Tokyo Day Trips: Our Top 10 Day Trips from Tokyo & More

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Day trips from Tokyo to Mount Fuji. Tokyo day trips by bullet train. Or how about the best day trips from Tokyo in winter, spring and other seasons? These are some of the questions our readers ask when making their Tokyo travel plans. You asked, so here goes. Read on to learn about our top ten side trips from Tokyo and many other great Tokyo day trips to consider.

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Tokyo Day Trips: Our Top 10 Day Trips from Tokyo & More

We lived in Tokyo for 13 years and never ran out of things to do. If you’re visiting Tokyo for the first time, you’ll soon see what I mean. However, there are so many Tokyo day trips to consider that it will be impossible to do them all. What kind of Tokyo day trip are you interested in? Are you looking for hot springs near Tokyo? Or maybe another city escape to places like Yokohama or Odaiba? Perhaps to a more historical excursion to the temples of Kamakura or Kawagoe? We’ll tell you about all of these and more, including the best beaches near Tokyo and the best hiking near Tokyo. Which Tokyo day trip is best for you?

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Day Trip from Tokyo to Mount Fuji?

Day trips from tokyo to mt fuji

When many people visit Japan, they often consider a day trip from Tokyo to Mt Fuji. This is possible, but before you book a day trip from Tokyo to Mt Fuji, consider what you want to get out of it. Do you merely want to see Mt Fuji? Or do you want to hike Mt Fuji? Day trips from Tokyo to Mt Fuji make for a very long day…and that’s just to see it and then head back to the city. We highly suggest making this an overnight trip. And if you want to hike Mt Fuji, then remember that hikes start very early and are only allowed during a limited window (usually July through early-mid September. 

Day Trips from Tokyo to Kyoto?

Another question we often get is if day trips from Tokyo to Kyoto are possible. The answer is yes. It is possible to do a day trip from Tokyo to Kyoto, but we don’t really recommend it as it is quite rushed. After all, the Shinkansen from Tokyo to Kyoto takes around three hours. In order to do a day trip from Tokyo to Kyoto, you will spend a lot of time getting there and back and hurry through a town that deserves to be savored. Kyoto is much more than an afternoon jaunt. That being said, some people’s Japan itinerary doesn’t allow for more. For those with limited time, day trips from Tokyo to Kyoto are best accomplished by shinkansen (bullet train) both ways. Take the earliest possible shinkansen, and then return to Tokyo on another shinkansen around 6 pm.

Taking the Shinkansen Tokyo to Kyoto and back can get quite expensive. A cheaper alternative is to take night buses. These night buses leave Tokyo at 11 pm and arrive around 6 am. That’s a long ride, but it can save you tens of thousands of yen (ie. hundreds of US dollars). And if you’re taking two overnight buses, does that even count as a day trip from Tokyo to Kyoto in the first place? In summary, we don’t really recommend day trips from Tokyo to Kyoto unless you have no other alternative and really, really want to see Kyoto. 

Alternatives to Tokyo Day Trips to Kyoto

If you want to see Kyoto simply because of the UNESCO name or because you’re interested in Japanese historical architecture, there are a few alternative Tokyo day trips listed below that may interest you. For example, Kamakura only an hour away by local trains and has beautiful temples and shrines. In my opinion, I think Nikko is just as beautiful and also has the UNESCO heritage stamp of approval. It’s also a long day but well worth it and easily one of the best Tokyo day trips in winter. 

Tokyo Day Trip Categories

tokyo day trip collage 2

There are so many Tokyo day trips to recommend that I’ve had to divide them into multiple categories. We’ll start with our personal favorites. All of these Tokyo day trips are good for any type of traveler. Yet depending on your our personal tastes, one Tokyo day trip may be more appealing than another.

Tokyo Day Trip Distances

One way to organize all these side trips from Tokyo is to order them by distance. All my travel times are based on Shinjuku station but could be longer/shorter depending on where you’re starting from. And remember: these travel distances are approximate! For example, it could take you an hour more or less depending on where you start your trip if you take a regular or express train, and so on. Some people only have a few days in Tokyo. For those people, consider your Tokyo day trips wisely. On the other hand, some travelers have more time and flexibility with their Japan holiday.

