Explore the Countryside – 4 Great Day Trips from Tokyo

August 4, 2011 by

Travel Tips

1. Kamakura Tour
Explore the countryside, temples and shrines outside Tokyo on a full-day walking tour through Kamakura. This fully guided excursion takes you to Kamakura’s famous Great Buddha and pretty Hase Kannon Temple.

The massive bronze statue of the Great Buddha at Kotokuin Temple is the second largest Buddha statue in Japan. The bronze image measures 37 feet (11.4 meters) and is thought to date back to 1252. Hase Kannon Temple contains a gilt statue of Kannon, the Goddess of Mercy, and affords great views over Hase and the Pacific Ocean.

The Great Buddha, Kamakura

This tour includes the option of taking a one-hour rickshaw ride or train trip on the Eno-den line to the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine. Lined with cherry trees, the Shrine includes a series of red torii gates, an arched bridge, a huge gingko tree and the colorful Main Hall.

2. Mount Fuji Tour
Visit Japan’s iconic Mount Fuji on Tokyo’s most popular day tour, then return to Tokyo by the famous Shinkansen Bullet train. You’ll enjoy lunch on Mt Fuji, cruise Lake Ashi and ride the aerial cableway at Mount Komagatake for sweeping views of the celebrated Hakone National Park.

At 12,388 feet (3,776 meters) Mount Fuji is Japan’s highest mountain. Rarely, on clear days, Fujisan’s perfectly shaped volcano slopes can be seen from Tokyo and Yokohama, but views are always subject to weather conditions as mountain weather is notoriously unpredictable. Visibility tends to be better during the colder months, in the early morning and late evening.

On this tour, you’ll drive up to Mt Fuji’s fifth station at 7,607 feet (2,305 meters). Enjoy the crisp mountain air and Mt Fuji views while cruising Lake Ashi before riding the aerial cableway at Mount Komagatake overlooking Hakone National Park.

3. Kyoto Tour
If your time in Japan is limited and you don’t want to miss the sights of Kyoto, zoom there and back by Bullet train on this comprehensive one-day rail tour from Tokyo. Weather-permitting, you’ll have splendid views of Mt Fuji from the Shinkansen Bullet train en route.

Escorted by a professional guide, you’ll embark on an afternoon city tour of Kyoto and enjoy a local lunch at the New Miyako Hotel. After lunch you’ll be guided around the Buddhist Sanjusangendo Hall with its 1,001 impressive images of Buddha. From here you’ll explore the vermilion-hued Heian Shinto shrine and the Kiyomizu Buddhist temple, with its wooden veranda.

In the early evening you’ll board a Shinkansen Bullet train back to Tokyo to spend the evening in the capital.

4. Nikko National Park Tour
Explore the scenic shrines and countryside of the Nikko National Park on a day trip from Tokyo. Nikko has been a center of Shinto and Buddhist mountain worship for centuries, and is famous for its shrines, mountain landscapes, hot springs and wild monkeys.

Visit the world-famous Toshogu Shrine, the mausoleum of the first Tokugawa Shogun. It’s a gorgeous complex of colorful structures featuring the superb craftsmanship of Japan’s 17th-century artisans. Look out for the famous carving of the ‘hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil’ monkeys.

You’ll be driven along the zigzagging Irohazaka driveway up the mountains, negotiating 20 hairpin curves. After a Japanese lunch, you’ll visit beautiful Lake Chuzenji (Chuzenjiko) in Nikko National Park, at the foot of the sacred volcano Mount Nantai. The lake was formed by lava flows from the now-extinct volcano several thousand years ago.

- Viator Travel Team

Planning a trip? Browse Viator’s top Tokyo things to do, top Tokyo attractions, and top Tokyo recommendations.

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