Although there is plenty to do in Tokyo, you most likely want to see something outside the vibrant city, especially if it isn’t your first time visiting Japan. Japan is one of those countries where you could visit the same place a million times and still discover something new. I know because I lived in Tokyo and still haven’t touched the surface of what this fantastic country has to offer. There are many Tokyo day trips to explore, and there is something for everyone.
But where do we start with so many day trips to choose from? This article will have a few obvious choices, like Mount Fuji. However, first-timers may not be aware of many more exciting places to visit.
Table of Contents
Things to know before you go to Tokyo
Visa for Japan
Check that you do not require a visa for Japan. The visa website is a quick and easy way to check whether your passport requires a permit.
Travel Insurance for Japan
SafetyWing is the World’s first International Travel Medical Insurance developed to meet the needs of entrepreneurs and remote workers travelling or living abroad. However, if you do not fall under this category, do not worry; SafetyWing also suits all vacation types.
The best time to travel to Tokyo
The best time to visit Tokyo is spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November). During spring, Tokyo experiences pleasant weather, with cherry blossoms in full bloom, turning the city into a picturesque landscape. This is a popular time for everyone to enjoy hanami (cherry blossom viewing) in parks and along the riverside.
The Other option is In autumn, Tokyo showcases vibrant colours as the leaves turn into shades of red, orange, and gold. The mild weather makes exploring the city comfortable and visiting various outdoor attractions, like gardens and parks.
Tipping in Japan
In Japan, tipping is not a common practice and can be considered rude or inappropriate in certain situations. Generally, excellent service is expected and included in the price of goods or services. Japanese hospitality is deeply rooted in the culture, and the service is already high quality. Attempting to tip may cause confusion or embarrassment for the recipient. However, if you want to show appreciation for exceptional service, a polite thank you or a compliment to the staff is more than enough.
Currency in Japan
The Japanese Yen (¥) is the official currency in Japan. While credit cards are accepted in many places, having cash on hand is wise, especially when visiting smaller shops, street vendors or participating in cultural experiences. Remember to check the current exchange rates before your trip, and consider using a currency exchange service for the best rates. Additionally, notify your bank or credit card provider about travel plans to avoid transaction issues in Japan. With the correct currency prepared, you’ll be ready to enjoy your visit to this enchanting city.
How to get to Tokyo
Various airlines operating this route make flying from Singapore to Tokyo convenient. One of the major airlines that serves this journey is Singapore Airlines. Known for its excellent service and luxurious travel experience, Singapore Airlines offers flights from Singapore Changi Airport to Tokyo’s two main airports, Narita International Airport and Haneda Airport.
The travel time between Singapore and Tokyo depends on the flight route and the chosen airport. The non-stop flights between the two cities usually take 6 to 7 hours.
Narita International Airport, located about 60 kilometres east of Tokyo, is the primary airport for international flights. It offers excellent connectivity to various parts of the city through efficient transportation systems.
On the other hand, Haneda Airport is closer to central Tokyo, making it a more convenient choice for travellers. This airport offers a wide range of domestic and international flights, ensuring easy connectivity to various destinations in Japan and beyond.
Train: The journey from Haneda Airport to Tokyo typically takes around 30-40 minutes, depending on the specific station you are travelling to within Tokyo. Haneda Airport is conveniently connected to Tokyo’s city centre through various transportation options, including the Tokyo Monorail and Keikyu Line. These train services offer frequent departures, making it easy for you to reach your destination.
On the other hand, the train journey from Narita Airport to Tokyo generally takes longer, lasting approximately 55-70 minutes. Narita Airport is significantly farther from Tokyo’s city centre than Haneda Airport. However, several train options are available to passengers to facilitate their travel. The fastest and most popular train service for this route is the Narita Express (N’EX), which directly provides quick and comfortable transportation to major Tokyo stations like Tokyo Station and Shinjuku Station.
Bus: Catching a bus from Haneda International Airport to Tokyo is convenient. The airport operates multiple bus services connecting passengers to various Tokyo destinations. These buses have comfortable seating and ample luggage space, ensuring a pleasant journey. The bus routes are well-marked, and staff members at the airport are available to assist passengers with any queries or concerns.
Similarly, catching a bus to Tokyo is popular for those arriving at Narita International Airport. The airport offers a wide range of bus services catering to different areas within Tokyo. With regular departure times, affordable fares, and dedicated bus stops, you can easily reach your desired location in Tokyo from both Haneda and Narita Airports.
Hiring a car is also an option if you plan to spend a few days here and want to do it at your own pace.
