimate Guide to Kyoto, Japan

Guma Prefecture

Recommended by kate of passports and playgrounds.

Have you ever wondered how the iconic Japanese Daruma dolls originated? The Shorinzan Daruma-ji Temple is the origin of these traditional round dolls that are used to make wishes. This is a great place to stretch your legs if you are driving up to  Kusatsu Onsen , or want to make it a day trip from Tokyo. You can even purchase your own daruma and bring it home.

Here is how the daruma doll works. Daruma dolls are seen as a talisman of good luck and encouragement. They are often picked up for the New Year to help those continue with their personal goals or resolutions. Visitors will often see daruma dolls at Buddhist temples, however, the Shorinzan Daruma-ji Temple is where this doll was created. The coolest part is that you can photograph the stacks of Daruma dolls that have been brought to Shorinzan Daruma-ji Temple.

If you want a daruma doll for purchase, here is what you need to do. First, you select a daruma doll. Though these dolls are typically red, you can pick up a daruma doll that can be pink, gold, purple, or even blue!

You will then notice that the doll doesn’t have any eyes. This is where the buyer comes into play. The buyer will need to think of a goal or a wish and color the left eye of the daruma doll. When your wish comes true, you can then color the other eye of the doll. At the end of the year, many people will donate the Daruma to the temple and buy a new one to make another wish.

Address :  296 Hanadakamachi, Takasaki, Gunma 370-0868

Hours of Operation : 10:00 to 16:00

Traveling to  Shorinzan Daruma-ji Temple :

There are multiple ways to travel to Shorinzan Daruma-ji Temple from Tokyo Station, and it all depends on your budget and what is best for your family. Read more to determine which option works best for you.

  • Travel By Car : Driving to Shorinzan Daruma-ji Temple is such an amazing experience. For us, it took us 2 hours to get to our final destination, which included potty breaks, and visits to the highway rest areas ( michi no eki ). The  michi no eki   are often tailored to a specific theme or showcase local attractions including farmer’s markets. Free parking is available at the temple. Tolls average around 5720-2250 yen depending on which routes to take from Tokyo to Shorinzan Daruma-ji Temple.
  • Travel By Train/Bus : You can take the Jōetsu Shinkansen from Tokyo Station to Takasaki Station, which is about a 50-minute ride. From Takasaki Station, you would need to walk to the Gururin Shorinzan Bus Line, which is on Platform #4. Once you are on the bus, you have a 20-minute ride before you need to get off at Shorinzan Iriguchi. From Shorinzan Iriguchi, it is just a short 4-minute walk from the bus stop. Travel time is approx. 1 hour and 25 minutes. 

day trips jr pass tokyo

Osaka is another day trip that would be a long day, and ideally you’d have more than a day to explore. However, sometimes it’s impossible, and seeing a place for a short amount of time is still better than not seeing a place at all. Osaka is nicknamed “Japan’s kitchen” because of the variety of foods available. There is so much competition in Osaka that each restaurant has their own take on traditional recipes – and for really cheap! The heart of the kitchen has to be Osaka’s entertainment district – Dotonbori . It comes alive at night for dinner and late-night snacks. Right next to Dotonbori is Kuromon Ichiba, a covered market where you can find plenty of snacks to try and souvenirs to bring home!

There are plenty of things to see in Osaka during the day as well! You can take the Shinkansen using your JR pass for a 3 hour ride from Tokyo to Osaka. Start the day at Osaka Castle. This beautiful castle has incredible views of the city and is a museum inside. To get a different view of the city, you can take the Suijo Bus Aqua-Liner and enjoy the water. It’s a great way to see a lot of the city in a short amount of time and costs less than 1000 Yen ($10 USD). If you prefer an aerial view and have a great weather day, then visit Abeno Harukas – the tallest skyscraper in Japan. There’s a 360 degree observation deck!

In the afternoon start heading downtown – the Shinsekai area has plenty of izakayas (Japanese style pubs), the Tsutenkaku tower, and of course – plenty of arcades! Be sure to check out my food guide to Dotonbori here. Once you’ve had your fill of food, it’s time to head back to Tokyo!

Dotonbori Osaka is one of the best day trips from Tokyo

How to get to Osaka from Tokyo: Take the JR Line from Tokyo Station or Shinagawa Station in Tokyo to Shin-Osaka.

How long it’ll take to get to Osaka 2 and a half hours

Have a favorite Day trip from Tokyo that isn’t on the list? Let me know and I’ll add it as a reader favorite!

Pin “day trips from tokyo” for later.

Best Day Trips from Tokyo

About The Author

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8 thoughts on “10+ Awesome Day Trips from Tokyo, Japan”

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As fascinating as Tokyo is, I love the fact that it also lends itself to so many incredible day trips! The views at Lake Kawaguchiko are so breathtaking!

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Japan & Tokyo are defintiely on our bucket list! Can’t wait to be able to travel in this region again. Jogashima Island looks gorgeous. Adding that to the long list! lol

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This is excellent, Japan is still intimidating to me as a destination with kids. Your article makes it sound very achievable though. Thanks for sharing.

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It was intimidating to me and I don’t have kids! So I can only imagine. However, it was much easier to get around than I imagined!

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Awesome Day Trips Possible From Tokyo Using the JR Pass

Photo by cowardlion/Shutterstock

Awesome Day Trips Possible From Tokyo Using the JR Pass

Sightseeing

Allowing you to take Japan's convenient system of bullet trains around the country, the JR pass is well worth it for those wanting to explore outside of the big cities. Places that would be impossible to check out in a day by car are opened up to day-trippers by the speed and convenience of these bullet trains, also known locally as the shinkansen. Here are some amazing places, a little far from Tokyo yet easy to check out in a day from the capital.

table of contents

Aizu-Wakamatsu

day trips jr pass tokyo

Photo by Teerasak Chinnasot/Shutterstock

At a five hour drive from Tokyo, Yamagata and its incredible scenery is almost impossible as a day trip by car, but that all changes with the bullet train. With the town of Yamadera and its beautiful mountainside temple served by JR Yamadera Station, it's easy to head there for a day trip. Take the bullet train to Sendai Station and transfer to the Senzan Line which goes straight to Yamadera. Travel time takes a little under three hours and you'll pass by some beautiful scenery on the way. The temple itself is a short and easy 30 minutes climb up the mountain. On the way back, consider spending some time exploring Sendai, one of northern Japan's biggest cities. The city is famous for its delicious beef tongue and is well worth stopping there for dinner. Take the Tohoku-Hokkaido or Akita Shinkansen to Sendai and Senzan Line towards Yamagata. Ticket prices would normally cost around 24,000 JPY traveling from Tokyo and back in a day, so the pass almost redeems itself already from this one day trip. It works out just over 4,000 JPY per day with the cheapest JR pass.

day trips jr pass tokyo

Photo by Richie Chan/Shutterstock

Often nicknamed 'Little Kyoto' for its historic district, Kanazawa is a picturesque town on Japan's rarely traveled to west coast. The small city is full of historic Edo-era buildings, samurai residences, temples and beautiful Japanese gardens to explore and it's easy to see why it's often compared with the popular ancient capital. In Kanazawa you'll find a traditional side to Japan that isn't spoiled by the crowds of tourists, like many feel is the case with Kyoto. The bullet train takes you straight to Kanazawa Station from Tokyo, and would normally set you back almost 30,000 JPY in transportation for the day trip.

day trips jr pass tokyo

A castle town in Fukushima Prefecture, known for its fascinating samurai traditions that can still be seen around the city, Aizu-Wakamatsu is about three hours and one transfer from Tokyo. The picturesque and beautifully preserved old town of Ouchijuku is also a popular trip from Aizu-Wakamatsu, however it takes almost an hour to get there and isn't covered by the JR pass. It's recommended to spend a night in Aizu if you're planning to go there. There's plenty to do on a day trip just around the city however. The normal price taking JR trains to and from Aizu-Wakamatsu would cost over 18,000 JPY return.

day trips jr pass tokyo

Photo by Travel mania/Shutterstock

While it's not quite a bullet train, the Limited Express Azusa takes passengers from Shinjuku to the heart of the Japanese Alps in two and a half hours. Matsumoto is famous for its castle, nicknamed the 'Crow Castle' for its unique black exterior, it's one of the few original castles still standing in the country. There's plenty to do outside of just the castle here however, such as checking out the quaint traditional shops in Nawate-dori or seeing Japanese oldest school, the Former Kaichi School. At a cost of 6,000 JPY one way, you'll save around 12,000 JPY for this trip.

