Let’s face it. As hyped as Tokyo can get, it might be a little boring for city dwellers. Don’t get me wrong though. Its shopping districts are flooded with international luxury brands, exclusive local labels and vintage thrift shops. Not forgetting the variety of local coffee roasters and memorable cafes, as well as high quality food.

Hence, if you want to take a break from the hustle and bustle, you’ll have to venture into its surrounding prefectures for the day.

Nearby prefectures for a day trip from Tokyo

1. Yokohama

How was cup noodles invented? Find out more about the origins of cup noodles at Yokohama's Cup Noodles Museum, one of the most popular attractions in the port town.
Design your own cup noodles for ¥100 at Yokohama’s Cup Noodles Museum

For museums, unique bites and locally-crafted knick-knacks, head down to Yokohama, just a mere 30 minutes from Tokyo.

Japan’s dynamic port city, serves as a captivating blend of modernity and tradition, making it an ideal day trip destination from Tokyo.

Snack on Chinese cuisine in the vibrant Chinatown, learn all about the history and evolution of cup noodles at the Cup Noodles Museum, and shop and feast on local brands and eateries at the Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse.

In my opinion, it’s one of the most underrated cities near Tokyo, and you’ll be surprised to find out how much it has to offer.

Top attractions at Yokohama

  • Cup Noodles Museum – Learn all about the origin of cup noodles and make your own instant ramen
  • Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse – Interesting local brands and eateries
  • Yokohama Cosmoworld – Theme park with the world’s tallest ferris wheel
  • Granny Smith Apple Pie – One of the best apple pies we’ve had (source: trust us bro)

How to travel from Tokyo to Yokohama?

By train: If you have the JR Rail Pass, we recommend taking the Tokaido Shinkansen as it’s only a 20 minutes ride and it would cost ¥2,600 for non-pass holders. Otherwise, you could take a number of other lines such as the Tokyu Toyoko from Shibuya, which roughly costs ¥500.

By car: It’s a 45 minutes drive fro Tokyo to the centre of Yokohama.

2. Hakone

Where is a torii? It's a traditional orange shrine in Japan, and this particular one is a popular tourist attraction at Lake Ashi in Hakone, where many visitors will queue up to an hours to take a photo there
The iconic torii at Lake Ashi. Photo: @colourthesun / Instagram

If you’re in Tokyo and you feel that a trip to Japan isn’t complete with a proper hot spring, this is the perfect day trip for you.

Just a 30 minutes train ride from the city centre, Hakone presents an idyllic retreat with its therapeutic hot springs amidst the scenic mountains. It’s also where the iconic torii lies, located at the circumference of Lake Ashi.

From there, take the Hakone Ropeway cable car to various checkpoints in town, such as the sulfuric hot springs at Owakudani, where you can enjoy a black hard-boiled egg cooked in the sulfuric waters.

Aside from sight-seeing, Hakone also offers various museums to explore, such as the Hakone Venetian Glass Museum and Pola Museum. If you’re looking for surreal spots for photos, we also recommend the Pampas Grass Field in the Sengoku Area.

Must-visit places at Hakone

  • Owakudani – Observe volcanic activity up-close and try one of their speciality “black eggs”
  • Hakone Ropeway – Cable car to various popular tourist attractions in Hakone
  • Hakone Yuryo Onsen – One of the town’s favourite onsens with public and private baths available
  • Lake Ashinoko – A serene lake where the iconic Hakone Shrine lies
  • Hakone Venetian Glass Museum – Featuring Venetian glassware on a scenic grassland

How to get to Hakone from Tokyo

By train: Japan Rail Pass holders can board the JR Tokaido Shinkansen, which takes 30 minutes, for free. Otherwise, local trains, departing from popular stations like Shinjuku, Tokyo and Ikebukuro Stations, will take roughly 70-90 minutes for about ¥1,500.

By bus: The Odakyu Hakone Highway Bus travels directly from Shinjuku Station to Lake Ashi area for ¥2,000. The journey takes about two hours.

3. Enoshima

Diamond Mount Fuji view from Enoshima Island, only available in specific months
Fujikawaguchiko is not the only place to see Mount Fuji! Photo: iStock / Ghing

For those seeking a coastal retreat, Enoshima Island beckons with its captivating stories.

Situated off the coast of Kanagawa Prefecture, Enoshima Island boasts a good mix stunning vistas, a vibrant shrine, but more importantly — interesting folklore about how the island was formed.

It’s only 80 minutes via a direct train. In addition to its short travelling time, there’s just enough attractions on the island to spend the day there; no more, no less. However, if you’d like to spend the night there, many visitors would book a stay at the Enoshima Island Spa, where they can get a relaxing soak with the view of Mount Fuji (if you’re lucky!).

