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Top Side Trips From Tokyo

Top Side Trips From Tokyo

If it is your second trip to Tokyo, why don’t you skip crowded places such as Shibuya, Akihabara, and Shinjuku to make a one-day trip to its nearby tourist destinations? There are a lot of choices for your getaway, and your stay in Japan will become more unforgettable with great experiences.

1. Hakone, Kanagawa Prefecture

Top Side Trips From Tokyo
Photo by VLKong

Located less than 100 kilometers from the capital city, Hakone is very famous for hot springs (onsen), natural beauty, historical sites and the view of famous Mt. Fuji. It is very relaxing to sink into a hot springs while gazing out over the lush mountain, or visit Owakudani to enjoy eggs cooked in the natural hot water, whose shells are blackened by the sulfur and which are said to prolong one's life by seven years. Hakone is one of the most highly rated and the most visited destinations in Japan.
Distance from Tokyo: 1 hour and 40 minutes
Highlight Attractions:

  • Hakone Hot Springs
  • Open Air Musem
  • Owakudani
  • Lake Ashinoko
  • Hakone Shrine

2. Nikko City, Tochigi Prefecture

Top Side Trips From Tokyo
Photo by Orson Wang

The UNESCO World Heritage Site Shrines and Temples of Nikko and their natural surroundings have been a sacred site known for its architectural and decorative masterpieces for centuries. The Heritage site consists of 2 shrines and 1 temple: the Nikko Toshogu Shrine, Nikkosan Rinno-Ji Temple, and Nikko Futarasan-jinja Shrine. Walking around the area, tourists will see a variety of architectures and sculptures registered as national treasures or major cultural properties. They also can enjoy the peaceful atmosphere and the beauty of nature such as valleys formed by volcanic rocks and breath-taking waterfalls.

Distance from Tokyo: 2 hours

Highlight Attractions:

  • The UNESCO World Heritage Site Shrines and Temples
  • Nikko National Park (Kegon Waterfall and Lake Chuzenji)
  • Shinkyo Bridge
  • Bake Jizo statues in the Kanmangafuchi Abyss

3. Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture

Top Side Trips From Tokyo
Photo by # my way #

Once to be a political capital along with Nara and Kyoto, the ancient city has a lot of shrines, temples, and historical monuments. Its best sightseeing spot is The Great Buddha, which was built in the 13th century and is the second tallest bronze Buddha statue in Japan. Besides, tourists can visit temples and shrines bounded by beautiful Japanese style gardens or go hiking in Kamakura’s hills.

Distance from Tokyo: 1 hour and 15 minutes

Highlight Attractions:

  • The Great Buddha
  • Hokokuji Temple
  • Hasedera Temple
  • Hachimangu Shrine

4. Fujikawaguchiko, Yamanashi Prefecture

Top Side Trips From Tokyo
Photo by Natapong Supalertsophon

With five lakes, including Lake Kawaguchiko, Lake Shojiko, and Lake Motosuko, the area is one of the best places to view Mt. Fuji from a close distance. Moreover, it offers a variety of stunning sceneries in the cherry blossom season in April and the autumn colours in November. Tourists also should not miss out exciting activities such as hot springs (onsen) and hiking.

Distance from Tokyo: 2 hours

Highlight Attractions:

  • Mt. Fuji
  • Fuji Five Lakes
  • Aokigahara Forest
  • Shibazakura Festival

5. Nagano City, Nagano Prefecture

Top Side Trips From Tokyo
Photo by jun.skywalker (enishi hand made cyclecap)

The city is an ideal place for tourists to go skiing and enjoy hot springs in the winter and hiking and walking in the summer. Zenkoji Temple is its must-see tourism attraction and one of Japan’s most-visited temples. In addition, visitors can go to other temples, buildings constructed for the Winter Olympics in 1998, and the Matsumoto Castle.

Distance from Tokyo: 1 hour and 45 minutes. You can use your JR Pass to take a shinkansen to Nagano City.

Highlight Attractions:

  • Zenkoji Temple
  • Matsumoto Castle

6. Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture

Top Side Trips From Tokyo
Photo by Ariel and Caliban

As the second largest city in Japan, Yokohama is home to a great number of sightseeing spots. It has a mix of historical and modern buildings and one of the world’s biggest Chinatowns with genuine Chinese food.

Distance from Tokyo: Less than one hour

Highlight Attractions:

  • Sankeien Garden
  • Minato Mirai
  • Chinatown
  • Ramen Museum

7. Mt. Takao, Kanagawa Prefecture

Top Side Trips From Tokyo
Photo by Naoko Takano

Mt. Takao is one of the closest natural recreation areas to central Tokyo. It is a very popular spot for locals and visitors to enjoy beautiful scenery, visiting interesting temples and hiking. At the foot of the mountain, travellers can learn about the ecology surrounding Mt. Takao at the Takao 559 Museum for free. Mt. Takao is very crowded on weekends, so you had better visit it on weekdays.

Distance from Tokyo: 1 hour

Highlight Attractions:

  • Mt. Takao and its hiking trails
  • Takao 559 Museum

Top Side Trips From Tokyo

Photo by Naoko Takano

8. Enoshima, Kanagawa Prefecture

Top Side Trips From Tokyo
Photo by yiming1218

As a small island off the coast connected by a bridge with the mainland, Enoshima attracts lots of tourists for its various attractions such as shrine buildings, an observation tower, and caves. You should not miss out the Enoshima Aquarium and some beaches on the either side of the island where people often spend their summer holidays.

Distance from Tokyo: 1 hour and 30 minutes

Highlight Attractions:

  • Enoshima Shrine
  • Enoshima Aquarium

9. Odawara, Kanagawa Prefecture

Top Side Trips From Tokyo
Photo by Agustin Rafael Reyes

The city is very famous for Odawara Castle, a residence of the Hojo family who ruled the area during the 15th century. You can rent samurai clothes or kimono and take photographs with the castle in the background. If you are there in February or in April, do not forget to enjoy plum and cherry blossoms at Odawara Joshi Koen.

Distance from Tokyo: 1 hour and 40 minutes

Highlight Attractions:

  • Odawara Castle
  • Kanagawa Prefectural Museum of Natural History
  • Gyokuhoji Temple

10. Kawagoe, Kanagawa Prefecture

Top Side Trips From Tokyo
Photo by Les Taylor

Thrived as a major city to the capital for trade and strategic purposes in the 17th century, Kawagoe inherited many aspects of the Edo culture and architecture. You will feel like going back to the past when walking along its main street with kurazukuri (clay wall warehouse style buildings). Besides, you should not take Kitain Temple out of the list.

Distance from Tokyo: 45 minutes

Highlight Attractions:

  • Kitain Temple
  • Warehouse District
  • Honmaru Goten

After only a few hours from the bustling city of Tokyo, you will find a different Japan with stunning sceneries, well-preserved historical sites, and interesting temples. Therefore, remember to put the above areas on the list of your must-see places when you make a visit to Japan.


My name’s Catherine, you can call me Kate. I love animals, writing and travelling.I started my Asian journey since 2003; and I have been nearly 20 countries so far. The more I go, the more I fall in love with this incredible continent. It has a unique beauty and distinctive culture that never fully explored. This’s why there are many countries I still keep coming back over and over again. I’m here to share with you my fun, sad or even scared memory on my backpacking trails. Hope it works on you!

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