At two and a half hours from Tokyo, Kyoto is actually quite doable as a day trip from the capital. However it's not recommended as there is too much to fit into a day and you won't be able to see much of Japan's historic capital. The region around Kyoto is also full of places for day trips such as Nara, Osaka and Lake Biwa, so it's recommended to stay here for at least a few days. Make sure to activate your JR pass for when you'll be using the most bullet trains or long distance trains during your trip. You won't save much using the JR pass for inner-city travel. If you're just planning on visiting the Kansai area, it might be best to visit on the last day of your JR Pass and either fly back home from Kansai Airport or pay for an extra one way bullet train ticket.

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Tokyo Park

16 Easy & Unforgettable Day Trips From Tokyo

If you’re visiting Tokyo, you’re in for a treat. Tokyo is a vibrant city with a rich culture, delicious food, and plenty of sights to see. But sometimes, you might want to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city and explore the surrounding areas. Luckily, there are plenty of day trips you can take from Tokyo that will allow you to see more of Japan.

In this article, we’ll be exploring the 16 best day trips from Tokyo. Whether you’re interested in history, or nature, or just want to relax in a hot spring, there’s Something to interest you all on this list.

All of these day trips are easily accessible by train, bus, or part of a tour, so you don’t need to worry about renting a car or navigating unfamiliar roads.

From the stunning views of Mount Fuji to the charming streets of Nikko, these day trips will give you a taste of what Japan has to offer outside of Tokyo. So, pack your bags, and get ready to explore the wonderful locations just outside Tokyo.

Mt Fuji

Mount Fuji is one of Japan’s most iconic symbols and seeing it in real life when in Tokyo should be non-negotiable. Located just 100 kilometers southwest of Tokyo, Mount Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan and is considered the country’s most sacred mountain.

There are several ways to experience Mount Fuji, with the most popular being to climb the mountain . The climbing season runs from July to August, and while it is not an easy climb, it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. If you’re not up for the climb, there are plenty of other ways to experience the mountain.

One of the best ways to experience Mount Fuji is to take a day trip to the Fuji Five Lakes area. Located at the base of the mountain, the area is home to five beautiful lakes that offer stunning views of Mount Fuji. You can take a boat ride on the lakes or simply enjoy a leisurely stroll around the shores.

Another great way to experience Mount Fuji is to visit one of the many hot springs in the area. The hot springs offer a relaxing way to take in the stunning views of the mountain while soaking in the warm waters.

If you’re looking for a more adventurous way to experience Mount Fuji, you can try paragliding or hang gliding. These activities offer a unique perspective of the mountain and are sure to get your adrenaline pumping.

Overall, Mount Fuji is a must-visit when in the Tokyo area. Whether you climb the mountain or simply take in the stunning views from the surrounding area, you’re sure to have a memorable experience.

Nikko

Located just 2 hours north of Tokyo, Nikko is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and it’s not hard to see why. The town is nestled in the mountains and is home to some of Japan’s most stunning temples and shrines.

The most famous of these is the Toshogu Shrine, which is dedicated to Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate. The shrine is adorned with intricate carvings and gold leaf, and it’s a great option for anyone interested in Japanese history and architecture.

Another popular attraction in Nikko is the Kegon Falls, which is considered one of Japan’s three most beautiful waterfalls. You can take an elevator down to the base of the falls for a closer look.

For those looking to explore the natural beauty of Nikko, the area is home to several hiking trails that offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains and forests.

Nikko is also known for its hot springs, or onsen, which are the perfect way to relax after a day of sightseeing.

Overall, Nikko is a great day trip from Tokyo for those looking to experience Japan’s rich history and natural beauty.

Kamakura is a charming seaside town just an hour south of Tokyo. With its rich history and scenic beauty, it’s a popular destination for both all. Here are some of the highlights of a day trip to Kamakura:

  • Great Buddha (Daibutsu) – One of the most iconic attractions in Kamakura is the Great Buddha, a massive bronze statue that stands over 13 meters tall. It’s in the Kotoku-in Temple and is definitely worth a visit.
  • Hasedera Temple – Another must-see temple in Kamakura is the Hasedera Temple, which is known for its stunning views of the coastline and its beautiful gardens.
  • Enoshima Island – If you’re looking for some outdoor adventure, head to Enoshima Island. You can hike to the top of the island for sweeping views of the ocean, or explore the caves and shrines that are scattered throughout the island.

In addition to these attractions, Kamakura is also known for its delicious food. Be sure to try some of the local specialties, such as shirasu (tiny white fish), Kamakura vegetables, and Kamakura-style ramen.

Overall, Kamakura is a great day trip destination from Tokyo. With its mix of history, nature, and food, there’s Something to interest all to enjoy.

Hakone Torii Gate

Hakone is a picturesque town in the Kanagawa Prefecture, just a short train ride from Tokyo. With its stunning natural beauty, hot springs, and mountainous terrain, Hakone is a popular destination for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.

One of the main attractions in Hakone is the Hakone Open-Air Museum, which features over 120 sculptures by both Japanese and international artists. You can stroll through the outdoor galleries and enjoy the artwork against the backdrop of the surrounding mountains.

Another popular attraction in Hakone is the Owakudani Valley, which is famous for its hot springs and geysers. You can take a cable car up to the valley and enjoy the stunning views of Mount Fuji along the way. Once at the top, they can explore the geysers and enjoy a hot spring bath at one of the many local spas.

For those interested in history, the Hakone Checkpoint Museum offers a glimpse into Japan’s past. The museum is on the site of a former checkpoint that was used during the Edo period to control traffic along the Tokaido highway.

Other popular activities in Hakone include hiking, boating on Lake Ashi, and visiting the Hakone Shrine, which is on the shores of the lake. With so much to see and do, Hakone should be on your to do-list for anyone looking to experience the natural beauty and rich history of Japan.

YokoHama City

Yokohama is a port city just south of Tokyo, and it makes for a perfect day trip destination. Here are some of the top things to do in Yokohama:

  • Visit the Cup Noodles Museum and learn about the history of instant noodles. You can even make your own cup of noodles to take home with you.
  • Take a stroll through Yamashita Park and enjoy the beautiful views of the harbor.
  • Explore the historic Motomachi neighborhood, which has a mix of Western and Japanese architecture.
  • Visit the Landmark Tower, which is the tallest building in Yokohama and offers stunning views from the observation deck on the 69th floor.

Another must-see attraction in Yokohama is the Ramen Museum, which features exhibits on the history of ramen and lets you sample different types of ramen from all over Japan.

