There is a lot to see in Tokyo, but this amazing city is only one small part of a country full of amazing sights and experiences. Tokyo’s modernity is almost unrivaled and it is a great center of Japanese culture as well as technology. However, if you want to see more of the country and its rich heritage, you should consider taking a day trip out of the city. There is a lot to see and it is well worth the experience!

Hitachi Seaside Park during spring in Ibaraki Prefecture. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

When it comes to mode of travel, everyone thinks of exploring some nice places that are worth visiting. Whether you’re staying in the city of Tokyo for a vacation or for business, here are the top 10 day trips from Tokyo that you should consider:

1) Hakone

Mount Fuji and Lake Ashi, Hakone. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Hakone is a part of Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. It is located less than a 100 kilometers away from Tokyo, making it a very doable day trip. There is a lot to see here, so it’s sure to be a very busy day! Beyond an amazing view of Mount Fuji above Lake Ashinoko (Lake Ashi), you can also visit the numerous hot springs to relax, or test your courage on the Hakone Ropeway.

Since the area still has a bit of volcanic activity, like much of Japan, you can also visit Owakudani to see some sulfur springs and even purchase eggs that have been cooked in them! The Hakone Shrine is another location worth visiting on your trip here. It is one of the most famous Shinto shrines in the country.

You can also take a visit to Odawara castle, which is a reconstructed castle at the entrance to Hakone. There are many ways to get to and around Hakone by rail. You can also take the Odakyu Hakone Highway Bus, which operates every 30 minutes from Tokyo’s Shinjuku Station.

 2) Kamakura

The Great Buddha of Kamakura at Kotoku-in Temple. Photo Credit: John Gillespie at Flickr.

This small coastal town is located about an hour south of Tokyo. It was the capital of Japan for several centuries and as a result is full of historical significance. If you go here, be sure to visit the Great Buddha of Kamakura (Daibutsu) a large bronze statue of Buddha that has survived tidal waves and time when its temple buildings have not.

You should also take the time to tour the Hasedera Temple, Hachimangu Shrine, and Hokokuji Temple, all of which are beautiful complexes dedicated to Japan’s complex spiritual heritage. Kamakura can be reached by rail from Tokyo on the JR Yokosuka Line, the JR Shonan Shinjuku Line, and Odakyu Railways. Because it is so close, these trips are fairly direct, though the route used with Odakyu Railways takes 90 minutes, while the others take 60 minutes.

Autumn leaves in Kamakura – read the post to see some amazing fall foliage.

3) Yokohama

Minato Mirai, Yokohama. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

This is Japan’s second largest city. It is less than 30 minutes south of Tokyo and has its own sights to rival the grand city of Tokyo. Go enjoy a peaceful walk through the traditional Japanese landscape of Sankei-en Garden. Visit Minato Mirai, “The Harbor of the Future”, Yokohama’s new city center that is full of shopping, an amusement park, museums, and more.

There is so much to see and so here that just wandering around will help you find something great to see, whether it’s Japan’s largest Chinatown district or the Cup Noodles Museum. You can get to Yokohama easily by train and bus. Most trips are less than 30 minutes, and the fastest is the JR Tokaido Shinkansen, which is about 15 minutes.

4) Nikko

Lake Chuzenji and Kegon Waterfall in Nikko. Photo Credit: TANAKA Juuyoh at Wikimedia Commons.

Nikko sits are the entrance to Nikko National Park. It is 125 kilometers north of Tokyo. It is most famous for the elaborately decorated Toshogu Shrine. The shrine complex is packed with a dozen of beautiful buildings that are worth exploring. Taiyuinbyo is the mausoleum of the third Tokugawa shogun and is certainly elaborate, though it is not as lavish as the nearby Toshogu Shrine.

If you want to enjoy something awe-inspiring after spending time in super-modern Tokyo, visit Lake Chuzenji, located at the foot of Mount Nantai in Nikko and it offers spectacular views. In addition, the Kegon Waterfall is Nikko’s most famous waterfall and for good reason, since it is a spectacular sight. For an even grander view, visit the observation decks on the Akechidaria Plateau along the Irohazaka road. Reach Nikko from Tokyo by Tobu Railway or Japan Railways.

