Tokyo is an amazing travel destination! And there are so many incredible places to visit near Tokyo.
That’s why for this post, I’m not here to tell you about Tokyo. I’ve got plenty of Tokyo blog posts that already do that (check out my Things to Do in Tokyo travel guide).
Instead, I’m here to talk about some of the cool places that are just a day trip away from the Japanese capital.
Places to visit near Tokyo
You may be planning on getting a Japan Rail Pass, which is a great idea (and something you need to get before your trip, as they ship it to you). This means you can be admiring the view of the metropolis from the Tokyo Skytree one day, and be zooming out of Tokyo Station on a shinkansen (bullet train) the next—free of charge!
There are tons of places to choose from, but I’ve narrowed it down to seven of my favorites places to visit near Tokyo to help you make the most of your time in Japan.
You may have heard of the Edo Period (1603-1868), but you probably haven’t heard of the Kamakura Period (1185-1333), right? That’s when the capital of Japan was based in this coastal city.
Just south of the modern-day capital, the seaside town is an hour’s train travel from Tokyo Station.
And it feels so different!
There are lots of boutique (and heritage) stores on its shopping streets, and a famous beach called Yuigahama, but the star of the show is the 42-foot-tall bronze Great Buddha statue. There are also hiking courses and an 8th-century Buddhist temple complex, Hasedera, to wander around, complete with an observation deck.
The town of Hakone is a classic Japanese resort: there are mountains, lakes, and, of course, onsen—traditional Japanese hot springs.
Part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, one of the most famous things about Hakone is being able to get an amazing view of Mount Fuji (on a clear day, anyway).
It’s just an hour away from Tokyo Station by train, and the change in scenery and vibe, couldn’t be more different! It’s like a breath of fresh air from the frenetic streets of the capital.
Don’t forget to snap a selfie against the gorgeous backdrop of the red torii gate on the shores of Lake Ashi at Hakone Shrine!
Tokyo Disney Resort
Away from the famous fish markets and the Imperial Palace of Tokyo, there’s Tokyo Disneyland.
Ok, ok, so it might say “Tokyo,” but did you know this world-famous amusement park is actually in the neighboring prefecture of Chiba?
All it takes is a half-hour train ride from the city’s central station and you’ll be at Tokyo Disney—with seven themed lands to explore around 115 acres on Tokyo Bay.
Opened in 1983, this is actually the first Disneyland to open outside of the U.S. And if you’ve come to Tokyo for fun and excitement, I definitely recommend you visit this literal world of wonder.
Disney fans should not skimp out!
Nikko is one of the best trips you could take from Tokyo, like, ever.
It’s a peaceful place known for possibly the most elaborate Shinto shrine in Japan—Toshogu.
Even before that landmark was built in the early 1600s, Nikko has been a center for Buddhist and Shinto worship for hundreds of years.
Temples and shrines not your thing?
Then let me tell you that Nikko is also home to Nikko National Park. In Japan, that means hiking and hot springs galore.
It’s a very popular place in fall—take one day out of the city and the fall colors here will be enough for any leaf peeper. There are literally thousands of photo ops here, it’s that dreamy.
Leave Tokyo behind as you take the train just 35 minutes from Shinjuku Station all the way to the neighboring city of Yokohama.
This port city has a different feel to the capital. It’s so much more open and chilled out, even though it’s the second biggest city in Japan!
In the Motomachi area, specifically Yamate, you will find a bit of a hidden gem in the form of lots of heritage buildings in a former “foreigners-only” area from the early days of Japan opening up to the world in the early 20th century. It’s cool!
Elsewhere, the futuristic Minato Mirai area is all about giant, pristine malls straight out of your dreams, and includes art museums and a super high Ferris wheel.
Going to Atami means you’ll definitely be getting off the regular tourist trail.
Atami is a coastal city on the Izu Peninsula, and less than an hour away by shinkansen, so it’s an easy day trip from Tokyo.
Set on the slopes of steep mountains on one side, with the sea (and beaches!) on the other, Atami is a resort town that’s known for its hot springs and fancy ryokan (Japanese style guesthouses).
Head to the MOA Museum of Art for some cool design-y culture, or just luxuriate in an onsen with sea views. Your choice!
Another onsen resort that’s in Tokyo’s backyard, Kusatsu Onsen is all about its health benefits. The hot spring waters here are said to cure every illness (except lovesickness, apparently).
It takes a while to reach (just under three hours), but trust me; it’s definitely worth it. It’s not every day you get to see a Japanese hot spring resort!
Not only can you take a dip in one of the many public onsens here, but there’s also a ski resort for all you ski enthusiasts out there.
Once you’ve made the day trip to Kusatsu Onsen, your next adventure to Japan may just have to involve a stay there, I think!
It was hard to narrow down all the awesome Tokyo day trips you can do while you’re there. But I chose to mix it up a bit and give you some really off the beaten path places to visit near Tokyo to think about.
There are ancient cities, beautiful shrines, serene nature and, in true Japanese style, a ton of hot springs to indulge in!
If you find yourself in any of these amazing spots—tell me about it! I’m @wtfab on Insta, hit me up!
Planning a trip to Tokyo? Be sure to check out all my Tokyo travel guides!
Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, and Okinawa are some of the most popular places in Japan for first-timers to visit.
Cherry blossom season in the spring is a very popular time to visit Japan. The fall is also beautiful with all of the fall foliage and nice weather. Summers can be very hot, and winters are very cold.
Japan can be expensive and has a lot of fancy hotels and restaurants, but you can also do Japan on the cheap by staying in hostels and eating at inexpensive places.
Kyoto, Hakone, and Nikko are popular places to visit outside of Tokyo.