If you’re looking for some shopping, head to the Red Brick Warehouse, which has shops and restaurants in a historic brick building.

Finally, don’t miss the chance to try some Yokohama-style Chinese food, which is known for its unique blend of Japanese and Chinese flavors. You can find many restaurants serving this cuisine in the Chinatown area of Yokohama.

Kawagoe, also known as “Little Edo,” is a charming town in Saitama Prefecture, just a short train ride from Tokyo. This well-preserved town takes you back in time with its traditional architecture and atmosphere. Kawagoe is perfect for a day trip from Tokyo, offering a glimpse into Japan’s past.

One of the must-visit attractions in Kawagoe is the Kurazukuri Street. This street is lined with traditional warehouses, which have been converted into shops and cafes. The warehouses have been well-preserved, and walking along this street feels like you’re walking through a time capsule. You can find souvenirs, snacks, and even try some local delicacies here.

If you’re interested in history, the Kawagoe Castle is a great place to visit. Although the castle itself is no longer standing, the castle ruins have been preserved and turned into a park. You can enjoy a leisurely walk around the park, take in the views, and learn about the history of the castle.

Another attraction worth visiting is the Kashiya Yokocho, also known as “Candy Alley.” This street is lined with candy shops, offering traditional Japanese sweets. You can also find other snacks, such as senbei (rice crackers) and dango (sweet dumplings) here.

Overall, Kawagoe is a great day trip destination from Tokyo. The town’s well-preserved traditional architecture and atmosphere make it a unique experience. Whether you’re interested in history, shopping, or food, Kawagoe has something to offer.

Kusatsu Onsen

Kusatsu Onsen is a small town in the Gunma Prefecture, known for its hot springs. The town is approximately 150 km northwest of Tokyo and is accessible by train or bus. The town has a long history of hot spring bathing and is considered to be one of Japan’s best hot spring resorts.

The hot springs in Kusatsu Onsen are known for their high temperatures and high mineral content, making them ideal for relaxation and therapeutic purposes. You can enjoy the hot springs in various ways, including outdoor baths, indoor baths, and foot baths. Many of the hot spring baths in Kusatsu Onsen are also open-air, allowing visitors to enjoy the surrounding scenery while soaking in the hot water.

Apart from the hot springs, Kusatsu Onsen also offers various other attractions. You can explore the town’s traditional architecture, which includes many old ryokans and shops. The town also has a few museums, including the Yubatake Museum, which gives you information on the history and culture of Kusatsu Onsen.

If you’re visiting Kusatsu Onsen, be sure to try some of the local cuisine, which includes onsen manju (sweet buns filled with red bean paste), soba noodles, and onsen tamago (eggs boiled in the hot springs). The town also hosts several festivals throughout the year, including the Kusatsu Onsen Summer Festival and the Kusatsu Onsen Ski Festival.

Nokogiriyama

Nokogiriyama is a great day trip destination for those who want to experience a bit of history and culture. Located in Chiba Prefecture, it is home to the Nihon-ji Temple, which was founded in 725 AD. The temple is famous for its giant Buddha statue, which is the largest stone-carved Buddha in Japan.

Aside from the temple, Nokogiriyama also offers stunning views of Tokyo Bay and the surrounding area. You can take a cable car or hike up to the top of the mountain to see the panoramic views. There are also hiking trails throughout the mountain, which are perfect for those who want to explore the natural beauty of the area.

One of the highlights of Nokogiriyama is the Nihon-ji Daibutsu hiking course, which takes visitors through a series of caves and tunnels. The hike is not for the faint of heart, but it is definitely worth it for the unique experience.

  • Access: Take the JR Sobu Line from Tokyo Station to Chiba Station, then transfer to the JR Uchibo Line to Hama-Kanaya Station. From there, take the JR Bus to Nokogiriyama.
  • Admission: Cable car round-trip ticket: ¥1,550 (adults), ¥780 (children); Nihon-ji Temple admission: ¥600 (adults), ¥400 (children)
  • Hours: Cable car: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm (varies by season); Nihon-ji Temple: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

Overall, Nokogiriyama is a great day trip destination for those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of Tokyo and experience something a bit more serene. The combination of history, culture, and natural beauty makes it a unique and memorable destination.

Nagano Snow Monkeys

Onsens Japanese Hot Springs

If you’re looking for a unique day trip from Tokyo, consider visiting the Nagano Snow Monkeys. These adorable creatures are famous for their habit of soaking in natural hot springs during the winter months.

Located in the Jigokudani Monkey Park, the snow monkeys are a popular attraction for both all. The park is situated in the mountains of Nagano Prefecture, and getting there involves a scenic train ride followed by a short bus journey.

Once you arrive at the park, you’ll be able to see the monkeys up close and personal as they go about their daily routines. You might even be lucky enough to see them taking a dip in the hot springs!

In addition to the monkeys, the park offers gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains and forests. There are also several hiking trails in the area for those who want to explore the natural beauty of the region.

If you’re interested in visiting the Nagano Snow Monkeys, keep in mind that the park can get quite crowded during peak tourist season. It’s best to arrive early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the crowds.

Overall, a visit to the Nagano Snow Monkeys is a memorable experience that’s well worth the trip from Tokyo.

Tokyo Disney Resorts

Sunset at Tokyo Disneyland

Who says Disney is just for kids? Not us. Tokyo Disney Resorts offers a magical escape for those of all ages. Located in Urayasu, just outside of Tokyo, this theme park is a great option for anyone with a love for all things Disney.

With two parks to choose from, Disneyland and DisneySea , you can easily spend a full day at each one. Disneyland offers classic Disney attractions, parades, and shows, while DisneySea offers a unique nautical-themed experience with thrilling rides and live performances.

One of the best things about Tokyo Disney Resorts is its attention to detail. From the themed lands to the costumes of the staff, every aspect of the park is carefully crafted to transport visitors to a magical world.

For those looking to beat the crowds, consider visiting on a weekday or during the off-season. Additionally, purchasing tickets in advance can save you time and money. Be sure to check the park’s website for information on special events and seasonal attractions.

Overall, Tokyo Disney Resorts is a fun and whimsical day trip from Tokyo that is sure to bring out the inner child in everyone.

Mt Takao is a perfect day trip from Tokyo for those who love hiking and nature. Located just an hour away from the city center, this mountain offers a refreshing escape from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo.

With plenty of hiking trails, you can choose from easy to challenging routes. For those who want a leisurely hike, the paved trail is the perfect option, while those who want a more challenging hike can try the trail that leads to the summit.

At the top, you can enjoy sweeping views of Tokyo and the surrounding mountains. The summit also has a temple, Yakuoin Temple, which is worth visiting. The temple is known for its Tengu statues, which are believed to be protectors of the mountain.

The mountain is also famous for its autumn foliage, which attracts many visitors during the autumn season. The mountain is covered in beautiful colors of red, orange, and yellow, making it a perfect spot for nature lovers and photographers.

To get to there, take the Keio Line from Shinjuku Station to Takaosanguchi Station. From there, take the cable car or chairlift to the halfway point, and then hike the rest of the way to the summit. The cable car and chairlift are also great options for those who want to enjoy the views without hiking.

Mt Takao should be on your to-do list for those who want to experience nature and escape the city for a day.

Fuji-Q Highland

Fuji Q Highland

If you’re looking for a thrill, Fuji-Q Highland is the place to go! Located at the base of Mount Fuji, this amusement park is home to some of the world’s most exciting roller coasters and other attractions.