Key highlights at Enoshima

  • Enoshima Iwaya Caves – A fascinating natural wonder shaped by centuries of tidal erosion
  • Samuel Cocking Garden – Enchanting garden (at night) with a plethora of floral and fauna
  • Enoshima Island Spa – Natural hot springs, heated pools, relaxation areas and saunas
  • Lon Cafe – French toast speciality cafe
  • Kalae-Ribs Kitchen – the most memorable steak curry rice 

How to get to Enoshima?

By train: The Odakyu Romancecar departs from Shinjuku and heads towards Katase-Enoshima Station within an hour for ¥700.

By car: It’s a 1 hour 15 minute drive from Tokyo. You can park at the entrance of Enoshima Island from ¥400 per hour, with a cap of ¥2,000 per day

4. Mount Nokogiri

Home to the largest Buddha statue in Japan. Photo: Visit Chiba

For a cultural and spiritual journey within easy reach of Tokyo, Mount Nokogiri in Chiba Prefecture stands as a captivating destination brimming with history and natural beauty. It’s also a great excuse to walk off all the calories gained during your Japan trip!

There are two ways to explore the mountain: either taking the Mount Nokogiri Ropeway up or hiking on foot completely. Note that even with the ropeway, you’ll still have to commit to a fair amount of walking.

Aside from the usual scenic beauty that mountains typically offers, Mount Nokogiri is home to the largest Buddha statue in the country. In addition, various stone carvings and statues can be found along the hiking trail.

Best sightseeing areas at Mount Nokogiri

  • Great Daibutsu – The largest Buddha statue in Japan
  • Jusshu Ichiran Observatory – Unparelled view of Tokyo Bay
  • The 100 Shaku Kannon – 130m carving of the Goddess of Mercy
  • Jigoku Nozoki – Also known as the “view of hell”
  • 1500 Stone Arhat statues – A collection of stone buddhist statues

Travelling from Tokyo to Mount Nokogiri

By train: With a 90 minute travel, the Shinjuku Sazanami is a direct line from Shinjuku to Hama-Kanaya station. However, it runs runs seasonally and only on weekends, with limited trains per day. The ticket price is ¥3,870. The JR Lines are also a possible route to take. But it does involve changing lines and a longer travel time.

By ferry: This route is perfect for those who are planing to visit multiple prefectures near Tokyo. Located at Kanagawa, which is near Yokohama and Enoshima, the Kurihama Ferry Terminal takes you across the Tokyo Bay to Port Kanaya in Chiba. The ferry ride takes 40 minutes and only costs ¥930 for a roundtrip ticket.

5. Fujikawaguchiko

The view of Mount Fuji from a neighbouring mountain, accessible via the ropeway
The view of Mount Fuji from a neighbouring mountain, accessible via the ropeway

Let’s be real — Fujikawaguchiko needs no introduction.

Nestled in the northern foothills of Mount Fuji, Fujikawaguchiko is bound to end up in most traveller’s Tokyo itinerary as it offers unparalleled views of the iconic mountain.

For those who are looking for a bit more excitement than just a view of a mountain, Fujikawaguchiko offers more than sightseeing. Cycle around Lake Kawaguchi, where interesting cafes and local stores lie. Some shops also offer craft workshops, such as a preserved flowers experience.

Key highlights at Fujikawaguchiko

  • Kawaguchiko Mt. Tenjo Ropeway – Head up to a neighbouring mountain to catch a clearer view of Mount Fuji
  • Lake Kawaguchi Pleasure Boat – A different way to admire the grandeur of Mount Fuji
  • Kawaguchiko Cheesecake Garden – Cafe located near the lake with a wide variety of cheesecakes available
  • Fuji-Q Highland Amusement Park – Thrilling rollercoasters and anime-themed rides
  • Ide Sake Brewery – Learn about the processes of brewing sake and sample some unique local offerings

3 ways to travel to Fujikawaguchiko from Tokyo

By train: Departing from Shinuku Station, Fuji Excursion takes 1 hour 50 minutes to reach Kawaguchiko. It also stops directly at Mount Fuji and Fujikyu-Highland. Price: ¥1,600

By bus: Buses to Kawaguchiko from Shinjuku, Shibuya and Tokyo Station takes about 2-2.5 hours at roughly ¥2,000 per ride. Bus rides are not recommended due to luggage restrictions. Also, most buses will take highways with high barrier walls that blocks scenic views.

By car: If you’re renting a private car, the ride takes roughly 1 hour 15 minutes.

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