5) Kawaguchiko

Lake Kawaguchiko, Mt. Fuji, and Sakura! Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

If you want some of the most amazing views of Mount Fuji in Japan, Kawaguchiko is the place to go. You’ll see Mount Fuji reflected across a lake or over blooming fields of lavender. There are many flower festivals in the area, with wonderful views of changing leaves in autumn and cherry blossoms in the spring.

Alongside visiting some of its popular autumn leaves and cherry blossom spots, many visitors come here just to see the snow-capped peak of Mount Fuji in the fall and spring. Seriously it looks mind-boggling! And often the area is considered one of the most popular photography locations in Japan. From Kawaguchiko Station, take the Red Lien sightseeing bus to explore Kawaguchiko’s famous attractions.

6) Izu Peninsula

Atami Castle. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

This resort area is located about 100 kilometers south of Tokyo. It is very well known for its hot springs and amazing rocky coastal views. You can easily see Mount Fuji from this peninsula’s western coast. If you are there in early spring, be sure to visit the Kawazu Cherry Blossom Festival.

Go see Atami castle in Atami, a recently constructed castle made after the form of traditional Japanese castles that offers amazing views and a great place to see cherry blossoms. You can reach the Izu Penninsula by JR Tokaido Shinkansen, limited express trains, and local trains that run along the JR Tokaido Line.

7) Enoshima

A view of Mt. Fuji from the beach of Enoshima. Photo Credit: Marufish at Flickr.

This small tourist destination is an island just off the coast of Kamakura and is accessible by train from there. The small island has several shrine buildings and a number of other attractions, including an aquarium. The island is best known for its beaches, which are the closest to Tokyo.

In addition, it’s a famous place to enjoy sunset and see incredible Mt. Fuji in Japan. If you up to go to Enoshima, consider purchasing an EnoPass, which is a combination ticket that includes admission to many of the island’s attractions.

8) Nokogiriyama (Mount Nokogiri)

Jigoku Nozoki Viewpoint at Mount Nokogiri. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Get back to nature by visiting Nokogiriyama, also known as Saw-tooth Mountain. It’s a fairly easy hiking location, with a great view from the top. The area has been a Buddhist site for more than 1300 years.

The Nihonji Temple Complex is located on the mountain’s slopes as are the Ishidaibutsu, the largest cliff-carved Buddha in Japan, and statues of the 1500 Arhat, mortals who have attained enlightenment. It is an amazing hike unlike any other you’ll find in the world. The train ride is about two hours from Tokyo station to Hama-Kanaya Station, with one change at Kimitsu Station on the JR Uchibo line.

9) Ibaraki

Fukuroda Falls in Autumn – one of the most beautiful autumn leaves viewing spots in Japan. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Ibaraki is a large area. Here you can find the second largest lake in the country, Kasumigaura, as well as the wonderful Fukuroda Falls. Take the time to visit Hitachi Seaside Park if you go to this area to see a number of seasonal flowers in bloom.

If you’re with family, this is also a great trip, since you can visit Aqua World, a water park that is a lot of fun. Also, visit Kairakuen Garden in Mito for a pleasant walk through a traditional Japanese garden. Reach this area by train or highway bus.

10) Kusatsu

Yugama Crater Lake. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

This is one of Japan’s most well-known hot spring resort towns. There are many onsens (hot spring baths) to visit in the area. The waters are said to have incredible curative properties. You can see many different traditions associated with onsen in this area, all while enjoying some relaxing baths.

Many visitors also tend to visit Yugama Crater Lake (located on Mount Shirane) along the designated hiking trails. Take note the mountain is one of Japan’s active volcanoes, therefore, before you go there, check its volcanic activity.

In the winter, you can also hit the slopes at Kusatsu Kokusai Ski Resort. You can reach Kutatsu via train and bus via Naganohara or via Karuizawa, or even take a highway bus directly there from Tokyo. The trip takes about 2.5 hours by limited express trains, and requires at least four hours if you take the local trains.