5 of the Best Day Trips From Tokyo, All Reachable By Rail


While it’s certainly possible — and incredibly tempting — to spend a whole visit to Japan just exploring Tokyo, if you did, you’d really be missing out.

Fortunately, if you don’t have enough time to visit another of Japan’s major cities — Kyoto, Osaka and Sapporo, to name a few — Tokyo is surrounded by plenty of great spots that make for convenient day trips, all of which can be reached by rail. Here, we round up five of our favourites.

Also, note that when it comes to rail passes, the Japan Rail Pass is probably your best bet, offering unlimited rides on almost all JR trains and shinkansen across the country. But if you’re only staying close to Tokyo, the JR East Tokyo Wide Pass can offer a better value alternative, while still allowing you to visit nearby Nikko, Izu, Karuizawa, Kawaguchiko and the Mt Fuji area using the three-day train and shinkansen pass.

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In less than two hours from Tokyo by express train, you could be in the scenic foothills of Mt Fuji, also known as Japan’s wine country. In Yamanashi Prefecture, you’ll discover rolling hills, sprawling vineyards and more than 60 cellar doors.

The region is specifically known for its native grape, the koshu varietal. Yamanashi Prefecture is also known for its locally grown produce and its many outdoor activities including hiking, camping, and hot springs.

If you did want to stay overnight, some of the wineries in the area, including the popular Risonare Yatsugatake Wine Resort, offer overnight accommodation. If you did want to extend your visit beyond the wineries, explore Mt Fuji and the picturesque Fuji Five Lakes.



With frequent shinkansen services connecting much of the Hokuriku-Shinetsu region with Tokyo in under two and a half hours, you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to explore the Japanese Alps. The west coast region, which includes the Nagano and Niigata Prefectures, is known for its mountains that attract skiers and snowboarders from all over the world.

At the same time, the region’s many towns and cities, including the coastal capital of Kanazawa, are recognised for their thriving arts, food, and cultural scenes. Enjoy plenty of fresh seafood and local sake, in between marvelling at ancient crafts and admiring the incredible architecture and idyllic rural surrounds.



Positioned in the centre of Japan and surrounded by mountains and volcanoes, Gunma Prefecture is a mecca for outdoor adventure. Accessible from Tokyo in approximately 50 minutes by shinkansen, visitors can enjoy scenic natural hot springs including the historical Ikaho and Kusatsu hot springs, mountain hiking or more thrilling pursuits like rafting, canyoning or canoeing in the rivers and gorges.



Depending on where you visit, much of Japan’s Tohoku region can be reached by shinkansen from Tokyo in under three hours. With six prefectures including Aomori, Akita, Iwate, Yamagata, Miyagi, and Fukushima, the region is ideal for both summer and winter activities, offering scenic mountains and gorges, rivers and waterfalls, vibrant cities and beautiful towns and villages steeped in history and culture.

Popular highlights of Tohoku include the rocky coastline and islets of Iwate and Miyagi, the mesmerising volcanic craters of Zao between Miyagi and Yamagata Prefectures, and the temples, shrines, castles, colourful festivals, and hot springs of Aomori.


Conveniently connected to Tokyo by shinkansen in around one hour, Shizuoka Prefecture offers mountainous landscapes and lush forests in abundance and is also known for its sprawling tea plantations which produce much of Japan’s green tea.

Made up of volcanic foothills which stretch from Mt Fuji to the coast, Shizuoka is the ideal place to enjoy spectacular views of Mt Fuji, top class onsen resorts, temples, and to explore the beaches and rugged coastline of Izu Peninsula. With their picturesque harboursides, the seaside onsen resort towns of Atami and Ito are a must-see for visitors to Shizuoka.


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