Our Top 10 Day Trips from Tokyo

Okay, so here are our personal favorite Tokyo day trips. Like mentioned above, they are in order of general distance from downtown. The first few are an easy day trip from Tokyo, and they get further/more complicated.

Kichijoji/Mitaka [15-20 Minutes]

ghibli museum Mitaka Tokyo day trips

This Tokyo suburb was one of my favorite places to hang out on a weekend. Kichijoji has plenty of things to do for anyone in Tokyo with kids or on their own. Leave Kichijoji Station and you’ll walk into an area of hip stores and great restaurants. Less than five minutes on foot is Inokashira Koen, which is one of the best parks in Tokyo. It’s not a large park, but it’s shaded and really comes alive on weekends with buskers and a flea market-type atmosphere. The pond here has paddle boats in the shape of swans.

The next station over is Mitaka, where you’ll find the Ghibli Museum, home to the work and legacy of Hayao Miyazaki. Best known in the Western world for movies like Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro, Miyazaki is a legend of Japanese animation. His Ghibli Museum chronicles his work while explaining the science and magic of stop-motion animation. This is easily the best day trip from Tokyo for animation fans. You can visit the museum and the Kichijoji area in a day. Just remember that you must buy Ghibli Museum tickets online and far in advance. Seriously: you can not buy Ghibli Museum tickets there. They must be bought in advance and each ticket has a set entry time. You can but them at branches of the Lawson convenience store chain or through the services listed below. More info here.

I wrote about Kitchijoji/Mitaka in my column in Japan Times

Odaiba [45 minutes]

Odaiba day trip from tokyo

While this is technically part of the city, we consider Odaiba one of the best day trips from Tokyo simply because there is so much to do there. With museums, shopping, great restaurants, and wide-open spaces, you can easily spend a full day (or two) in Odaiba. This would be the best Tokyo day trip for those who want a break from the crowds after a few days in places like Harajuku and Omotesando. Built onto man-made islands, Odaiba has one of the best views of the city at sunset. Heck, even the monorail ride out to Odaiba makes it worth a Tokyo day trip.

Read My Full Guide to Odaiba

Disney Land / Disney Sea [45-60 minutes]

Tokyo disney land & disney sea - Tokyo side trip

What should I say here that hasn’t been said? Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Disney Sea are two of the best day trips from Tokyo for any fan of the mouse. Just keep in mind that they are not actually in Tokyo but in nearby Chiba. In fact, we recommend staying near the resorts during the days you visit in order to get the most time and value out of the parks as you can. If not, then consider staying at a hotel on the east side of Tokyo during Disney days. All that walking and standing in line tires you out, and the trains back into the city at night can be packed.

Buy Skip-the-Line Tokyo Disney LAND Tickets

Buy Skip-the-Line Tokyo Disney SEA Tickets

Tokyo Disney LAND *or* Disney SEA Ticket— Pick up @ Maihama Station

Yokohama [45-60 minutes]

yokohama day trips from Tokyo

Once considered a suburb of Tokyo, Yokohama is now the second-most populous city in Japan, with nearly a million more residents than Osaka. The seafront attractions around Minato Mirai alone make it one of the best side trips from Tokyo. Aside from this many other travelers visit Yokohama for museums, jazz bars, and a few good meals in Chinatown. If you’re on a budget and looking for day trips from Tokyo by bullet train, then Yokohama is a short (20 minutes instead of 60) and inexpensive choice. 

Buy Shinkansen Tickets: Tokyo to Yokohama

Kamakura [60-90 minutes]

Kamakura best day trips from Tokyo

If your Tokyo visit doesn’t include time in Kyoto or Nikko, then definitely consider a Kamakura day trip. Kamakura may be one of the best Tokyo day trips to see shrines, temples and other ancient architecture. This is one of the closest places to Tokyo to see what ancient Japan looked like. Many people visit to see the giant Buddha, but there are more things to do in Kamakura than take a selfie at the iconic statue. The Kamakura period dates back to 1185, and some of the temples and shrines still standing echo that era. There are also some great hiking trails that are easily accessible from the train. If you’re interested in Japanese history, then this is one of your best Tokyo day trips.