One of the park’s most popular rides is the Fujiyama roller coaster, which was once the tallest and fastest coaster in the world. It’s still a thrilling ride, with a top speed of 81 miles per hour and a drop of over 230 feet.

If you’re looking for something even more intense, check out the Takabisha coaster. It’s the steepest coaster in the world, with a drop angle of 121 degrees. You’ll reach speeds of up to 62 miles per hour as you race through twists, turns, and loops. In addition to the coasters, Fuji-Q Highland has plenty of other attractions to enjoy.

There’s a haunted house, a giant Ferris wheel, and even a Thomas the Tank Engine-themed area for younger visitors. Admission to the park is reasonably priced, with a one-day pass costing around 6,000 yen.

You can also purchase a “free pass” for an additional fee, which allows you to skip the lines on all the rides. Overall, Fuji-Q Highland is a great option for thrill-seekers visiting Tokyo. Just be prepared for long lines and crowds, especially on weekends and holidays.

Odawara City

Odawara City is a great day trip option for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of Tokyo. Located just an hour away by train, this historic city is home to a number of attractions that are sure to delight visitors of all ages.

One of the most popular attractions in Odawara City is its iconic castle. Built in the 15th century, Odawara Castle is a great place to learn about Japanese history and culture. You can explore the castle grounds, climb to the top of the castle tower, and enjoy stunning views of the surrounding area.

In addition to the castle, Odawara City is home to a number of beautiful parks and gardens. The Odawara Flower Garden should be on your to do-list for nature lovers, with over 1,000 different types of flowers on display. Meanwhile, the Odawara Plum Garden is a great place to see the beautiful plum blossoms that bloom in the spring.

Foodies will also love Odawara City, which is known for its delicious seafood. The city’s proximity to the ocean means that you can enjoy fresh seafood dishes like sushi and sashimi. There are also a number of local specialty dishes to try, such as “kamaboko” (fish cake) and “katsuobushi” (dried bonito flakes).

Overall, Odawara City is a great day trip option for those looking to experience Japanese history, culture, and cuisine. With its stunning castle, beautiful parks, and delicious food, there’s Something to interest all to enjoy in this charming city.

Lake Kawaguchiko

Mount Fuji view from Kawaguchiko

The pictures Lake Kawaguchiko is one of the five lakes that surround Mount Fuji and is a popular day trip destination from Tokyo. It is easily accessible by train or bus from Shinjuku Station in Tokyo.

There are plenty of things to do at Lake Kawaguchiko, such as taking a boat ride on the lake or renting a bicycle to explore the area. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also hike up to the Chureito Pagoda, which offers stunning views of Mount Fuji and the surrounding area.

For those who prefer a more relaxing experience, there are several hot springs in the area where you can soak in the natural hot water while enjoying the view of Mount Fuji.

If you’re interested in art, you can visit the Kubota Itchiku Art Museum, which houses the works of Itchiku Kubota, a famous Japanese textile artist. The museum also has a beautiful garden where you can enjoy the view of Mount Fuji.

Overall, Lake Kawaguchiko is a great day trip destination from Tokyo for those who want to see mount fuji from a range of famous views. It’s also a breeze to get there on the new Fuji Excursion train service run by JR from Shinjuku. And Yes. Your JR rail pass does cover it.

Hitachi Seaside Park

Located in Ibaraki Prefecture, about 2 hours northeast of Tokyo, Hitachi Seaside Park is a beautiful park that boasts seasonal flowers and plants. The park is especially famous for its nemophila flowers, which bloom in late April and early May, covering the hills in a sea of blue.

In addition to the nemophila, the park also features other flowers and plants, including tulips, poppies, and roses. There are several walking trails throughout the park, as well as a cycling course and a small amusement park for children.

One of the park’s most popular attractions is the Flower Calendar, which shows visitors the best time to visit the park to see each type of flower in bloom. The park is open year-round, but the best time to visit is in the spring and early summer.

Admission to the park is 450 yen for adults and 210 yen for children. There are also additional fees for parking and some attractions within the park. If you’re looking for a peaceful day trip from Tokyo, Hitachi Seaside Park is definitely worth a visit.

Chichibu, in Saitama Prefecture, is a great day trip destination from Tokyo. This charming town is known for its natural beauty and scenic spots, including the Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park, the Chichibu Mountains, and the Arakawa River.

One of the main attractions in Chichibu is the Chichibu Shrine, which is known for its beautiful architecture and stunning views of the surrounding mountains. You can also take a stroll through the Chichibu Yomatsuri Museum, which showcases the town’s famous Yomatsuri Festival.

For those who love the outdoors, Chichibu offers plenty of opportunities for hiking and exploring. The Mitsumine Shrine is a popular hiking spot, and the Chichibu Mountains offer breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

Chichibu is also home to a number of hot springs, including the Chichibu Onsen and the Yokoze Onsen. These hot springs are a great way to relax and unwind after a long day of sightseeing.

Overall, Chichibu is a great day trip destination from Tokyo for those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy some natural beauty and relaxation.

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Making the Most of Your JR Rail Pass: A One-Week Japan Sightseeing Itinerary

Thinking of shelling out for the JR Pass and want to make sure you get your money’s worth? We have the perfect 7-day Japan itinerary to help you maximize your JR Pass. It takes you all over the main island and back to Tokyo!

Those JR passes can end up as one of the most expensive parts of your trip to Japan. But with careful planning, you’ll soon be sitting back, relaxing, and earning that money back. Okay, perhaps ‘relaxing’ isn’t the right term for this itinerary. But if you’re shelling out for the pass, you may as well make the most of it.

Is the JR Pass still worth it?

So, first you might be wondering if the JR Pass is even worth it anymore. Well, after the price increased from ¥ 29,650 to ¥ 50,000 (7-day pass) on October 1 2023, we don’t blame you for this question. The truth is that now you need to really maximize your JR Pass for it to be worth it. Before, a round trip from Tokyo to Osaka was enough to cover your cost. That journey comes in ¥ 29,440 in total for round-trip Shinkansen tickets, so you can see that JR Pass was definitely good value before, but not so much anymore.

Now, you’ll have to travel a whole lot to make your JR Pass worth it. But not to worry, we’ve devised a great itinerary to help you maximize your JR Pass.

tokyo to kyoto bullet train

Things to know before you go

Give yourself a few days in Tokyo before starting the pass and you can have a 10-day break and still see plenty of the country. With this itinerary, you’ll hit all the major bucket-list sights. However, this is not a tour for those who like a lie-in. With lots of travel and plenty of early starts, you’ll be pretty tired by the end of it. But if this is all the time you’ve got in Japan, you need to make it worth it.

Tokyo | Sendai | Kanazawa | Shirakawa-gō | Kyoto | Nara | Osaka | Hiroshima | Fukuoka | Tokyo

You’ll recognize a few, if not all of the names on our list. Take a look at a map, you’ll see we’re covering some real distance (just over 3000 km if you really want to know). That means you’ll spend a good chunk of time on trains. Yay. But it helps that bullet trains are kind of amazing — with comfy seats, folding tables, leg room, and great views, you can at least travel in comfort. Pack some food and drinks, and settle in for the ride.

The longest single journey will be your return one, clocking in at 6 hours, but you’ll more than likely be snoozing away by then so we wouldn’t worry too much. We have tried to cover as much of Japan as possible, but sadly Hokkaidō , Shikoku , and Okinawa just didn’t make the cut. But that’s all the more reason to come back again soon!

