Day Trips From Tokyo: 8 Destinations You Can Reach in Under 3 Hours


It has been more than two years since Japan closed its borders due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the country is finally loosening its restrictions today, allowing visitors joining a tour group to enter. While individual travel is still not possible, we hope that before too long, we’ll be able to move freely throughout the nation.

For those who have their eyes on Tokyo, there’s no doubt that there’s plenty to keep you busy. With its bustling streets, eclectic fashion, rich culture, and tantalizing food scene, it’s one of the most exciting cities in the world. But it’s well worth going beyond the metropolis and exploring more of what Japan offers, even if you’re tight on time. Thanks to the country’s comprehensive train network, several destinations can be reached in less than three hours from the capital. So whether you’re looking for a quick day trip or overnight stay, here are eight places that are easily accessible from Tokyo.

Outside a room at Gora Kadan.

Photo: Courtesy of Christina Liao

Hakone

After a few days in bustling Tokyo, you may want a break from the lights and fast-paced energy. Enter Hakone, a beloved onsen (hot spring) resort town where tired city dwellers come for rest and relaxation. Enjoy the fresh mountain air; take a ride on the ropeway; stroll around the Hakone Open-Air Museum; and unwind at an onsen, letting the mineral-rich waters work their magic.

Where to Stay: One of the most famed and beloved ryokan in the area, Gora Kadan, offers the quintessential Japanese inn experience with its attention to hospitality and kaiseki cuisine. The property offers a communal onsen to relax at, but there are also private options and rooms with their own open-air baths as well. If you’re looking for more contemporary digs, check out Kai Sengokuhara where each of the minimalist suites comes with an outdoor tub.

The great Buddha of Kamakura.Photo: Getty Images

Kamakura

Less than an hour away from Tokyo, Kamakura is often referred to as the Kyoto of Eastern Japan for its numerous temples and shrines. The biggest draw here is undoubtedly the Great Buddha at Kotoku-in, a towering bronze statue measuring 37 feet in height that dates back to 1252. Aside from historical sites, the coastal town also serves as a great surf spot—you’ll find plenty of sunbathers and wave seekers at Yuigahama Beach, or hop over to nearby Enoshima island for a two-in-one day trip.



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