I wrote about things to do in Kamakura for my column in Japan Times

Hakone [90 minutes]

hakone lake boat. best Tokyo day trips

Now we’ve arrived at one of the most popular day trips from Tokyo for locals and travelers alike. The Hakone region has been a Japan attraction and stopping point for travelers since the Edo era. It has a beautiful lake and some of the most famous hot springs in the country. Today you’ll find cable cars, boat rides, open-air museums, and hiking trails. You’ll also find hundreds of ryokan (traditional Japanese Inns) and other hotels with hot springs facilities. If you plan far enough ahead, then this Tokyo day trip can have the added bonus of including one of the most scenic train rides in Japan. Book the “Romance Car” and ride into the hills of Kanagawa with an unobstructed view.

I mentioned the Hakone Open Air Museum in my Japan Times column

Okutama [2-2.5 hours]

Tokyo day trip: hiking in okutama

One of the best Tokyo day trips for hiking is Okutama. Technically this is still part of greater Tokyo, but it sure doesn’t look like it. Buildings and other symbols of urban sprawl become less and less frequent as you hurtle into Tokyo prefecture’s westernmost corners. Here you have trails for every level of hiker. There are also hot springs and camping, as well as lakes and rivers for swimming, rafting, and refreshment. Whenever we needed a weekend away from the city, this was our go-to day trip from Tokyo.

Read more about Okutama and other hiking near Tokyo

Nikko [2-2.5 hours by Shinkansen]

Nikko. Day trips from tokyo by bullet train

Few places exude the beauty of old Japan like Nikko. The temple and shrines here are some of the best in the country, and the forest setting makes it even more magical. I’ve included it here as a day trip from Tokyo, but if you have time I encourage you to make it an overnight trip from Tokyo instead. The journey and sites make for a very full day. There are also amazing opportunities in nature here. Even still, you could spend two entire days in the UNESCO-heritage sites and still not absorb it all. Yet if your schedule is tight, then consider Nikko one of the best day trips from Tokyo by bullet train.

Kawaguchiko/Fuji Q Highland [2-2.5 hours]

kawaguchiko: Day trips from tokyo to mt fuji

Rounding out our top ten are two places quite close to each other. For number nine, of my Tokyo day trip list, I’ve put Kawaguchiko, which many consider the best day trip from Tokyo to Mt Fuji. Some travelers come all this way just to take their selfie and leave. Don’t do that. Kawaguchiko offers plenty for a full day trip, especially if you love seasonal flowers or spectacular autumn foliage.

Then of course just a few minutes away is Fuji Q Highland, of Japan’s best amusement parks. Come here for world-class roller coasters and other thrill rides, all with Mount Fuji as the backdrop. I’ve also suggested Fuji Q Highland as one of the best day trips from Tokyo in winter. Why? Well, the lines are shorter (dress warmly!) but also because you’ll find ice skating here and the snow-covered Fujisan is just the best for pics.

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More Great Day Trips from Tokyo

tokyo day trip collage 1

Now that you’ve read about my top ten day trips from Tokyo, let me tell you about a few more.

Kawasaki [30-45 minutes]

kawasaki farmhouse. day trips from Tokyo

I’ll admit it: I haven’t explored Kawasaki as much as I should have. Yet there are a few things there that make it a great Tokyo day trip. Many people think of Kawasaki attractions and think about the Kanamara Matsuri (Penis Festival). Sue, but Kawasaki also has the Folk House Museum and the best damn Halloween Parade I’ve ever seen. Disclosure: Are easily offended of traveling with sensitive children? Then maybe skip both Kanamara Matsuri and the Halloween Parade).

I mentioned the Kawasaki Halloween Parade in my Japan Times column

Sanrio Puroland [45 minutes]

Hello Kitty sario puroland. unusual Tokyo day trips

Okay hear me out: I hate Hello Kitty, but I LOVE the Hello Kitty Amusement Park called Sanrio Puroland. It is so bizarre, so over-the-top that it’s really hard to resist. In fact, I almost put it in my top ten day trips from Tokyo but just couldn’t justify it with so many other Tokyo day trips to recommend. But seriously: if you like Hello Kitty, you’ll love this place. And if you hate Hello Kitty but love the surreal, then you may like this place, too. It’s about an hour from downtown Tokyo, and the area nearby has some great restaurant options to make it day-trip-worthy.

