We all need to escape to nature every once in a while.
A day trip is a great way to reset our mood and recharge, especially for those living in Tokyo. Spending time in nature has a way of calming our minds, easing our worries, and helping us reflect on the present. Here are 10 of the best quiet day trips from Tokyo. Get ready for a tranquil ride.
Mount Tsukuba is open for hiking nearly all year round. It’s a great trekking trip, even for beginners. It’s notable for its twin peaks and beautiful panoramic views, while the surrounding area is covered with lush flora. You might even see some wildlife. Although not as renowned as Mount Fuji, Mount Tsukuba is less crowded and closer to Tokyo.
The island of Enoshima and its scenic coastline is a stone’s throw away from busy Kamakura. It also has one of the most accessible beaches from central Tokyo. You can pass the time around the island by walking along the coastline, visiting Enoshima Shrine (dedicated to the goddess of love), or tasting the local specialty, shirasu (whitebait). Dip your sore feet in the island’s natural hot springs or reinvigorate yourself at Enoshima Spa after all that exploring.
Escape into nature and try different kinds of outdoor activities with a trip to Nagatoro in Saitama. You’ll easily be able to fill your day with all sorts of outdoor amusement like paragliding, river cruises, and hiking. One of the best ways to spend the day at Nagatoro is to start with a river cruise and end your day taking in the view of the expansive Chichibu mountains.
Did someone say tattoo-friendly onsen? Ito, a hot-spring town in Shizuoka, is a mere two hours from Tokyo by train and has quite a few places that welcome inked foreigners. Check out Akazawa Onsen, which offers baths overlooking the ocean. If you’re not into hot springs, Ito also boasts beautiful mountain views. On clear days, you might even be able to see Mount Fuji! Plus, they have capybaras. Seriously, what more do you want?
For the more daring at heart, spend a day hiking up Nokogiriyama in Chiba. It’s home to Japan’s largest stone Buddha, a thrilling jagged overhang, and Nihon Dera Temple, which can easily take up to a few hours to fully explore. Strap on your best hiking boots and start your adventure. Afterward, look for the tea house at Nihon Dera Temple and bask in the view of the Japanese countryside while sipping on some well-earned tea.
Mount Mitake is only two hours away by train from central Tokyo. It’s most known for Musashi Mitake Shrine at its summit. The shrine is dedicated to a white wolf deity that once guided the legendary Prince Yamato Takeru while on his way to Tokyo. Beyond the shrine, you’ll find waterfalls, oddly-shaped rock formations, and quiet valleys to explore with the sound of chirping birds and flowing water as your soundtrack. Stay overnight at a temple and meditate with local monks if one day just isn’t enough.
Whether you choose to hike up the nearly 1,000-meter tall mountain or take the cable car, don’t forget to bring home an omamori (good luck charm) for your dog from the wolf shrine!
Offering breathtaking views of the Izu Peninsula coastline, Atami is a hot spring town less than 30 minutes from Ito. When you finish taking a dip, consider exploring Atami Castle or dropping by the MOA Museum of Art to get your cultural fix. To get even more offbeat, ride the ropeway to its last stop and hit up the Atami Adult Museum (NSFW).
Hop on a train toward the western end of Tokyo, and you’ll find yourself at the foot of Mount Takao. It’s arguably the de facto go-to nature spot for foreign and local Tokyoites alike. There are trails designed for almost every level of hiker and a ropeway for the less athletically inclined.
Near the top of the mountain lies Yakuoin Temple, a monkey park, and an observation deck from where you might spot Mount Fuji. At the end of your hike, make your way down to Keio Takaosan Onsen Gokurakuyu, a hot spring near the station, for a well-deserved soak.
If you’re an early riser, consider a quick trip to Kameiwa Cave in Chiba. Originally made to serve as an irrigation tunnel to water the surrounding rice fields, Kameiwa Cave now attracts visitors with its beautiful cascading waterfall and vibrant seasonal colors. When the sun hits the cave at just the right angle, the water’s reflection creates a heart, which earned it a feature on National Geographic. The best time to visit the cave for that ideal Instagram shot is either in the spring or fall from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m.
If you’re looking for tranquility within Tokyo’s 23 wards, Todoroki Valley in Setagaya is where you want to go. With an easy one-kilometer walking trail, you can stroll at your own pace while immersing yourself in the valley’s rich greenery along the Yazawa River. Aside from the walking trail, there are a handful of shrines, two waterfalls, and a secluded teahouse ready to serve traditional sweets to cap off your day at this natural haven.
At the time of writing (June 2020), the state of emergency over coronavirus in Japan has been lifted. However, you should still practice precautions while traveling.
If you find yourself visiting any of these locations, tag us on social media with #GaijinPotTravel for your chance to be featured on our site!