Day trips from Tokyo

Old Apr 13th, 2022, 01:30 AM
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Day trips from Tokyo

We have a week in Tokyo in September on the way back from Sydney to London. It will be our third visit to Japan and this time we plan on exploring some to the sights of Tokyo we missed on previous visits and taking a few day trips from the city. Any suggestions would be gratefully received. On the preliminary list so are visits to Nikko and and Mt Fuji so any suggestions on how to do those would be great as well as any other ideas.

Anyone know if there is such a thing as a 7 day rail pass covering Tokyo and the surrounding areas?

All this presupposes that Japan does actually open up to visitors by September!
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Old Apr 13th, 2022, 05:02 AM
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For rail passes see: https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2357.html

My last trip I used a regional rail pass, JR West, bought in-country over the internet, looks like there are several for the Tokyo region. That trip I spent a couple of nights just outside Kamakura, but I'm sure you could do that as a day trip. I spent my last night on my last trip in Narita and had a good time, but I don't think I would bother for a day trip. I seem to remember reading a blog post recently about the Chiba peninsula, but I think you might need a car. Hope you get to go!
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Old Apr 13th, 2022, 06:23 AM
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Did you ever see the robot cabaret show?

https://shinjuku-robot.com/sp/

I do not know if this would interest you and your wife but its worth a look.

If we ever get to Tokyo again I would go for sure.

We were lucky enough to see Mt. Fuji when we were there which per our guide was fortunate as it is often obscured by clouds.

I hope you get there again!
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Old Apr 13th, 2022, 10:03 AM
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There is a variety of passes available as japan-guiide.com shows. The first one that comes to mind is the Tokyo Wide Area Pass. But, your choice of a pass, or not, depends of course on where you want to go but also, to some extent, where you are staying in Tokyo.

Nikko would be a good choice for a day trip, but better on a MTW than on a weekend. It was very busy on a Friday in Nov 2019. This is one trip where the choice of transport depends on where you stay in Tokyo (maybe JR from Shinjuku or Tobu from Asakusa). I think I would be okay with a weekend trip from Shinjuku to Nikko. There is/was a limited express train.that makes the trip without change of trains and goes to Tobu Nikko station, IIRC, and might be all-reserved seating. The Tobu pass would work, too, including from Shinjuku.

Hakone, specifically the Hakone Loop, is a day trip (better overnight) that I recommend. You would get to see some of the natural beauty of Japan including views of Fuji-san from a boat across Ashi-ko as well as some viewpoints by the lake Again, the rail part of the trip could be on Odakyu or JR, depending on where you stay.

That area is part of the Fuji-Hakone National Park. I haven't been to what I think of as the Fuji part of the park but I am aware that there were tour buses that go there, and part way up Fuji-san, with pickup/drop at Tokyo hotels/stations. Up in that are is Fujigoko (Fuji Five Lakes) where I plan to visit for at least a night, but I think can be a trip (and using the Tokyo WA Pass).

Are you interested in hot springs? hiking?
There is a grand sumo tournament in Tokyo for a couple of weeks in September.

One general rule/idea for Japan; visit cities on weekends and country on weekdays,

Umbrellas are cheap in Japan, so no need to pack one. You will probably leave it on a train.

Farther day trips can be made on the shinkansen, like Kyoto or maybe Kanazawa, if you really wanted.
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Old Apr 13th, 2022, 01:32 PM
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I agree with the above posts. I also recommend Saitama which is just a shortish train trip - there is a great Bonsai Museum there and a railroad museum - which I have not yet visited. Also someone mentioned Chiba - I have been to Chiba City which is also a short ride - there is a nice art museum there and a rebuilt castle museum.
Sumo is on from the 11th to the 25th. I saw it there in 2019 although not in September.
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Old Apr 14th, 2022, 12:07 AM
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Thanks all, some great ideas there, which I will fully investigate. As we are planning mainly day trips in and around Tokyo I booked JR KYUSHU HOTEL BLOSSOM right next to Shinjuku station. and areas we stayed in last time. It is a cheapie so if we wanted to spend an overnight somewhere then it is no big deal, we can just double up.

I will follow the advice and sort out a shortlist of places we want to visit and see how that fits in with rail passes etc.

Yes mrwnful, we are interested in hot springs and will check out the timings of the sumo tournament which could be fun. Likewise the robot show JW, which we missed the last time.

