The snow-capped Mount Fuji lies a little under three hours from Tokyo, but it’s three hours well spent. If you’re up to the challenge, you can join the estimated 300,000 people who make it to the top each year. If you’d prefer a more leisurely experience, a Mount Fuji and Hakone tour includes plenty of sightseeing options, the highlights being a sky gondola trip, and a pirate ship cruise across Lake Ashi.
Hase-Dera Temple: A Magnificent Buddhist Temple
While Hase-Dera is one of many Japanese temples, there’s something rather special about this Jodo sect temple. The highlight is a 9-metre high Kannon statue, said to have washed up near Kamakura in AD 736. The Kanto region is a good five to six hours drive from Tokyo, but it’s a good way to see the landscape. If you can’t face the drive back, bed down in one of the Kamakura hotels for the night.
Nikko National Park: Spectacular Scenery
Located 80 miles north of Tokyo, the Nikko National Park offers an awe-inspiring setting that’s perfect for one or two-day trips. Highlights here include the mausoleum of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the Hall of the Medicine Buddha, and the three wise monkeys statue. Don’t forget to pause to look around though. You’ll find the scenery here -- waterfalls, forests, and lakes -- is like no other.
Shimoda: A Tranquil Spot to Relax
Traveling along the coast through Kanagawa, you can reach Shimoda in under three hours. This tiny fishing port is the perfect place to escape the noise of Tokyo. Relax on the pristine sunbathing beaches overlooking Sagami Gulf, try your hand at an exciting array of marine sports, or experience the Old Japan atmosphere in the town’s authentic downtown district.
Kawasaki: Souvenir Hunting and an Unusual Festival
You can reach Kawasaki in under 40 minutes, so it’s ideal if you don’t want to travel too far from Tokyo. It’s a great place to do a spot of souvenir hunting, but other highlights include the Kawasaki Daishi Temple and the Shinshu-en Chinese Garden. If you’re in town on the first Sunday in April, you can catch the city’s best-known event. Be warned though; the Iron Penis Festival is not for everyone.
These are just a handful of the delights that await you when you venture outside of Tokyo’s city limits. Perhaps you have your own idea for a must-do day trip from Tokyo? If you’d care to share, you can tell your fellow travelers all about it in the comments section below.
(Photo by sushicam via Flickr)
Article written by Miles Y.