The savings (and the costs)

If we add up every Shinkansen ride on this itinerary, the grand total would be an eye-watering ¥ 80,450 — and that’s not counting non-Shinkansen travel. Compared to your pass which costs ¥ 50,000 , that’s savings of just over ¥ 30,000 . That can buy you a hell of a lot of sushi.

There are a few smaller transport costs in the journey that aren’t covered by the JR Pass though. Also, when traveling within a city keep in mind that private train and bus lines aren’t always covered by the JR Pass.

day trips jr pass tokyo

Cheapo tips and tricks

A trip like this requires schedules and planning, not a laissez-faire attitude. Pay attention to train times and avoid meanderings that lead you miles from the stations. Here are some more tips to make sure your trip runs smoothly!

Station Lockers

  • Reserve your bullet train tickets in advance. Trains get full in peak season and during commuting hours. A reservation gives you guaranteed a seat. And seats together if in a couple or group.
  • Store luggage in train station lockers when you can. There’s a lot of walking and city-hopping in this itinerary, often returning to the same station — for example in Kanazawa, Nara, and Hiroshima.
  • Keep some water and snacks in your bag — with so much sightseeing to do you’ll work up an appetite!

Day 1: Sendai (stay overnight)

Tokyo to Sendai 1 hour 54 minutes Fully covered by the JR Pass

Sendai

Leave Tokyo on an early morning Shinkansen and you can arrive in Sendai in time to grab your morning coffee. We recommend leaving by 8 a.m. at the latest, but you’re an early bird Shinkansen services to Sendai start around 6 a.m. This is the farthest north of Tokyo your trip will take you, so take a chance to enjoy the fresh mountain air and cooler weather.

Once you’ve arrived it’s time to start exploring. Don’t miss Sendai Asaichi Morning Market — the local market is open from morning until mid-afternoon. Located near the west exit of the station, the market sells fresh fruit, veg, and seafood. You’ll quickly see why it’s sometimes called ‘Sendai’s Kitchen’.

Sendai is famous for beef tongue and the city’s Tanabata Festival in August, with amazing decorations and performances. The Zuihōden Temple is a stunning building decorated with complex woodwork and vivid colors. You can access it via the Sendai Loop Bus (not covered by the JR Pass). There are temples and shrines in the city, as well as castle ruins and a city museum, so there’s plenty to keep you occupied.

Sendai side-stop: Zao Fox Village

You could also visit the Zao Fox Village on your way to Sendai. It’s only 15 minutes from Sendai, so you can still arrive in Sendai time for a beef-tongue dinner.

It’s a mountainside park where foxes live in the wild, but close enough to be seen and fed — in spring you can even hold some cubs. On the way to Sendai, get off at Shiroishizao Station. Then get a taxi to the village (or the rare bus).

Zao Fox Village

Day 2: Kanazawa (stay overnight)

Sendai to Kanazawa 3 hours, 22 minutes Fully covered by the JR Pass

Wake up early and catch the Hayabusa Shinkansen to Ōmiya — the first one departs at 6:37 a.m. Then jump on the Kagayaki Shinkansen to arrive in Kanazawa . Aim to arrive before lunch time so you have plenty of time to enjoy the city.

You can explore the Ōmichō Market near the train station for fresh veg, street snacks, and souvenirs. When you’re finished head to Kenrokuen Garden — the most beautiful garden in all of Japan.

Higashi Chaya District Kanazawa

Afterwards, visit Higashi Chaya District . The tea houses here were once frequented by geisha but now are open to the public. If you visit Kaikaro tea house , entry price of  ¥ 750 includes tea service. The nearby Ochaya Shima Geisha House has been converted into a museum. Don’t miss the Hakuza gold leaf store — Kanazawa produces 99% of domestic gold leaf. The store has a warehouse converted into a completely golden tea room, as well as souvenirs with gold leaf.

Kanazawa Castle

If you still have time, head to Ninjadera (officially called Myōryū-ji Temple), a temple with deceptive defenses built for the Maeda Lords in the Edo period. The guided tour will show you all the hidden tunnels, secret doors and staircases, traps, and more.

Stroll through the older areas in the evening to enjoy the ambience. Stay overnight in Kanazawa.

Day 3: Shirakawa-gō (stay overnight in Kyoto)

Kanazawa to Kyoto, round-trip to Shirakawa-gō 2 hours, 15 minutes (plus round trip to Shirakawa-gō) Round trip to Shirakawa-gō not covered by the JR Pass

From the East Gate of Kanazawa Station catch a morning highway bus to Shirakawa-gō . You will need to book your tickets online in advance . The trip Shirakawa-gō is not covered by the JR Pass . Expect to pay around ¥ 5,000 for the round trip. Alternatively, you could join a day tour , this will set you back ¥ 11,795 but covers the round-trip from Kanazawa and the services of an English-speaking guide.

Famed for their picturesque tilted roofs, the houses of Shirakawa-gō are often photographed buried in snow but are equally picturesque year-round. The Gassho-zukuri farmhouses are up to 250 years old and the names translates as ‘constructed like hands in prayer’. This allows them to withstand the weight of snow in winter.

Shirakawago

The main town of Ogimachi is beautiful to stroll through (if you ignore the occasional washing machine and concrete visitor center) especially when seen from the Shiroyama viewpoint. There is an open-air museum across the river with relocated houses, moved to prevent their destruction. Dotted around the village are especially well preserved houses such as the Kanda house and the Myozenji Temple. There’s also the Doburoku Festival Museum where you can try the locally produced sake and the onsen at Shirakawagō-no-yu.

When you’re finished looking around, head back to Kanazawa for you onward journey.

Onward journey: Kanazawa to Kyoto

From Kanazawa, take the Thunderbird Limited Express to Kyoto. There are about one or two departures per hour, so be sure to check the timetable in advance. This part of the journey is fully covered by the JR Pass and takes 2 hours and 15 minutes.

Once you’ve arrived in Kyoto, you can go for a wander beside the Kamo River (if you have the energy). Don’t miss the famous Pontochō restaurant street — and the more affordable street running along the narrow river parallel to the Kamo.

Day 4: Kyoto (stay overnight)

Full day in Kyoto, some travel not covered by the JR Pass

Kyoto view

Kyoto has an incredible amount of things to see . Just make sure you’ve got your walking shoes one before you head off. However, before you leave just know that the JR Pass isn’t very helpful for getting around in Kyoto . Instead, you might be better off with a different discount travel pass for Kyoto . For example, we like the Skyhop Bus Pass — it gives you unlimited use of the Skyhop Hop-On, Hop-Off Bus starting at ¥ 3,500 . The Skyhop bus has multilingual audioguides and stops at a lot of major attractions. Sound good? You can buy it online here .

When it comes to specifically where to go today, it’s completely up to you. But don’t pressure yourself to fit everything in, you just can’t. We recommend visiting classic spots like Kinkaku-ji Temple , Nijō-jō Castle , and Gion . Or head a bit out of town to Sagano Bamboo Forest (also known as Arashiyama).

Day 5: Nara (stay overnight in Osaka)

Kyoto to Osaka, stop in Nara 1 hour, 46 minutes Fully covered by the JR Pass

Your first stop today is Nara . Just outside of Kyoto, it’s known for stunning temples, great views, and of course, ravenous deer. You can catch the JR train in the morning, ideally around 9 a.m. Once you arrive, walk towards Kōfukuji Temple and you will be greeted by a temple complex as old as the establishment of the capital itself. Originally comprised of over 150 buildings now only a few remain, but they are perfectly maintained and stunning to boot. The pagoda, Eastern Golden Hall, and Southern Octagonal Hall are all impressive.

