Tokyo’s filled to the brim with enough stimulation to keep a traveler occupied for weeks, but it's also nice to zip out of town and experience a different side of Japan, from snowy peaks to heritage sites. Here are some of our favorite day trips from the capital.
Kamakura — 35 miles (57 km) away
Kamakura enjoys a legacy as one of Japan's great religious centers. Perhaps the most famous of Kamakura's 65-plus Buddhist temples and 19 Shinto shrines is Kotoku-in, a temple dating back to 1252 that houses a 43-foot (13-meter) bronze statue known as the Great Buddha. If you only have time for one day trip from Tokyo, this is an easy one to take.
Mt. Fuji — 83 miles (133 km) away
Mt. Fuji, rising 12,388 feet (3,776 meters) above sea level, symbolizes Japan on the covers of guidebooks and in the imaginations of travelers around the world. Taking a trip to see the revered mountain is well worthwhile, especially given the plethora of other nearby attractions, like Lake Ashi and the Mt. Komagatake Ropeway. Travel with roundtrip transport from Tokyo or visit Fuji-san as part of a multi-day tour of the country.
Nikko National Park — 93 miles (149 km) away
While the 200,000-acre (80,000-hectare) Nikko National Park boasts undeniable natural beauty, its biggest claim to fame—and one of the best reasons to visit—is the Toshogu Shine. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was made famous by the novel Shogun by James Clavell, which told the story of a fictional shogun based on a very real 17th-century shogun by the name of Tokugawa Ieyasu. The shrine was constructed in his honor and doubles as his mausoleum. Visit the park on a day trip aboard a comfortable, air-conditioned coach.
Kyoto — 281 miles (453 km) away
While Kyoto, one of Japan’s most historic and atmospheric cities, deserves a trip of its own, travelers to Tokyo who are pressed for time can catch the highlights on a day trip via the zippy bullet train from the capital (with views of Mt. Fuji on the way). A typical excursion through Kyoto often includes stops at the 19th-century Heian-jingu Shinto shrine, the 1,000 life-size Buddha statues at Sanjusangen-do Temple, and the hilltop Kiyomizu-dera Temple, arguably one of the most stunning temples in the city.