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Tokyo Day Trips

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The outlying Kanto plain is geographically diverse yet relatively compact, enabling travelers to jet out on easy jaunts beyond the city’s sprawling borders. Take a peaceful stroll into another era in Little Edo, visit Gotenba Peace Park with Mt. Fuji in the background, head over to The Fish marketplace, or sip a beer while drifting down the Arakawa River. If you have more than a day, spend an overnight soaking in hot springs in the picturesque mountain town of Okunikko.
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2 Chome-1-31 Yukinoshita, Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa-ken 248-8588, Japan
Along with the Great Buddha (Kamakura Daibutsu), the Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gū Shinto shrine attracts hundreds of visitors each day in Kamakura (Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan). The rituals for seeking good fortune are many. These ema—wooden votive...
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409 Yamanouchi, Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture 247-0247, Japan
This is a stone statue of Buddha (jizou in Japanese) positioned in front of a withered tree on the grounds of Engakuji Temple in Kita-kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. The large temple complex comprises 18 temples and was founded in 1282 by a...
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Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan
I love Japanese folklore, with its stories of Samurai, demons, and spirits. One of my favorite characters from Japanese lore is the Tengu, a mountain nymph of sorts, who likes to tempt Buddhist priests to break their vows, and to teach devoted...
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Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan
During our visit to Kamakura City in Kanagawa Prefecture, we stopped in at the Miyamoto Kimono Shop (1-8-20 O-machi). Before we were treated to chado ("the way of tea" or tea ceremony), we watched as Karen Iwade, the reigning Miss Kamakura, was...
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Japan, 〒247-0062 神奈川県鎌倉市山ノ内189
A circular doorway leading into Meigetsu-in temple in Kita-kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture, is part of a temple founded in 1383 and belonging to the Rinzai sect of Buddhism. On the grounds there is a gorgeous Japanese rock garden with lines and...
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Japan, 〒250-0407 Kanagawa-ken, Ashigarashimo-gun, Hakone-machi, Ninotaira, 二ノ平1121
This is the view inside the Symphonic Sculpture by Gabriel Loire at the Hakone Open Air Museum (彫刻の森 in Japanese) in Hakone, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. The museum opened in 1969 as the first open-air art museum in Japan. The spectacular grounds,...
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Japan, 〒401-0511 山梨県南都留郡忍野村忍草
About a 10-minute drive from the shores of Lake Yamanaka lies a cluster of eight deepwater pools designated as a National Treasure by the Japanese government and known as Oshino-hakkai. Filled with meltwater from the snow capping Mt. Fuji for most...
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80-1 Motohakone, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa-ken 250-0522, Japan
Just a stone’s throw from Lake Ashi at the foot of Mt. Fuji lies Hakone Jinja, a wonderfully old Shinto shrine nestled among the forests that dot the surrounding hinterlands. The tree-lined approach by foot through the red torii gate lends a...
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Saiwaicho, Narita, Chiba Prefecture 286-0028, Japan
I had an eight-hour layover in Tokyo (Narita). After doing a lot of research, I realized that I wouldn't have enough time to go into Tokyo without feeling incredibly rushed to get back to the airport to catch my connection home. Instead, I decided...
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Nakajimachisakiumihotaru, Kisarazu, Chiba Prefecture 292-0071, Japan
The Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line, also known as the Trans-Tokyo Bay Highway, is a bridge-tunnel combination that connects Kisarazu in Chiba Prefecture with Kawasaki, across Tokyo Bay in Kanagawa Prefecture. At the crossover point, where the bridge and the...
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Ohara, Isumi, Chiba Prefecture 298-0004, Japan
Ohara is a small town known for its fishing port (in fact, roughly 60 percent of all of the ise-ebi, or Japanese spiny lobster, caught in Japan comes from Ohara Port). It is about a 1 1/2 hour train ride from Tokyo Station on the Wakashio express....
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Kanaya, Futtsu, Chiba Prefecture 299-1861, Japan
The Fish is an enormous complex on the Chiba side of Tokyo Bay. While the restaurant attracts tour buses, they are dropping off Japanese diners and shoppers, not Westerners. The restaurant serves impeccably fresh seafood, and the marketplace...