Deer at Nandaimon, Nara

After this, continue on to the Nara Deer Park and buy some senbei (traditional crackers) for the deer to eat. Be careful, the deer have been known to target sleeves and bags in search of food. But they will bow for you in return for a snack which is pretty cute, and there are plenty of deer selfie (dare we say, delfie) opportunities too. Head up towards Tōdaiji Temple and step through Nandaimon, the 800-year-old wooden entrance gate to the temple. Inside, you’ll find the largest wooden structure in the world: the Great Buddha Hall, and within that, the world’s largest bronze statue of the Buddha Vairocana.

Afterwards, continue behind the hall towards the Tamukeyama Hachimangū Shrine . This balcony-style Shinto shrine was established in the year 749 and has stunning views of Nara and the tips of Tōdaiji’s roof. There are plenty of smaller shrines and temples around, so wander to your heart’s content before heading back to the train station around mid-afternoon.

Onward journey: Nara to Osaka

From Nara, catch a direct train to Osaka. There are regular departures and the journey takes only takes 50 minutes if you catch the express. This journey is fully covered by the JR Pass.

tokyo to osaka dotombori

Osaka is the perfect city for an evening adventure. Dotonbori is the entertainment district, with plenty to see, do, and — most importantly — eat. The river’s neon lights and the over-sized food signs are an eye-catching combination tempting you towards a myriad of treats. Whether your try the roadside ramen, freshly flipped takoyaki, or made-to-order okonomiyaki, you can’t go wrong. Then there’s kushikatsu, a local speciality featuring various food deep-fried and dipped in a special sauce. Make the most of you evening by feasting and strolling until you can feast and stroll no more.

Day 6: Hiroshima, Miyajima (stay overnight in Fukuoka)

Osaka to Fukuoka, stop in Hiroshima 2 hour, 35 minutes Some sections not covered by the JR Pass

Catch the Shinkansen from Shin-Osaka and head towards Hiroshima — a city known worldwide for being destroyed by an atomic bomb in World War 2. Starting your day off here going to be emotionally difficult — but it’s a vital part of history. Note that some travel within Hiroshima is not covered by the JR Pass.

A Bomb Dome Hiroshima

The Peace Memorial Museum has a range of displays documenting life before, the nightmare of, and after the atomic bomb dropped in 1945. The museum also provides a rounded and optimistic look at the future. Afterwards, you can take a walk through the Peace Park and see the A-bomb Dome. Allow the beauty of the park to slowly bring you back to a holiday mentality (for the most part).

Side trip: Miyajima Island (Itsukujima)

To really recapture holiday mode though, take a ferry across to Miyajima — a small island off the coast of Hiroshima known for its friendly deer and iconic torii gate. Make sure to catch the JR ferry from Miyamaguchi Station, the other ferries aren’t covered by the JR Pass.

Great Torii Miyajima

Once in Miyajima you can enjoy the incredible island and all it has to offer. Explore cute shopping streets, delicious treats, and mountain hikes, as well as the world-famous shrine of course. The Itsukushima Shrine has a floating torii gate, probably on the cover of your guidebook. You should be able to see it both at high (ish) and low tide, so you can walk up to it as well. Have a read of our full guide  on all the things to do in Miyajima.

Catch the ferry back at around 6 p.m. (so you can hopefully see the sunset!) and hop on a train back to Hiroshima Station. Then grab your luggage and get snacks for the train ahead.

Onward journey: Hiroshima to Fukuoka (Hakata Station)

Catch the bullet train to Fukuoka (Hakata Station). Make sure you get the Sakura or Nozomi Shinkansen — not the Kodama Shinkansen which takes an extra 30 minutes.

Fukuoka food stalls

Once you arrive in Fukuoka, drop your stuff off at your hostel. Then head out to the river and Nakasu Island where you’ll find the city’s famous night stalls. They’ll be open late selling the local specialty of Hakata ramen as well as drinks and chicken skewers. Enjoy your wanderings before turning in for the night.

Day 7: Day in Fukuoka, then return to Tokyo

Fukuoka to Tokyo 6 hours Fully covered by the JR Pass

Fukuoka is a large city with lots to do. The biggest shopping center, Canal City , is a sight to behold — with lit canals, shops, restaurants, as well as daily shows and performances. It is also home to Ramen Stadium, offering ramen from not only Hakata, but all over Japan. Enjoy the seasonal flowers in Nokoshima Park or take a break in Ohori Park , visit Tōchō-ji , the first temple built by Kukai in Japan — the list is endless, and yours for the making.

day trips jr pass tokyo

Day trips from Fukuoka

As far as day trips are concerned, Yanagawa is an excellent one. The old castle town is renowned for its relaxing boat rides along the river to the sea of Ariake that will take you back to ancient Japan. With your boatman describing local points of interest (albeit in Japanese) you can imagine days gone by. You can even join a clam digging boat tour from spring to autumn, if reserved in advance. Known as the Venice of Japan, you can’t go wrong on a sunny day in a boat.

Yanagawa

Alternatively, you could visit the joint most important shrine in Japan: the Dazaifu Tenmangū Shrine in the nearby town of Dazaifu. The shrine is dedicated to the spirit of Sugawara Michizane, a Heian-period politician and scholar who died there in 903. Famed for stunning plum trees and a heart-shaped pond, it’s a pretty good day out, especially with the Kysushu National Museum next door.

A further option for all the cat people out there is to visit Ainoshima Island , one of the famous cat islands of Japan. The island has cats, cats, and more cats, along with a few small sightseeing spots like the ancient Tumuli and the Hanagurise rock formation.

Return journey to Tokyo

Whatever you ended up doing with your day, you’ll need to catch the 6:59 p.m. Nozomi Shinkansen back to Tokyo. It’s the last train for the day, so don’t miss it.

While we do our best to ensure it’s correct, information is subject to change. Last updated in September 2023 by Maria Danuco.

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The top 5 day trips from Tokyo for hikes, hot springs and surf

Mar 22, 2024 • 5 min read

Active senior husband and wife love playing Surfing in Early morning at Izu Peninsula UNESCO Global Geopark Japan

You can go surfing on Izu Oshima within striking distance of Tokyo © Yoshiyoshi Hirokawa / Getty Images

Whether you are a first-time visitor to Tokyo or know the city well, there are plenty of surprises waiting on the capital’s doorstep.

The temples and shrines of Nikkō and Kamakura offer a window into Japanese history, while Mt Takao, Hakone, and Izu Oshima Island provide a natural contrast to Tokyo’s crowded, urban heart.

All of these spots can be reached within an hour or two by train from Tokyo. If you travel on three consecutive days, you may be able to save a few yen by using the Tokyo Wide Pass . Here are our top picks for a day trip from Tokyo.

Visitors circle Tsurugaoka Hachimangu, Kamakura's most important shrine

1. Meet the Big Buddha of Kamakura

Travel time: One hour

From 1185 to 1333, the coastal town of Kamakura temporarily replaced Kyoto as the then seat of power in Japan. It’s the remnants of that era that make modern-day Kamakura such a compelling day trip from Tokyo, with sights like the magnificent Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine and a varied collection of Zen temples.

The latter includes Japan’s oldest Zen monastery, Kencho-ji , and Hokoku-ji and its small bamboo forest. However, the highlight at Kamakura is the Daibutsu , an 11.3m-high (37ft) bronze statue of Buddha resting serenely at Kotoku-in Temple since being cast in 1252.

