Seen enough of modern day Tokyo and craving for a new adventure? If you've got time on hand, why not marvel at the beauty of Japan by taking day trips from out of the city?
Curious to know why Japan is such a popular tourist spot? We break it down for you here!
Karuizawa is a town in Nagano Prefecture that has inspired many writers, and is also the set for Hayao Miyazaki’s final film, “The Wind Rises”. The best way to get around this town is by cycling. Rental bicycles can easily be found near the train station with prices ranging from 500 to 1000 yen a day.
Credit: Hidetsugu Tonomura on Flickr
The town is famous for being a summer retreat, but it’s a great place to visit in all four seasons. Take a stroll down the lovely Romantic Road in autumn, and catch the sight of snow monkeys at Jigokudani Park in winter. Outdoor activities like skiing, ice skating and golfing are also a popular choice here.
Credit: Vicky Chung on Flickr
How to get there:
Take the JR Hokuriku Shinkansen from Tokyo to
Karuizawa in 65-80 minutes and costs about 5,500 yen.
2. Kobe Enjoy mouth-watering
world famous wagyu beef! Tender and bursting with flavours, it's no wonder that Kobe beef is so well-loved amongst locals. Served as a steak, shabu shabu (slices of meat in a broth) or sukiyaki (slices of meat in a hot pot setting), beef lovers can't get enough of this prized delicacy ? Halal Kobe beef would be offered by reservation and as a full course meal, so make sure to sample some of this while you're there.
Credit: Haloodie on Facebook
Exclusive kitchen tools and tablewares are used when cooking halal meals, but do reserve at least 2 days in advance.
Afterwards, stop by the oldest mosque in Japan, the Kobe Muslim Mosque! The exterior will remind you of olden day minarets while the interior is decked with while marble walls and golden paintings. This three-story building comes as a Turkish style inspired building and had survived the World War II and Great Hanshin Earthquake.
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#HHWT Tip: It is located in Nakayamate Dori in Chuo-ku, which is a 10 minutes stroll from Motomachi station.
Head over to the grocery store near the mosque for your fix on halal ingredients. If you're in the area during lunchtime, dine in Naan Inn (across from the mosque)
for yummy Mediterranean food ? How to get there:
Tokyo and Kobe are linked via the Tokaido/Sanyo Shinkansen train. You can use the Japan Rail Pass on the Hikari trains which'll take 195 minutes and costs 14,500 yen for a reserved seat. If you wish for a shorter travel time, opt for the Nozomi trains which cuts down the time to only 160 minutes and costs 15,000 yen (but note that the Japan Rail Pass can't be used for this). For more info, find it here
3. Mount Fuji
Certainly, you can catch a glimpse of Mount Fuji almost wherever you are in Japan, but nothing beats seeing (or even climbing!) this majestic mountain up close ? Although the Mount Fuji can be viewed all year long, the best viewing season would be between March to May. As for climbing, the official season starts in July and ends in August. Pay a visit Murayama Sengen Temple before you climb as Japanese people believe in a connection between the sacred mountain and God. Once on top, be sure to purchase an official certificate that verifies your ascent!
With more than 800,000 stalks of shibazakura gracing the fields with bursts of pink, white and purple, it's a stunning moment
not to be missed. Capture this picture-perfect moment during mid April to early June for the best time to see the blooming flowers. The Mount Fuji as the backdrop is the cherry on top of this delicious view!
Credit: Japão em Foco on Facebook
How to get there:
There’s a Fujikyu bus that runs between Shibuya, Fuji Q Highland, Kawaguchiko Station and Fujisan Station which costs 1800 yen and takes about 2 to 2.5 hours.
You can’t miss a trip to Yokohama when you’re in Japan. It's the second largest city and has one of the world's largest chinatown! Even if you're not looking to buy anything from the chinatown, we recommend stopping by to take a snap of the place.
