We know Tokyo is a great place to be on vacation. Many love to explore the nightlife in Shibuya, window-shop through Harajuku, or check out the Sensoji temple at Asakusa, but what if I tell you there are more locations to consider outside of Tokyo? There are many incredible destinations that you can access easily from Tokyo, especially when using the Japan Rail Pass to get unlimited rides on the Shinkansen (bullet train). Let’s dive into some of these great off the beaten path destinations!
Kanazawa is located on the other coast of Japan, in the Ishikawa prefecture. Although quite far, you can easily get to Kanazawa from Tokyo using the Hokuriku Shinkansen. Kanazawa is known for its historical buildings and is often compared to Kyoto, but with a different taste. If you’re in Japan during the cherry blossom season, then come visit this area during spring, where the city is flushing with cherry blossoms. Kanazawa is home to one of Japan’s most famous garden, Kenrokuen Garden, and the famous 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, where you can learn more about the city's unique architecture and sculptures.
Only two hours away from Tokyo, where you can explore through lush mountains and colorful trees, during the autumn season. Nikko is a nature lover's dream if they plan on going to Japan. It’s famous for shrines and a significant amount of hiking trails. One notable place to visit is a well-known bridge called the Shinkyo Bridge, which takes you to an area filled with shrines. While you go hiking at Nikko's national park, you should also check out a waterfall called Kegon Falls. It’s a breath-taking view that will make your jaw drop!
Heading down south from Tokyo and you’ll arrive at Fujinomiya, one of the finest locations to get that perfect shot of Mount Fuji up close. Another great viewpoint to consider is Lake Tanuki, also famous for the “Diamond Fuji,” which happens during sunrise when the sun touches the tip of Mount Fuji and creates a beautiful looking diamond-shape figure. Hey, if you love waterfalls, catch a glimpse at one of Japan’s must-see waterfalls called the Shiraito Falls. It’s not the biggest waterfall, but what makes this so unique is how there are multiple falls that surround the mountain walls.
One of the best times to visit this area will be during spring for the Hitsujiyama Park, when flowers are ready to bloom in beautiful fashion, while during the winter-time, Chichibu celebrates Japan’s top three most anticipated night festivals, so consider which dates you want to visit Chichibu. Regardless of what season you pick, try cruising along a river from an authentic-looking wooden boat and you may see the beauty of what this countryside of Japan holds. Colorful trees spread throughout the mountain side of town.
Kawaguchiko is another destination that’s close to Mount Fuji, but on the opposite side from Fujinomiya. You can get awesome up-close shots of Mount Fuji and the Kawaguchiko Lake from Kawaguchi Amphi Hall. Also, if you’re the type of person that’s down with music and nature, then go visit a museum called Kawaguchiko Music Forest Museum. The first thing your eye would catch is how western-looking the building is presented with a nice wide garden. Here you can enjoy the scenery of rose gardens with a nice tune box of elegant music.