How to get to Kamakura from Tokyo : Take the JR Yokosuka Line from Tokyo Station to Kamakura Station. Once there, most of Kamakura’s sights are walkable, but for the Big Buddha at Kotoku-in Temple take the retro Enoden tram three stops to Hase, from where it’s a five-minute walk north.

2. Experience island life on Izu Oshima

Travel time: 1 hour 45 minutes

Few travelers realize it but thanks to the Izu Island chain and remote Ogasawara archipelago, Tokyo technically has islands within its city limits. The closest to the mainland, Izu Oshima , makes for an active day away from the city.

To get a sweat on, hike around the crater of volcanic Mt Mihara, Oshima’s most dominant peak at 2487ft (758m), then soak in the outdoor hot-spring baths at Miharayama.

Alternatively, rent a bicycle and circumnavigate the 91 sq mile island, taking in coastal hot springs on route, distinctive rock formations, and (from January to March) Oshima’s signature camelias.

How to get to Oshima Island from Tokyo: Take a high-speed jet ferry from Tokyo’s Takeshiba Terminal, which is next to Takeshiba Station on the Yurikamome Line or a short walk south of JR Hamamatsucho Station on the Yamanote Line. Ferries arrive at Oshima’s Motomachi or Okata ports, from where you can catch buses to the main sights or rent a bicycle or car.

eople of Nikko celebrate Yayoi festival. It is a traditional event, which started in 767-770.

3. Visit Nikkō’s spectacular Tōshō-gū shrine

You can see shrines in Tokyo, but Nikkō is on a whole different level. The UNESCO World Heritage-designated Tōshō-gū  Shrine is the resting place of the first Edo-era shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu.

After an approach lined by towering cedars, the highlights include a five-story pagoda and imposing gateways like the Yomei-mon, a riot of black lacquer and gilding that’s adorned with vibrant carvings of birds and dragons. 

Elsewhere in the complex are the spectacular gilded buddhas at Rinnō-ji , plus subtle decorations like the carvings of the three monkeys of "see, speak and hear no evil" fame.

How to get to Nikkō from Tokyo: Nikkō has two neighboring stations: JR Nikkō and Tōbu Nikkō. The quickest route from Tokyo is to use Tōbu Railway’s Kegon or Spacia X limited-express trains between Asakusa and Tobu Nikkō, although a joint JR-Tōbu service also starts from Shinjuku. Buses connect both Nikkō and Tōbu-Nikkō stations to Tōshō-gū and other key sights. Alternatively, it’s about a 20-minute walk from the stations to Tōshō-gū.

4. Escape to Mount Takao for hikes, views and clear air

Travel time: 55 minutes

You don’t have to go to all the way to Hakone for great Fuji views. When the weather is clear, Fuji looks resplendent from the top of 599m (1965ft) Mt Takao .

Still inside Tokyo, Takao is arguably the easiest way to experience Japan’s natural surrounds. The hike up only takes 90 minutes to two hours but it can be made even shorter by taking a cable car halfway up.

On the way, you’ll pass through Yakuō-in Temple , a center for ascetic training that holds a fire walking festival on the second Sunday of every March.

Toward the peak, Takao’s cherry blossoms are a popular spot for hanami  (flower-viewing) picnics in spring, while the seasonal Beer Mount beer garden at the top is ideal for a post-walk thirst quencher from mid-June to mid-October.

How to get to Takao from Tokyo: Ride the Keio Line special-express from Shinjuku to Takaosan-guchi Station. From there, you are a five-minute walk from either the trailhead at the foot of Takao or the cable car, which can take you halfway up the peak. 

A young woman takes photos with her phone of a torii gate in Hakone, Japan

5. Immerse yourself in the hot springs and scenery of Hakone

Travel time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Mountainous Hakone is one of the most popular side trips from Tokyo. A jaunt here delivers up-close views of Mt Fuji and the steaming sulfur vents of Owakudani (Great Boiling Valley), plus hot-spring bathing complexes like Yunessun, and even an outdoor art museum home to work by Rodin and Picasso.

While Hakone can be explored in a day, consider an overnighter at a ryokan  (these traditional inns have their own hot spring baths).

How to get to Hakone from Tokyo: Catch Odakyu’s limited-express Romancecar from Shinjuku Station to Hakone-Yumoto Station. You’ll need a reserved seat, though outside of holiday periods you can buy that at the station on the day of travel. To save yen, also get a Hakone Freepass . It covers the return train trip and gives two or three days of unlimited use of the buses, ropeways, and other transportation networks you’ll need to get around Hakone. 

This article was first published Jun 12, 2019 and updated Mar 22, 2024.

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Tokyo 1-Day Ticket (Tokyo Free Ticket)

Allows you to hop on and off the Tokyo subways and buses!

Area Covered

Validity period.

Example area covered

Railway companies and lines you can use

  • JR EAST lines: non-reserved seats in ordinary cars of ordinary trains (including rapid trains) in the 23 wards of central Tokyo
  • Tokyo Metro / Toei Subway
  • Nippori-Toneri Liner
  • Tokyo Sakura Tram(Toden Arakawa Line)
  • Toei Bus: all buses (exc. late night buses and reserved seat buses)

How much can I save?

E.g. Visiting multiple places of interest in the area covered

day trips jr pass tokyo

JR: from ¥140* Subway: from ¥170* Toei Bus: ¥210 *Fare differs depending on the route taken.​

The Tokyo 1-Day Ticket  saves you more money the more you use it on trains, subways, and buses in the designated zone. It also means you don’t have to buy a ticket each time you get on a train.

  • See the timetable, etc. for the exact fare

Where to buy

JR EAST Reserved Seat Ticket Vending Machine within the service area

パス利用者だけのお得情報 「&EKINAKA」

day trips jr pass tokyo

Tokyo 1-Day Ticket(東京フリーきっぷ)で行ける観光地

day trips jr pass tokyo

These passes/tickets are also recommended

Jr tokyo wide pass.

Example area of use

Tokyo Metropolitan District Pass (Tokunai Pass)

Example area of use

NONBIRI Holiday Suica Pass

Example area of use

  • Find Your Pass
  • Tokyo 1-Day Ticket

IMAGES

  1. Tokyo Wide Pass: Top Day Trips from Tokyo Under 2 Hours Away

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  2. The Best Day Trips from Tokyo with the JR Pass

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  3. JAPAN VLOG 31. Day trips around Tokyo: using JR Tokyo Wide Pass

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  4. The Best Day Trips from Tokyo with the JR Pass

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  5. JR TOKYO Wide Pass

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  6. The Best Day Trips from Tokyo with the JR Pass

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COMMENTS

  1. Best Day Trips from Tokyo by Train

    Check out the best day trips from Tokyo with the Japan Rail Pass. Temples, monuments, nature and fun in Kamakura, Nikko, Yokohama, Hakone and more! +34 93 547 88 66 » Mon-Fri 8 am to 8 pm (GMT+1) [email protected] » 24/7. Japan Rail Pass ... Book your Japan Rail Pass now. Day trip to Nikko.

  2. 11 Best Day Trips From Tokyo by Bullet Train

    These day trips from Tokyo by bullet train take full advantage of the Japan Rail Pass. Tokyo is a central transit hub with dozens of direct connections around Japan. Whether you want to wander castle towns, hike forested shrine paths, or relax at an onsen, there's a shinkansen day trip to suit any mood.