I wrote about our experience at Sanrio Puroland in my Japan Times Column

Kawagoe [60-75 minutes]

Kawagoe: A historical day trip from Tokyo

Often called “Little Edo,” Kawagoe has preserved or refurbished many of its 18th-19th-century buildings. Walk these streets for a taste of what days have gone by might have looked like. And for kids and sweet-tooths, there is Candy Alley (Kashiya Yokocho) and its many shops specializing in traditional sweets.

Enoshima [60-90 minutes]

Enoshima: best Tokyo day trip for beach lovers

One of the best Tokyo day trips for beach lovers. Enoshima is where city dwellers escape the pavement and put their feet in the sand. It can get very crowded on weekends, but some people want that vibe. We prefer weekdays. Also, keep in mind that many of the lively beach-feel businesses are only open during the summer season. This would not be one of the best day trips from Tokyo in winter because

Minakami [2.5-3 hours]

Minakami: best day trip from Tokyo for rafting

So this last day trip from Tokyo is a tricky one, transportation-wise, but it’s also possibly my personal favorite. Once you’ve seen the city lights and ancient shrines, it’s time for some adventure. There is plenty of outdoor adventure in Minakami. And more. Minakami is in the Japanese Alps, where the hills are green and the water is ice blue. Come here for excellent rafting and canyoning in the summer and fantastic skiing and snowboarding in the winter. Also, Takaragawa — one of my favorite onsens (hot springs) is here in Minakami. In fact, skip this as a Tokyo day trip and stay overnight here. You’ll thank me later.

I wrote about canyoning in Minakami for the Japan Times

Best Tokyo Day Trips by Season

Some travelers will want to plan their Japan day trips during a particular season. With that in mind, here are a few suggestions. Please take note: most of our Tokyo day trip suggestions are good in any season, but some are better at certain times of the year. 

Best Tokyo Day Trips in Winter

Personally, we like to hit the big amusement parks during the coldest part of the year because they are generally less crowded. We’ve rocked Tokyo Disneyland and Fuji Q Highland in January and February and had a blast. Just make sure to dress appropriately. I’d also suggest Sanrio Puroland as a good Tokyo day trip in winter simply because it’s indoors. If you’re into winter sports, then consider Minakami or other ski areas, with a hot spring visit as well. 

Top Day Trips from Tokyo in Spring

For me, spring is all about the hanami parties. If you’re lucky enough to be in Tokyo during cherry blossom season, then, by all means, seek them out. Another great Tokyo day trip would be to Kawaguchiko, so see the blossoms with Mt. Fuji as the backdrop. Kamakura is also particularly beautiful this time of year. 

Best Tokyo Day Trip in Summer

Tokyo summers are incredibly hot and humid. It feels like walking through soup. That’s why you want to get out of Tokyo to somewhere cooler and away from concrete, like Hakone or Okutama. Our favorite Tokyo day trip in summer (usually an overnight trip actually) is to Minakami for canyoning or whitewater rafting. Would you prefer a beach? Tokyo summers are prime time for beach areas like Enoshima, Zushi, and Hayama. Summertime is the worst time to go to Disneyland. Avoid if at all possible. Super hot and super crowded. 

Top Tokyo Day Trips in Autumn

Fall in Japan is all about hiking and momijigari (紅葉狩り, or “Fall Leaf Hunting”). For this, you have lots of great day trips from Tokyo. The closest would be Kamakura and Hakone — the Japanese maples are amazing this time of year. Then Okutama and Nikko are beautiful as well. 

What is YOUR Ideal Tokyo Day Trip?

If you could only take one day trip from Tokyo, where would you go? What if you could take two side trips from Tokyo? Or three? Would you look for Tokyo day trips in the winter? The spring? Tell us where you’ve been or where you want to go in the comments below!

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Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This costs you nothing, but when you use our links to book a day trip from Tokyo, we might receive a small commission. My opinions are my own and I only recommend things what I think are the best day trips from Tokyo to Mt Fuji, Yokohama, and other Japan destinations. 

Photo Credits via Creative Commons CC BY or other Royalty-free image sites. Some images may have been altered slightly via cropping or color enhancement: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #10, #11#12, #13, #14, #15, #16, #17, #18#20, #21, #22, #23, #24, #25, #26, #27, #28, #29, #30, #31

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