Tip – Purchase a Japan rail pass for 7, 14, or 21 Days, which makes getting around Japan more convenient as you have Unlimited Travel Access to JR Lines airport railways, including Narita, Kansai, New Chitose etc, JR buses, and more
Best Day Trips to explore from Tokyo
Nikko is a charming and historic town located in Tochigi Prefecture; Nikko is home to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Nikko Toshogu Shrine, which is dedicated to the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate and is a masterpiece of Japanese architecture. This shrine, along with other nearby temples and shrines, is surrounded by lush forests and breathtaking natural scenery, providing visitors with a serene and spiritual experience.
Nikko is known for its stunning autumn foliage, which attracts many people during the autumn season. The town is also blessed with natural hot springs, allowing you to relax and rejuvenate in the soothing, mineral-rich waters. Nikko offers a glimpse into Japan’s fascinating history and culture, with its museums, traditional crafts, and annual festivals. Whether exploring ancient Japanese heritage, immersing in nature’s beauty, or indulging in the region’s culinary delights, visiting Nikko promises a memorable and enriching experience.
How to get there
Japan Rail -From Asakusa Station to Nikko Station is 1 hour 50 minutes
On your way to Mount Fuji, stop at Lake Kawaguchiko, one of the most picturesque spots on your day trip. This scenic lake offers stunning views of the iconic mountain and is surrounded by serene landscapes. You can take a boat ride on the lake or explore the charming town nearby.
Then head to Hakone, a popular destination known for its hot springs and magnificent views of Mount Fuji. Here, you can explore the Hakone Open-Air Museum, which features various sculptures and art installations amidst nature. Another highlight is the Hakone Ropeway, a cable car that offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and allows visitors to experience the volcanic activity firsthand.
Do not forget to stop by the Oshino Hakkai, or the Eight Seas of Oshino, a set of eight ponds located in the Fuji Five Lakes area before your last stop of the day before viewing Mount Fuji at station 5 would be Arakurayama Sengen Park, where you will see the iconic Pagodas with Mount Fuji in the background.
How to get there
Private transfer – Narita Airport (NRT): Private One-Way Transfer to/from Fuji one way
Car hire – Driving time varies depending on what stops you do on the way; direct from Tokyo to Mt. Fuji 5th Station is just under 2 hours.
Yokohama is Japan’s second-largest city and was, in fact, the first expat location for foreigners before Tokyo became the hub; this eclectic city has a heavy influence on French culture. Located about half an hour south of Tokyo, Yokohama has much to see. It has an area with cobblestones and French patisseries (Motomachi) and the largest Chinatown in Asia; you will also find the Cup Noodle Museum and Yokohama Cosmo World with rides, games and a Ferris wheel.
Art enthusiasts can visit the Yokohama Museum of Art or stroll through the scenic Yamashita Park. For a taste of Japanese history, head to the Sankeien Garden, a beautiful traditional garden showcasing historic buildings across Japan. A trip to Yokohama is not complete without enjoying a panoramic view of the city from the observation deck of the Yokohama Marine Tower.
How to get there
Private transfer – Yokohama port: Private Transfer to/from Tokyo
Japan Rail -From Shinjuku station to Yokohama station, approximately 30 minutes
Tour – Yokohama: Private Tour With a Local Expert
Kamakura is in the Kanagawa prefecture, not far from Yokohama and is one of the most popular day trips from Tokyo (outside Mount Fuji). Kamakura is about an hour south of Tokyo. Many little shops are dotted along the path from the train station to the giant Buddha, which is what most people come to see.
Kamakura is a coastal city known for its stunning temples, historical sites, and beautiful beaches. One must-visit attraction is the Great Buddha, a monumental bronze statue 13.35 meters tall. Another popular spot is the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, where you can witness traditional Shinto rituals while marvelling at its picturesque setting. Kamakura also offers a range of hiking trails, such as the one leading to the Zeniarai Benten Shrine, known for its mystical cave and refreshing water.
How to get there
Japan Rail – train from Shinjuku station to Kamakura station is 1 hour.
Enoshima is a small island located in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. Enoshima offers a plethora of activities in this beautiful beach town. Explore the picturesque Enoshima Island, known for its stunning beaches and enchanting views of Mount Fuji. Stroll through the charming Enoshima Shrine, visit the iconic Enoshima Sea Candle to experience breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding area, or wander around vibrant streets to discover unique shops and delicious local cuisine.
For adventure enthusiasts, try the many water sports such as paddleboarding or windsurfing. To wind down, relax at one of the many cozy cafes or exquisite hot springs while enjoying the tranquil atmosphere that Enoshima offers
How to get there
Japan Rail – From Shinjuku station to Enoshima station is 1 hour and 10 minutes.
Thanks for taking the time to read this article. I hope this post has given you the information you need. If you have any recommendations, tips or advice, I would love for you to share them in the comment section below!
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