I also found this online https://tokyocheapo.com/entertainmen...ps-from-tokyo/ and https://tokyocheapo.com/travel/tokyo-wide-pass/

Thanks once again for the suggestions. I will be back..
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Old Apr 14th, 2022, 07:20 AM
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ok, Shinjuku then

That would mean taking the Odakyu Romance Car from Shinjuku Odakyu station to Hakone-Yumoto and then travel the loop. At the end, back at H-Y station, you walk onto the bridge and catch a shuttle to one of onsen ryokan that has public access. Am sure you can find an onsen on the way along the Hakone Loop. Yunessun comes to mind which emd liked, IIRC, though its not for me (swimsuits needed).

I'm going to point you back to japan-guide.com, as thursdaysd did, for a better description of the Tokyo WAP here: JR Tokyo Wide Pass (japan-guide.com)

You will see that many of the day trips recommended in your first link are on the WAP map.

Referring to your first link:

Kusatsu Onsen would be a very good day/overnight trip. I loved it (Nov 2019). I could go on about this place if this interests you. Here is what j-g has about it: Kusatsu Onsen Travel Guide - What to do around the Kusatsu Hot Springs (japan-guide.com). Kusatsu beats Hakone for an onsen visit.

Matsumoto is a good idea. IDK why the TC page says it is 4.5 hrs from Tokyo station. It is only 167 minutes from JR Shinjuku to Matsumoto on a limited express train. That castle is a gem.

Kamakura can be reached from Shinjuku in 59 minutes with no change of trains. I think there might also be a rapid train. I stopped there after a night in Hakone on the way back to Tokyo just to visit the Daibutsu (cool). Another fodorite loved Kamakura - I think she enjoyed a shrine walk.

Kawaguchiko is what I was thinking when I mentioned Fujigoko, One day I will get there.

Last edited by mrwunrfl; Apr 14th, 2022 at 07:26 AM.
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Old Apr 14th, 2022, 07:42 AM
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I was surprised to discover that Hyperdia is no longer providing timetables. It does, however, still list the possible routes: HyperDia | Route Search in Japan.

You might check https://www.seat61.com/Japan.htm to see what he is now recommending for timetables in Japan.

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Old Apr 14th, 2022, 09:53 AM
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https://www.japan-guide.com/forum/qu....html?0+175446

The above link is to a discussion on japan-guide's forum about alternatives to Hyperdia.

I have used hyperdia for years to create elaborate spreadsheets to schedule, price and check alternatives to my travels throughout Japan. And sometimes such as when I somehow missed a connection somewhere in the Tohoku region in February 2020 use the app to find another option.

Since I'm not going anytime soon I guess I have time to check the various alternatives.....



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Old Apr 14th, 2022, 10:00 AM
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that is a surprise

Hyperdia discontinues timetable search - Alternatives to the popular travel planning tool (japan-guide.com)
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Old Apr 14th, 2022, 10:23 AM
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Nikko is readily accessible by train. That's about all I can say aboout it, having been there so long ago that any other logisitical information is probably out of date.

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Old Apr 15th, 2022, 03:46 AM
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In Yokohama, there are three sites I adore:
The Yokohama Ramen Museum, which is a two-story recreation of a Tokyo street scene form the Showa period. It is a glorious excuse to sample ramen from about 8 or so different vendors from throughout Japan.
TaYa Cave, a cave which has been excavated by monks in the 20th century, They give you little candles on a paddle which you can refresh at various stations inside the cave.
Sea Paradise, a sprawling aquarium and park with multiple buildings. Definitely some creatures you will not see anywhere else.
You can hit all three on the same day.
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Old Apr 21st, 2022, 02:23 AM
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Thanks for all these amazing suggestions. I am adding them to my travel spreadsheet and see how many I can fit in to the 7 days we have and which can be done using some sort of rail pass. Already I am thinking we need at least one overnight, probably in the Hakone/Fuji region, perhaps Nikko. Will schedule those, as suggested, midweek rather than weekends to avoid crowds.

A shame about hyperdia, I used it a fair amount on our last trip . The link provided above to the discussion on JG doesn’t really appear to offer a solution/alternative and seat61 is still recommending hyperdia. I may just try and keep journeys simple and use google maps and Rome2 Rio.
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Old Apr 21st, 2022, 05:46 AM
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I spent two night in Nikko mainly becasuse of the travel time by rail from Kusatsu Onsen (after a morning soak in a rather luxurious private onsen).