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1072 Amatsu, Kamogawa-shi, Chiba-ken 299-5503, Japan
The Torii Arch reaches skyward on a small islet off the Pacific coast of Amatsu-kominato in the Boso Peninsula of Chiba. I came across this after walking around the breakwater of the fishing port located in front of Tanjoji Temple, birthplace of...
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The Metropolitan Area Outer Underground Discharge Channel (首都圏外郭放水路), also known as the G-Cans Project, is an underground water infrastructure project in Kasukabe, Saitama. It is the world's largest underground floodwater diversion facility, built...
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1 Chome-1-4 Rokkenmachi, Kawagoe-shi, Saitama-ken 350-1113, Japan
Kawagoe is a small city in Saitama Prefecture located roughly half an hour from Ikebukuro by express train on the Tobu Tojo line. It is known for its well-preserved kura (storehouses) dating back to the Edo period. The Kawagoe Matsuri Kaikan...
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Nagatoro, Chichibu District, Saitama Prefecture, Japan
During a whirlwind exploration of the prefectures surrounding Tokyo on Japan's Kanto plain, one extended moment of relaxation came in a boat ride down a stretch of the Arakawa River—running along the edge of Nagatoro town in the Chichibu district...
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Kawagoe, Saitama Prefecture, Japan
About 30 minutes from Tokyo by train, Kawagoe Town, in Saitama Prefecture, is worth a day trip just for the peaceful stroll into another era; peaceful, unless you experience a sugar rush from all the sweet potato–based treats available along...
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Lake Chūzenji, Chugushi, Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture 321-1661, Japan
The Chuzenji Temple in Oku-nikko, Tochigi Prefecture, was originally founded in 784 by a Buddhist monk known as Shodo-shonin and is located on the shore of Lake Chuzenji, which is approximately 1,300 meters above sea level. In the middle of the...
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Japan, 〒321-1662 Tochigi-ken, Nikkō-shi, Yumoto, 2549−5 栃木県日光市
These little wooden structures house pumps that send piping-hot water from sulphur hot springs to the many inns and B&Bs dotting the area around Oku-nikko, a picturesque resort town located in the mountains of Nikko. It's a fantastic overnight...
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2301 Sannai, Nikkō-shi, Tochigi-ken 321-1431, Japan
Nikko Tosho-gu is a large Shinto shrine in Tochigi Prefecture just north of Tokyo. It is dedicated to the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate, Ieyasu Tokugawa, whose remains are entombed within. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it can be reached in...
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Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture, Japan
“Nature” may not be a word generally associated with Tokyo, but the Kanto Plain on which the city sits abounds with forests, rivers, and mountains. In many cases, though, you may only find one or two out of the three available in any one location,...
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Higashiyama, Gotenba, Shizuoka Prefecture 412-0024, Japan
This Golden Buddha statue sits inside the main structure of Nipponzan-Myōhōji temple on the grounds of Gotenba Peace Park in Gotenba, Shizuoka Prefecture. Mt. Fuji is visible in the background. The Peace Park is an interesting blend of different...
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Japan, 〒299-4303 Chiba-ken, Chōsei-gun, Ichinomiya-machi, Torami, 167−2 トラベルコーヒーストア
Hidden culinary treasures in Japan are not just confined to cities like Tokyo—they can be found in surprising numbers throughout the countryside as well. However, unlike their big city brethren, these rustic establishments are often simply too far...
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589 Ohara, 大原 いすみ市 千葉県 298-0004, Japan
Don’t get me wrong—I love Tokyo and wouldn’t trade it for any other city in world. But sometimes you’ve just got to get out and decompress by dropping the pace several notches with an overnight stay somewhere beyond the borders of the urban...
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Japan, 〒299-4623 Chiba-ken, Isumi-shi, Misakichōnakadaki, 千葉県いすみ市岬町中滝1747
Nestled in an enchanting forest only an hour away from the heart of Tokyo, The Enclave is a unique private dining experience offering sophisticated fusion cuisine in an intimate at-home setting on the eastern coast of Chiba Prefecture’s Bousou...