The 10 Best Winter Day Trips From Tokyo

If you’re excited about your trip to Tokyo, you can need to know there are plenty of attractions you could also visit outside city limits. Tokyo itself can feel isolating during the winters with its tall empty skyscrapers.

The best winter day trips from Tokyo can be a solution when you simply want to escape to the countryside.

High-speed trains cover Japan and you need to leverage this almost unmatched advantage over other countries. For example, you can reach Kyoto within 130 minutes with a high-speed Nozomi train.

Since you can easily travel fast around the country, here are the best locations to wander off for a day outside Tokyo.

10. Fukushima

Traveling time from Tokyo: 1 hour and 56 minutes by train

Not everybody wants to see a devastated area such as Fukushima. But there’s a lot to learn by booking a tour of Fukushima, an area devastated by tsunamis and earthquakes. While most of the area has been regenerated, signs of the devastation are still visible today. Visiting it is taking part in a small piece of the history of natural disasters with a positive spin in how the locals managed to rebuild their lives.

9. Enoshima

Traveling time from Tokyo: 1 hour and 22 minutes by train

Enoshima is a small island only 60km out of Tokyo. It has a few natural attractions and a few shrines to relax after the hustle and bustle in Tokyo. The area is mostly known for its natural beaches. If you want tranquil walks on the beach during the winter, it is the closest to Tokyo and you can spend a whole day out relaxing in nature without spending any money.

8. Yokohama

Traveling time from Tokyo: 18 minutes by train

You can drink a cup of coffee on the train and be in Yokohama, a city populated by 3 million people. It can be a break from the busier Tokyo and it certainly opens up new horizons with interesting attractions.

Once in Yokohama, you can visit the Sankeien Gardens or the new city center. There’s even a cupnoodles museum to visit here which may be an interesting experience for gourmand tourists.

7. Kawaguchiko, Mount Fiji

Traveling time from Tokyo: 2 hours and 29 minutes by train

If you’ve been reading Japanese literature, you know how important Mount Fiji is to the locals. You’ve probably seen it across the web as its one of the most photographed mountains around the world.

One of the best spots to admire this natural wonder is in Kawaguchiko. Since you’ll be traveling during the winter, you’ll be able to see the snowy peaks of the mountain from here. There’s even a famous lake where the reflection of the mountain has helped create some of the best Mount Fuji photos and paintings.

6. Nikkō Temples

Traveling time from Tokyo: 1 hour and 51 minutes

Only a short train ride North of the capital is the Nikkō city, in the vicinity of the Nikkō forest. It’s here that a unique cluster of over 100 shrines form a UNESCO-protected area that helps you understand the local culture further.

It can be one of the best places to meditate around the country due to its silent natural surroundings. But still, you can see amazing natural attractions here such as the Kegon Waterfall.

5. Kamakura

Traveling time from Tokyo: 49 minutes by train

Kamakura used to be Japan capital and this is seen in its historic attractions. It has a significant religious role in the history of the country as it hosts large Budha statues as well as hundreds of small shrines. Since it’s close to Tokyo, it can be visited within a day. It’s worth booking a place with a local tour guide to learn a bit more about the significance of this small city.

4. Kusatsu

Traveling time from Tokyo: 3 hours and 10 minutes

Japan is often categorized as a country with attractive hot springs. Kusatsu is one of the most popular hot spring towns you can visit from Tokyo. Even if you’re visiting during the winter, you can still enjoy the feeling of dipping your feet in hot springs. Indoor hot springs also allows you to take full hot baths which help you warm up during cold winter days.

3. Nagano

Traveling time from Tokyo: 1 hour and 30 minutes by train

If you’ve ever watched Discovery Channel, you’ve seen the famous Nagano winter monkeys. They can be admired in Nagano during the winter when they love to take long hot baths in the region’s natural hot springs. There are even a couple of short hiking trails (around 1.6km) you can enjoy.

Food includes a choice of delicious ramen noodles sold by local restaurants. However, the best part about Nagano is you don’t need any special gear to reach the place as you can even rent hiking boots from one of the specialized small shops in the area.

2. Kyoto

Traveling time from Tokyo: 2 hours and 8 minutes by train

Kyoto is now a modern city that hosts multiple high-rank universities. But the city itself is known for its well-preserved pieces of history. When you reach it, you’ll be surprised at how traditional it looks in comparison to Tokyo.

You can visit the famous Nijo Castle and the Fushimi-Inhari Taisha Shrine in Kyoto. You can also visit the Kiyomizu-dera Temple built in 1663. This temple is known for being dedicated to the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy.

1. Tokyo Disneyland

Image: Wikimedia / Øyvind Holmstad

Traveling time from Tokyo: 39 minutes

Situated on the outskirts of the city, Tokyo Disneyland is one of the region’s most popular tourist attractions. It’s the first Disneyland to be built outside the US. While it resembles Disneyland California, it has a charm of its own.

Make sure to get there early as it’s popular with the locals. It is estimated, that nearly 17 million people visit Tokyo Disneyland every year. But getting there early shouldn’t be a problem as you can take a train, book a taxi, or even cycle to its premises.