Tokyo is one of the biggest and most exciting cities in the world, but it’s not the only interesting place on the Kanto region. Visitors staying in the capital city for a long enough period of time should consider traveling outside of the Greater Tokyo Area for a day or even a weekend trip to discover the beautiful scenery around it. Japan’s quality public transit system will make your trip fast, safe and affordable. Take a look:
1. Hakone [Kanagawa Prefecture]
Credit: Wikimedia CommonsThe town of Hakone is almost entirely located within the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, a mountainous land of volcanic nature full of hot springs, lakes and islands. Both the town and the park make for a superb weekend and holiday destination, and they’re less than 100km (about two hours) west of Tokyo. The park offers stunning views of Mount Fuji, plenty of historic structures and endless recreational possibilities, like a pirate ship tour across Lake Ashino! Don’t forget to bring a bike to ride around the park’s trails.
Address: 707-1 Yumoto Shiraishishita, Hakone, Ashigarashimo, KanagawaAccess:By train: from Shinjuku, take the limited express ‘Romancecar’ train to Hakone-Yumoto Station.Recommended period: Anytime.Contact:Hakone Tourist AssociationWithin Japan: 460-85-5700
2. Kamakura [Kanagawa Prefecture]
Credit: FlickrOften regarded as the Kyoto of Eastern Japan, Kamakura is a prime day trip from Tokyo for those interested in art, culture and history. Kamakura makes a popular destination for tourist around the Greater Tokyo Area not only due to its abundance of temples, but also because it’s home to a few long sand beaches. The relatively small city, which was once the de facto capital of Japan, has everything a tourist could ever ask for.
Address: Kamakura 248-0016, Kanagawa PrefectureAccess:By train: from Tokyo Station, take the JR Yokosuka Line to Kamakura Station.Recommended period: Anytime.Contact:Kamakura City Tourist AssociationWithin Japan: 0467-23-3050
3. Yokohama [Kanagawa Prefecture]
Credit: Wikimedia CommonsYokohama, the capital city of the Kanagawa Prefecture and the most populated city in Japan, is the most popular day and weekend trip from Tokyo due to its fun atmosphere and thrilling nightlife. There are lots of things to do and see in Yokohama; zoos, gardens, museums, theme parks and shopping districts are just some of them. Yokohama is home to the illustrious Cup Noodle Museum and, most importantly, the Kirin Beer Village, which offers free tours through the brewery and a free tasting afterwards.
Address: Yokohama 220-8686, Kanagawa PrefectureAccess:By train: from Tokyo, take an express or limited express train on the Toyoko Line to Yokohama Station.Recommended period: Anytime.Contact:Yokohama Station Tourist Information CenterWithin Japan: 045-441-7300
4. Kawasaki [Kanagawa Prefecture]
Credit: Wikimedia CommonsJust a short train ride from downtown Tokyo, Kawasai is a good day trip for those who don’t want to venture further from the city limits than strictly necessary. Like any other big city in the country, Kawasaki has a good deal of historic buildings, parks, gardens and museums, like the Doraemon and Folk House museums. If you’re more into shopping, Kawasaki’s Lazona mall will keep you entertained all day long. If you’re lucky, you might even get to attend a free concert at the mall’s open air square.
Address: Kawasaki 214-0023, Kanagawa PrefectureAccess:By train: from Tokyo, take the JR Tokaido, JR Keihin-Tohoku, Keikyu, Odakyu or Tokyu Toyoko lines to Kawasaki Station.Recommended period: Anytime.Contact:Kawasaki CityWithin Japan: 044-200-2111
5. Nikko [Tochigi Prefecture]
Credit: Wikimedia CommonsLocated at the entrance to the Nikko National Park, Nikko is a picturesque town most famous for housing one of the most heavily ornamented shrines in Japan. Nikko was founded in the 8th Century by a Buddhist priest, and quickly became an important center for Shinto and Buddhist worship. The town is located about 120km from Tokyo and makes for a great day trip, especially for hikers, nature lovers and history enthusiasts.
Address: Nikko, Tochigi PrefectureAccess: Nikko-shi, Tochigi PrefectureBy train: from Asakusa, take a Tobu Railways train to Nikko Station. Alternatively, you can take a JR Limited Express train from Shinjuku to Nikko Station.Recommended period: Fall.Contact:Nikko City Tourism AssociationWithin Japan: 288-25-3347
6. Atami [Shizuoka Prefecture]
Credit: Wikimedia CommonsAtami, located at the northern tip of the Izu Peninsula, is a 40-minute Shinkansen ride from Tokyo. The city, which is graced with warm temperatures year-round, is a popular beach and onsen resort in the Chubu region. In fact, “Atami” translates to “hot ocean”, a reference to the warm water of its hot springs. The MOA Museum of Art and the Atami Castle are also attractions worth a visit.
Address: Atami 413-0012, Shizuoka PrefectureAccess:By train: take a JR Tokaido Shinkansen or an Odoriko Limited Express train to Atami Station.Recommended period: Anytime.Contact:Atami CityWithin Japan: 054-221-2455by Virginia Gonzalez