Initially, I booked lodging at a place that was a short walk to the Shinkyo Bridge which is kind of a gateway to what you want to see. Problem with it was that it was up a hill that I didn't want to tackle after a day of walking around the sites. Instead, I found a place that was about two blocks from the station. Got a bus from there to the far side of the shrine/temple complex and walked through to the bridge and got a bus back to the station. I was glad I did it that way because it would have been a gradual uphill walk from the bridge to the shrines. I was uncomfortable enough walking downhill in the rain to the bridge. I also found time to take the bus up to see the waterfall in the mountains outside of town and get a soak before returning for the night. It was quite busy, annoyingly so, with so many tourists (Friday). Staying near Nikko station worked really well.

Utsunomiya is famous for gyoza and I stopped there for lunch. Had the most glorious bowl of ramen that had gyoza tossed in with all the other stuff and more gyoza on the side. The place is right in front of the station and I could point you there.

On a previous trip I spent the night in Utsunomiya planning to head to Nikko the next day. That when I found that restaurant with the ramen. I aborted the trip to Nikko and just went to Shinjuku. That trip involved a long ride on a local train, maybe rapid but just basic, on the Saikyo Line. Didn't like that. So, the second time I made that trip, after the successful trip to Nikkp, I took the shinkansen from Utsunomiya to Tokyo and then Chuo Line to Shinjuku. Much better using the shinkansen for most of the trip with JR Pass.

Nikko was more crowded, and wet, than I would have liked. That was November 2019.
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Old Apr 21st, 2022, 06:35 AM
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Hmm, I looked up my day trip to Nikko. I stayed in Asakusa and looks like it was a four hour round trip from there. Also, that I wasn't all that impressed: https://mytimetotravel.wordpress.com...trip-to-nikko/
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Old Apr 21st, 2022, 07:45 AM
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I see that you got a photo of the monkey carving. I think that is the one at the entrance to the stairway up. The people taking that shot were blocking the entrance to the stairway. When I finally got around/through them I saw that the line on the stairs started at the bottom. No way I was going up.
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Old Apr 21st, 2022, 07:53 AM
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If that was the stairway to Tokugawa Ieyasu's tomb you didn't miss anything. I guess you need to be Japanese to appreciate it.
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Old Apr 21st, 2022, 08:36 AM
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Or Chinese on the day I was there.

dollar yen is over 128
20-year high
on its way to 130
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Old Apr 23rd, 2022, 10:05 PM
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I found a great deal to see and appreciate in Nikko:

For one thing, I thought the Toshugo shrine well worth seeing -- the wood carvings are amazing, IMO, and the shrine incorporates some unusual structural elements. More generally, the shrine is unlike just about anything else you will see in Japan.

Taiyuin provides an interesting contrast and, IIRC, has a space in which an unusual sound effect can be experienced. I also thought Rinnoji and Futarasan worth seeing, along with the short walk through the pine forest that shrouds these temples, and of course, the lovely Shinkyou Bridge.

The Nikko Toshogu Museum of Art holds an awesome collection of painted screens and sliding panel doors -- highly recommended for anyone interested in these things.

Too, the walk along the Kanmangafuchi Abyss is worth considering. The first mile or so is very easy.

From Nikko, one can visit Lake Chuzenji on a day trip that includes the extraordinary Kegon no taki, which you can see both from a distance (from the Akechidaira Plateau -- a stunning view!) and close up (where you can appreciate its volcanic stone setting, included columnar joints and fractured basalts, things that can't be seen just any where).

I spent a night in Nikko, which meant a full day and bits of the days before and after; I could easily have enjoyed more time there. I stayed at the Turtle Inn Annex, which wasn't anything fancy, but it suited my needs and -- BONUS -- it had an indoor, but potentially open to the air, hot spring bath that one could reserve for private use. It's been a long time, though, so be sure to consult recent reviews.


For me, a day trip from Tokyo to Kamakura meant a very, very long, full day. With so many temples of historic and cultural significance, I spent quite a bit of time in advance deciding which to see. I won't try to recommend specific ones because I think the choice depends on your interests and what other temples you will or have seen.

I'm sure you've seen the information on japan-guide.com, surely the single best resource for information about traveling in Japan:
https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2164....tion_spot_list


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Old May 5th, 2022, 10:31 AM
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Thank you for your input KJA. All duly noted. I think I may be looking at Nikko and Hakone BUT having spoken with a few Japanese friends and our travel agent, I an becoming increasingly concerned that we will be able to visit by late September. Japan seems to be one of the few countries doggedly refusing to open its borders to tourists. We may have to have a major rethink...
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