Before I begin about the day trips that you can take from Tokyo especially during autumn, did you know that Tokyo is big enough for you to take full days to finish exploring certain areas? Regardless, autumn and November would always be my favorite time to head to Tokyo! Now that autumn is arriving soon in Japan, here are some recommended day trip ideas that you can take in/from Tokyo. Enjoy!
Tokyo Day Trips to Take in Autumn
1. First, go park-hopping in Tokyo downtown
Tokyo city itself has plenty of autumn spots for you to admire those red and yellow leaves at their most magnificent. Last year, I did this ‘park-hopping’ within the same morning in Tokyo, covering two gardens but very happy with what I saw.
Autumn Spot 1: Rikugi-en Gardens (六義園)
Admire the beautiful landscaping at Rikugi-en Gardens, easily reached by walking from Komagome Station, via JR Yamanote Line.
Taking seven years and finished in 1702 using a landscaping technique called kaiyu-shiki tsukiyama sensui teien, this sprawling garden (more like a park) includes a man-made hill (tsukiyama), a large lake (sensui), and a river. Rikugien houses more than 400 maple trees, ginkgos, and zelkovas.
In the daytime, the place itself is already pretty to explore. On special days, Rikugien Gardens will be open till night and the garden illuminated. I didn’t get to see it at night but am sure that will be a lovely sight!
My photos aren’t the peak of autumn yet. You can check the peak autumn season dates to enjoy the most spectacular views at Rikugien!
When at Rikugi-en, you need to cross the photogenic Togetsukyo Bridge – created from two large rocks. I think I got very lucky with the spot of blue sky reflected in the water!
Autumn Spot 2: Icho Namiki (Ginkgo Avenue)
Ginkgo Avenue is a picturesque, tree-lined road that is beautiful enough to be the setting scene of movie posters. Lined with about 150 ginkgo trees that turn bright yellow in autumn, this place is a sight to behold, whether the yellow leaves are on the trees or lining the pavements in a pretty carpet.
2. Mount Takao (Takaosan) for a day of easy hiking
Want to get some nature time in Tokyo but not sure if such a modern city known as Tokyo has such a thing? Well, there is!
If you’re ok with Mt Takao being probably the most hiked mountain in Japan (which means crowds and queues), it’s an excellent idea for you to spend a day for autumn foliage-admiring and forest-bathing. There are different trails you can choose to reach the summit – each one offering different experiences and attractions along the way.
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Read all my tips for doing Mount Takao as a day trip in this hiking post!
3. Explore the coastal town of Kamakura
I made a day trip to Kamakura on my first solo trip to Tokyo, and loved it so much that I recommended my family to head there with me again on another trip. Located at the Kanagawa Prefecture, it takes about an hour by train from Shinjuku, where I often based myself at and are always staying at Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku Hotel.
At Kamakura, at the right timing, you’ll spot autumn foliage when you head to Hokoku-ji temple, or if you visit the Great Buddha. I also recommend checking out Hasedera’s temple grounds.
Get more details about visiting Kamakura as a day trip here!
4. Nikko for a throwback in time
Nikko has been on my to-go-in-autumn list for a long time, but have not been able to visit yet because, sometimes, I become a paranoid solo traveler who has qualms about visiting new and far places. I hope you’re a more adventurous traveler, because, with mountains, lakes, waterfalls, Nikko will capture your heart in autumn for sure!
It takes at least 2-2.5 hours to get to Nikko from Tokyo via trains. I heard that it’ll be even more enjoyable to spend one or two nights in Nikko instead of doing it as a day trip, because there’s quite a lot to cover in Nikko.
5. Fuji Five Lakes
Fuji Five Lakes is a region at the base of the world-known Mount Fuji. The 5 lakes are Kawaguchi, Yamanaka, Saiko, Shōji, and Motosu lakes. I’ve only been to Fujikawaguchiko (the town that has Lake Kawaguchi) – two hours by express bus from Shinjuku in Tokyo.
Honestly, I’ll think touring Fujikawaguchiko in one day trip is a very rushed affair, as there are quite a few places worth seeing there. It’ll be good to stay for at least one or two nights!
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At Kawaguchiko, you can head to Momiji Tunnel for pretty views of autumn trees, or take the cable-car up to Mount Tenjo, or simply walk around town for views of autumn foliage especially on the mountains surrounding Kawaguchiko. I cover more about Kawaguchiko and Mount Fuji in this blogpost!
Hope you like these recommended day trip ideas for your next trip to Tokyo!
Image credits: All photos taken and editted by me, except the autumn photo in Nikko, which belongs to Molly Des Jardin. Image usage is licensed under Creative Commons 2.0
More posts from Tokyo!
• Tokyo for the first time? Here’s where to go!
• Why November is the best time to visit Tokyo
• 15 reasons Tokyo is great for solo travel
• Where to Stay in Tokyo: Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku
• Tokyo’s cutest festival: Shichi Go San!
Image credits: Mt Fuji’s photo is by skyseeker, image licensed under CC2.0. All other photos are taken by me.
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