  3. The 3-Day JR TOKYO Wide Pass: Perfect for Day Trips From Tokyo

    JR TOKYO Wide Pass: The Best Pass for Tokyo Day Trips. The JR Tokyo Wide Pass is a 3-day transportation ticket offered by JR East, which can be used by foreign travelers holding non-Japanese passports, including those with long-term residence, study, or work visas. Therefore, it is a very popular transportation ticket.

  4. 11 Best Day Trips from Tokyo by Trains

    How to get there by train: 2 hrs 20 mins train journey from Tokyo Ueno Station to Naganohara Kusatsuguchi Station on the JR Kusatsu-Shima Train. 11. Hakone Onsen. Hakone Onsen, situated in Kanagawa Prefecture, is a popular hot spring destination that boasts stunning views of Mount Fuji and Lake Ashi.

  5. Daytripper: Top Five Day Trips from Tokyo

    For those planning to travel to Nikko with a Japan Rail Pass, you should find the experience quite easy. Nikko is best visited from Tokyo as the trip to get there only takes around 2 hours. First, take the Tohoku Shinkansen to Utsunomiya station, where you then transfer to the local JR Nikko line.

  6. 5 Best Bullet Train Day Trips From Tokyo (Japan Rail Pass)

    The best bullet train day trips from Tokyo. #1 Visit Kyoto for one day. #2 See the bowing deer in Nara. #3 See the bathing snow monkeys. #4 Visit Hitachi Seaside Park. #5 Marvel at Mount Fuji. Overnight trips from Tokyo. Just to let you know…. This post contains affiliate links, including Amazon Associates links.

  7. The 11 BEST Day Trips from Tokyo, Japan (2024 Edition)

    Getting There and Away. Pick up a Kamakura Day Pass from the Odakyu private train line at Shinjuku station for 1470 yen. This covers a return trip from Tokyo station to Fujisawa and then enlisted usage of the Enoden and Odakyu railway lines between Fujisawa and Katase-Enoshima (Odakyu) and Fujisawa (Kamakura (Enoden).

  8. Great Day Trips from Tokyo with the JR Tokyo Wide Pass

    The train ride from Shinjuku to Kawaguchiko Station takes under two hours on the Fuji-Excursion Limited Express and costs 4,130 yen one way. Note that this special train only runs three times a day in each direction and it is better to make a seat reservation (free with the JR Tokyo Wide Pass).

  9. Top 25 Easy Day Trips From Tokyo

    2. Enoshima. As one of the most popular Tokyo beach resorts (also see neighbor Kamakura), Enoshima offers sands to lie on and a stunning island to explore. You can walk to the island easily from the station and visit shrines, an observatory, and gardens, before cooling off in the caves on the other side.

  10. 13 best day trips for a weekend getaway from Tokyo

    Get the JR Tokyo Wide Pass (¥10,180) for unlimited travel on all JR trains in the Kanto area over three consecutive days (available to foreign residents of Japan and international tourists).

  11. Easy day trips from Tokyo

    Tokyo's surrounding area. With a Japan Rail Pass all our recommendations can be reached in just a couple of hours from Tokyo. Nikko: A firm favourite. Take in Japan's UNESCO World Heritage shrines and temples on a day trip to the mountain town of Nikkō, home to the mausoleums of the Tokugawa Shoguns. Onsen, hiking trails and even wild ...

  12. Mount Fuji from Tokyo: Day trip itinerary

    A day-trip from Tokyo to Mount Fuji and the lesser-known Hakone five lakes area is among the favorite experiences of many travelers to Japan, so here is our guide on how to visit this famous landmark with the Japan Rail Pass. Whether you prefer climbing or a more relaxed pace, we have the perfect guide for you make the most out of this trip! Let's start with some interesting facts about Fuji ...

  13. 10 Best Day Trips from Tokyo

    More Info. 5. Chichibu. Just an hour and a half from Tokyo by train, Chichibu is a great day trip destination to immerse yourself in nature. Enjoy a boat ride in Nagatoro river, or the breathtaking fields of pink mountain phlox, known as shibazakura in Japan. More Info. 6.

  14. Easy Day Trips From Tokyo

    Kawaguchiko. Kawaguchiko, a small town in the Yamanashi Prefecture, is quite popular for its fantastic views of Mount Fuji. It offers some of the best locations for taking breathtaking and spectacular photographs of Mt. Fuji and Lake Kawaguchiko. From Tokyo, travel to Kawaguchiko takes about three hours either by highway bus or train.

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    It takes anywhere from 2 to 2.5 hours to get there, so be prepared for a long day, with round-trip transportation costing around ¥3100. Alternatively, you can drive to Jogashima from Tokyo, which will take around 1.5 hours. However, you will have to pay tolls. Jogashima Island.

  16. Awesome Day Trips Possible From Tokyo Using the JR Pass

    Take the Tohoku-Hokkaido or Akita Shinkansen to Sendai and Senzan Line towards Yamagata. Ticket prices would normally cost around 24,000 JPY traveling from Tokyo and back in a day, so the pass almost redeems itself already from this one day trip. It works out just over 4,000 JPY per day with the cheapest JR pass.

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    2+ hour day trips from Tokyo ASHIKAGA FLOWER PARK. 2.5 hours from Shinjuku Station on various Tokyo Metro + JR train lines, or by road. Fellow wisteria lovers! Ashikaga Flower Park is one of the ultimate spring day trips from Tokyo, I thought I had stepped into wisteria heaven at this place. Yes, it does get crowded but it is absolutely worth it.

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  19. 16 Easy & Unforgettable Day Trips From Tokyo

    If you're traveling on the bullet train see our guide on how to reserve and buy Shinkansen tickets online. The Much-loved Japan Rail Pass Surged in Price by a massive 70% in October.; We recommend a 1,2 or 3-day Tokyo Unlimited Subway Pass to get around Tokyo cheaply and easily.; If you plan on visiting Mt Fuji check out our list of the best Mt Fuji group or private tours from Tokyo

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    The trip Shirakawa-gō is not covered by the JR Pass. Expect to pay around ¥ 5,000 for the round trip. Alternatively, you could join a day tour , this will set you back ¥ 11,795 but covers the round-trip from Kanazawa and the services of an English-speaking guide.

  21. The 5 best day trips from Tokyo

    1. Meet the Big Buddha of Kamakura. Travel time: One hour. From 1185 to 1333, the coastal town of Kamakura temporarily replaced Kyoto as the then seat of power in Japan. It's the remnants of that era that make modern-day Kamakura such a compelling day trip from Tokyo, with sights like the magnificent Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine and a varied ...

  22. Tokyo 1-Day Ticket (東京フリーきっぷ)

    E.g. Visiting multiple places of interest in the area covered. JR: from ¥140*. Subway: from ¥170*. Toei Bus: ¥210. *Fare differs depending on the route taken. The Tokyo 1-Day Ticket saves you more money the more you use it on trains, subways, and buses in the designated zone. It also means you don't have to buy a ticket each time you get ...

  23. Tokyo with Day Trips

    Hello, We will be staying primarily in Tokyo most of our stay, with day trips planned. Some of the places we plan on visiting include Ueno, Disneyland Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, and Mitaka (Studio Ghibli).

  24. Tokyo to Izu: Exploring Izu Peninsula Aboard the ...

    The travel time from Tokyo to Izukyu-Shimoda on the Saphir Odoriko is typically about 2.5 hours, making it a perfect day trip or weekend getaway. Key Stations on the Saphir Odoriko . ... For travelers holding a JR Pass, the good news is that the 3-day JR Tokyo Wide Pass covers the basic fare of the Saphir Odoriko train. Additionally, ...