Hakone is one of the most popular destinations among Japanese and international tourists looking for a break from Tokyo. It is located less than 100 kilometres (60miles) from Tokyo. Hakone is a beautiful area at the foot of Mt. Fuji. It’s famous for hot-spring resorts, mountains, lakes and breathtaking views of Mt. Fuji. There is a must see open-air museum in Hakone as well. You might also want to enjoy trying out a traditional Japanese inn called a “Ryokan”.
To get there you could drive for about 2 hours from Tokyo or there is also a nice express train called the “Romance car” which takes you to Hakone in about 1 hour and a half on the Odakyu Line from Shinjuku station. It costs about 2,000yen one way.
Izu Peninsula is another very popular spot for a weekend trip. The Izu Peninsula (Izu Hanto) is a resort area about 100 kilometers (60miles) southwest of Tokyo. It’s known for hot springs, beautiful coastlines, beaches, a scenic mountainous interior and views of Mount Fuji from its western coast. You can visit Izu during any season since Izu has a mild climate throughout the year. However, on weekends and during holiday seasons, the Izu Peninsula can get quite busy, and traffic jams along the eastern coast are not unusual.
The Izu Peninsula is also a great place to be explored by rental car, motorbike or bicycle.
There are also a few very popular areas such as Atami, Ito, Shimoda and Shuzenji.
Taking the JR Tokaido Bullet Train to Atami takes about 40-45 minutes from Tokyo and costs 4,080 yen one way. To go to Ito or Shimoda transfer in Atami to the Izu Kyu line which will take a further 25 minutes or 70 minutes to Ito and Shimoda respectively. For Shuzenji take the JR Bullet train to Mishima (about 55 minutes from Tokyo) and transfer to the Izu Hakone Sunzu line. From there Shuzenji is about another 30 minutes.
Nikko is located about 150 kilometers (90 miles) north of Tokyo. Nikko is very popular, as the Temple there, Toshogu, is a registered World Heritage site. Nikko is also popular for its scenery, mountainous landscapes, lakes, waterfalls, hot springs, wild monkeys and hiking trails.
Nikko and the Okunikko area around Lake Chuzenji, in particular, are well known for their beautiful autumn colors (koyo). Early October is the best time for koyo around Lake Chuzenji, and early November for the town of Nikko itself..
Nikko is connected with Tokyo by the Tobu Railway and Japan Railway (JR).
The easiest, fastest, and most luxurious way to get to Nikko is on the Tobu Line’s limited express (reservations necessary), which departs from Asakusa Station (Ginza and Asakusa Subway Lines). It takes about 105 minutes and cost about 2,800 yen one way. Slower trains for about 1,500 yen one way take 2 hours and 10 minutes.
Mashiko is a popular day trip by car for some avid pottery shoppers from Tokyo. Close to Nikko, it can be combined with an overnight trip to Nikko. It is located 40kilometers (25 miles) north of Tokyo. Mashiko is a small village known for its distinctive heavy, country-style pottery. The easiest, fastest way is to take the bullet train from Ueno to Utsunomiya (50 minutes) and transfer to a bus for a 40 minute ride to Mashiko.
Kamakura is located 50 kilometers (30miles) south of Tokyo. It takes about an hour from Tokyo on the Yokosuka Line. Kamakura ranks as one of the most famous historical sites in Japan. A former capital during the early feudal era, it is a charming town with 65 temples and 19 shrines spread throughout the village and surrounding hills. The Great Buddha is a must see.