Five Day Trips Outside Tokyo

If you have visited Tokyo before, chances are you’ve already been to the major spots popular to tourists. In case you`re back for some adventure or you just feel skipping the usual sights of the city, consider taking some Day Trips outside Tokyo. 

The good news is that JR Line is offering the Tokyo Wide Pass which gives foreign tourists unlimited access to JR Line trains in and around Tokyo for three consecutive days. This allows you to experience riding limited express trains and the iconic shinkansen bullet trains (Tohoku & Joetsu Lines). Let’s go explore greater Tokyo in style and on a budget.

1) KAMAKURA (Kanagawa Prefecture)

Great Buddha of Kamakura

Kamakura Daibutsu is one of Japan’s three great Buddhas and considered a national treasure. Standing at over 11 meters at Kotokuin temple, it was once the second tallest bronze Buddha Statue in Japan. It used to be housed inside a large temple which was destroyed by tsunami and typhoon. Hundreds of visitors come to the temple complex to pray and see the massive statue. It’s a short 5-10 minute walk from Hase Station on the Enoden Line. 

Slam Dunk real-life location

Not far from the Kamakura Daibutsu and along the same train line you can make a stop at an iconic railway spot popularized by the anime series, Slamdunk. Specifically, near Kamakurakoko-mae Station, you can see a railroad crossing which is the real-life inspiration in the opening theme of Slam Dunk where Sakuragi encountered Haruko. The locations of the Ryonan and Shonan Beach are all based in Kamakura which is a popular weekend beach destination outside Tokyo.  From Kamakurakokomae Station, walk for 5 minutes towards the Slam Dunk crossroad.

Tip: Wait for the next passing train to experience the real-life Slam Dunk opening scene. Many students (in uniform) flock to the site which also adds some anime vibes. 

Getting There: Take the JR Yokosuka Line from Tokyo Station to Kamakura for over an hour. This line cuts through Kanagawa Prefecture, mainly the cities of Kawasaki and Yokohama. From Kamakura Station, take the Enoden Line towards Enoshima and Fujisawa. You can make stops along the line to check out your desired spots. You can also avail the Enoden 1-Day Noriorikun Pass (Y800). It’s a ride-all-you-can ticket on the Enoden Line valid for one day.

2) KAWAGOE / TOKOROZAWA (Saitama Prefecture)


Kawagoe is an Edo-period castle town. If you are looking for a well preserved old Japanese town close to Tokyo, then by all means head to this city for a day trip. Here you can see a stretch of old clay houses, merchant houses and religious structures. A Starbucks store is housed in one of these old houses. Many Japanese sweets shops line its various streets. It can  get busy on weekends so it is best to visit there on weekdays. You can also take the man-driven carriage around town. 

An iconic feature of the old town was the Bell Tower (Toki-no-kane) which was built in the 1600s but was rebuilt in 1894 after a great fire. Kurazukuri Street lined up with clay-walled houses turned restaurants and shops. You can also check out the popular Edo period-inspired Starbucks along Kanetsuri Street. 


This suburban city just outside Tokyo has become an emerging center of contemporary arts and culture. Here you can trace the birth of Japan`s aviation and explore the famous Sayama Hills known as an inspiration to the popular Studio Ghibli’s Totoro. Just recently, a promising complex was founded which hosts various sites dedicated to the modern and creative arts and design. 

The Kadokawa Culture Museum designed by renowned architect Kengo Kuma was the centerpiece of the project. This multi-storey granite structure houses shops, a museum, art gallery, and a library which houses one of the largest collections of entertainment novels. A prominent symbol of the museum is the Bookshelf Theater which is becoming a popular go-to spo for its eight-meter bookshelves.

Within the complex, you can visit a modern shrine called Cool Japan Shrine, an exhibition center and a teamLab acorn forest exhibition. Please try the Musashino Cafe right within the acorn forest. It is also possible to stay overnight in its anime-themed hotel. On your way to the museum from the train station, please look for the anime-themed LED manhole covers.

Getting There: If you go Kawagoe first, you can take any train going to Omiya from Shinjuku, Ueno, Ikebukuro or Shibuya Station. Then transfer to the Kawagoe Line and alight at Kawagoe Station. From Kawagoe Station East Exit Bus Stop, take Tobu Bus line 01 “Ko-Edo Meisho Meguri Bus”, get off at Fudanotsuji (about 25 min).