Credit: Yoshikazu Takada on Flickr
Just half an hour from Tokyo by train, Yokohama offers many amusing museums like Cup Noodles Museum and Anpanman Museum, as well as the iconic Red Brick Warehouse, where you can sit back at one of the cafes and enjoy the magnificent waterfront view of the city. Don't forget to check out our guide to Yokohama
Credit: pastrieprince on Instagram Wish to try other international cuisines aside from your regular sushi
and ramen? Then dine in the New Ali Baba restaurant, where there's no pork nor alcohol served. Savour Turkish cuisines while enjoying belly dance performances and have a chat with the friendly owners! Opening hours:
How to get there:
Tokyu Toyoko Line is the cheapest way to get to Yokohama from Tokyo (270 yen from Shibuya Station, 25 minutes). Check out Japan Guide
for more options.
You'll be falling for Nikko in Autumn as you watch the leaves gradually change colour. Trees will turn into beautiful hues of red, orange and yellow, calling for a picture perfect shot ? Drop by Chuzenji Lake, for the beauty of this wonder will be magnified by the colours of Fall.
Credit: Ken Nagata on Facebook
Make sure to check out the UNESCO listed shrines like the Nikko-san Rinnoji and Toshogu Shrine. Unlock the secrets of sculptures like the "Three Monkeys" and be amused by the cheeky displays. The carved monkeys covering their eyes, ears and mouth actually highlights the Buddhist teaching of "See no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil".
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How to get there: Nikko City is a two-hour train ride if you hop on the JR-Tobu Nikko Express. If you're
staying in the west-side of Tokyo, you're in luck as they leave from the Shinjuku and Ikebukuro stations. If not, you can consider taking the Tobu line which links Asakusa station directly to Nikko’s Tobu station, taking around 2 hours as well. Click here
for more details.
For lunch, head down to Nikkoken, a Japanese Halal ramen store that started serving halal dumplings and ramen since 2013. For more information, check out their Facebook page!
Credit: NIKKOKEN on Facebook
6. Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea in Chiba
Have some fun and unleash that repressed 5-year-old in you at “the happiest place on earth”, Tokyo Disneyland
! Shake hands and have a photograph taken with your favourite Disney characters (and even villains). If you want something a little different, head to Tokyo DisneySea
instead, its companion park with a nautical concept that caters to mature visitors with more thrilling rides.
Popcorn is a serious business here, so be sure to taste some of the unique flavours such as white chocolate, milk tea and black pepper ?
[Check out: 6 Reasons to Ditch Tokyo and Head to Chiba!
8 am to 10 pm (may vary, do check park's website
for more details) Admission fee:
7400 yen (adult), 6400 yen (ages 12-17), 4800 yen (ages 4-11), 6700 yen (senior citizens over 65). This one-day ticket only admits you to one park (either Disneyland or DisneySea).
How to get there:
Take the train to Maihama station, Disneyland is around a 5-min walk from the station. There are also direct buses from Tokyo to Disneyland with prices ranging from 720 yen depending on where you board. Visit their website
for more info.
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Hakone Shrine on the shore of Lake Ashi[/caption]
Choose to spend an afternoon admiring the nature while riding Hakone Tozan Railway, Japan’s oldest mountain railway, or on sightseeing boats at Ashinoko (or Lake Ashi). If it’s your lucky day, you may be able to view the grand Mount Fuji there. Otherwise, make a trip to Gotemba Outlet Premium not far from Hakone and shop to your heart’s content! Before heading back to Tokyo, don’t forget to unwind and take a dip in the world renowned hot spring?
Credit: type_a2405 on Instagram
How to get there:
From Shinjuku, take the Odakyu Electric Railway to Hakone-Yumoto for 2020 yen. The journey takes roughly 85 to 100 minutes. Visit JP Rail
for more options.
Enoshima is a charming small island to the south of Tokyo which offers a variety of attractions including the prominent Enoshima Lighthouse Observation Tower (or famously known by its nickname “Enoshima Sea Candle”), Enoshima Shrine, temples and caves. Enjoy a date at Enoshima Aquarium to catch a sight of enchanting jellyfish and penguins, as well as a dolphin show. This island is also famous for cats ? It is said that over 1000 cats reside here, but do note that it is prohibited to feed the cats. You may instead support the locals care for these street cats by donating to the fundraising boxes that can be found throughout the island.
If you come in late July or early August, be sure to check out the fireworks display at the local beach. Lots of small booths selling food and drinks will be lined up on the street for this event.
How to get there:
From Tokyo Station, take the JR Tokaido Line to Fujisawa Station (970 yen, 45-50 minutes) and transfer to Odakyu Railway (160 yen, 7 minutes) for Enoshima. Visit Japan Guide
for other options.
9. Kamakura Known as Kyoto of Eastern Japan, Kamakura is widely
famous for numerous historical sites and ancient cultural treasures, including the iconic Kamakura Daibutsu (Great Buddha Statue) located at Kotokuin Temple. Stroll down Dankazura that is lined with cherry blossom trees in spring to admire the flowers in full bloom. There’s also a shopping street parallel to Dankazura known as Komachi-dori where you can find boutiques, Japanese-style cafes, a selection of snacks and souvenirs.
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s, don’t miss your chance to get a photograph taken at the railroad crossing in front of Kamakura High School, made famous by the classic “Slam Dunk” manga.
Here's your chance to live out the fangirl in you!
Credit: square(tea) on Flickr
Avoid visiting on the weekends as the crowd will be massive!
How to get there: One way trip from Shinjuku Station to Kamakura Station by JR Shonan-Shinjuku Line costs 920 yen and takes about 90 minutes. Do note that only the trains bound for Zushi take you directly to Kamakura Station.
Look out for the Muslim-friendly restaurant, "Kajiya", which is located on the main "Komachi street". If you're nearby, you'll be greeted with fresh seafood like the whitebait, tuna and salmon on your platter. Or, you can certainly opt
for their grilled fish and vegetable lunches. Come early to avoid the lunch crowd as this place tends to get busy during lunch time! *Note that this outlet is not halal-certified and alcoholic drinks are sold on the premises
Lunch: 11:00 - 14:30, Dinner: 17:00 - 23:00 (Closed on Tuesdays during dinner time)
Kanayama Bld. 2F, 2-8-6 Komachi, Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa
10. Lockheart Castle in Gunma
Lockheart Castle was originally built by the Lockheart family in Scotland before a Japanese actor bought it and had it moved to Japan. It’s now a famous castle that has been used as a filming location in numerous dramas and films, such as “Kaibutsu-kun” and “Atashinchi no Danshi”.
Credit: su neko on Flickr
Within the ground, known as Marble Village, a lot of museums and galleries can be found including World Santa Museum, Bridal Dress Gallery and Teddy Bear House. Visitors who come with their significant other shouldn’t miss the chance to ring the Spring Bell because it is believed that those who do shall be granted eternal love ?
Credit: aaa_route on Instagram
5583-1 Takayama-mura,Agatsuma-gun, Gunma,377-0702 Japan
9 am to 7 pm (last entry is 30 minutes before closing) Admission fee:
1000 yen per adult, 400 yen per child (4-12 years old). Discounts for groups of 10.
How to get there:
Unfortunately there’s no direct public transportation besides taxi. From Numata Station, the fare costs around 2500-3000 yen one way. Take the Hokuriku Shinkansen from Tokyo Station and transfer at Takasaki Station on Joetsu Line to Numata Station.
10 absolutely gorgeous places that exists on the outskirts of Tokyo! There's more to Japan than the bustling city square of Tokyo and we hope you'll explore the surreal beauty this country has to offer ❤️
For attractions you HAVE to see while in Japan, click here!