From Kawagoe, return to Omiya Station then transfer to the Saikyo Line. Alight at Musashi-Urawa then transfer to the Musashino Line to Higashi-Tokorozawa Station. Get-off here and walk for 10 minutes. Take the same route back to Musashi Urawa Station and then transfer to Saikyo Line towards Shinjuku or Shibuya.


Hitachi Seaside Park is a sprawling flower and amusement park in Ibaraki Prefecture. It is best known for its seasonal flower fields that have become a mainstay in photos of Japan on social media. 

In spring, you can see the nemophila flowers that cover the Miharashi Hill which peaks from April to May. You can also have a great view of the Pacific Ocean from the top. In autumn, the bloody kokia bush flowers take over the hill around October. Assorted seasonal flowers also bloom throughout the year that adds to the attraction of the park. They include tulips, narcissus and rapeseed. 

You can also enjoy the mini theme park inside the park, or simply hop on and off the mini train or bike/walk around the sprawling park.

Kairakuen Garden

If you still have extra time, don`t miss to visit Kairakuen Garden in Mito City and is considered one of the three best gardens in Japan, along with Kenrokuen in Kanazawa and Korakuen in Okayama. It is popular for its over three thousand plum trees which bloom from mid February to March.

Getting There: From Shinagawa Station, take the JR Joban Limited Express Train to Katsuta Station for 1 hour 15 mins or from Iwaki Station for 1 hour. From Katsuta Station, take the bus at the East Exit Bus Stop No. 2 to West Gate (15 minutes) or the South Gate for 20 minutes. By bus, take the two-hour bus trip to Katsuta/Tokai from Tokyo Station South Exit.

4) FUJI FIVE LAKES / FUJI Q HIGHLAND (Yamanashi Prefecture)

Fuji Five Lakes – If you want a close up and an unobstructed view of Mt Fuji, then head to the Fuji Five Lakes. It comprises five lakes namely Kawaguchiko, Saiko, Yamanakako, Shojiko and Motosuko offering great Fuji views. It is also popular for outdoor activities like camping, fishing and boating. Of the five, Kawaguchiko is the most developed and accessible and has many hotels and ryokans. Viewing Mt Fuji at sunrise offers a clear view of the mountain. A few minutes from Kawaguchi, you will reach Chureito Pagoda that offers an iconic view of Mt Fuji.

Fuji-Q Highland – If you want more thrill and death-defying experience way better than Disney or USJ, Fuji-Q welcomes you. This amusement park is one for the books. Literally, this theme park operates different rides and attractions offering some of the highest and fastest rides on Earth. So, if you want some exhilarating experience with an added great view of Mt. Fuji then by all means visit Fuji-Q.

Getting There. Take the JR Chuo Line from Tokyo’s Shinjuku Station to Otsuki Station for 70 minutes by limited express train then transfer to the Fujikyu Railway Line to Kawaguchiko Station for another hour. The JR Tokyo Wide Pass covers this route from Tokyo to Kawaguchiko.

There are express buses at Shinjuku Station, Tokyo Station or Shibuya Station going to Kawaguchiko and Fuji-Q Station for two hours. Make sure to leave early so you have more time to explore Mt Fuji area.

5) Tokyo Disneyland/DisneySea (Chiba Prefecture)

Disneyland is no doubt one of the most popular attractions elsewhere and that is particularly true in Japan. Disney Resort is one of the most visited parks in the world and many local and foreign tourists, especially families visit Tokyo to experience it. What makes it more special is that Tokyo Disney Resort has two theme parks: Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea. Stay until early evening to witness the much-awaited fireworks display and performances by Disney Characters. 

Please note that the two theme parks require prior reservation on their website and other accredited travel sites. A 1-Day Passport ticket costs 7,900-9,400 yen for Adults (18 and over) / 6,600-7,800 yen Junior (ages 12-17) and 4,700-5,600 yen for Children (ages 4-11).  and is valid only for either Tokyo Disneyland or DisneySea. If you want to experience both sites, you might need two days to do so. Also, please bring extra money for your food and souvenirs. 

For first time guests, you might want to consider getting the FastPass system which allows you to enjoy your desired attractions the fastest way by skipping the usual queues within a specific timetable. You can find FastPass machines next to the attractions. Make sure to be at the queue on your designated time. 

Getting There: Tokyo Disney Resort is only 15 minutes by train from Tokyo Station to JR Maihama Station on the JR Musashino Line and JR Keiyo Line. From JR Maihama Station, take the Disney Monorail towards DisneySea or Disneyland. Disneyland is a short walk from Maihama Station.


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