35 great short trips from Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka chosen by residents originally from overseas who live in and know these local areas really well.
Get away from the crowds, and discover these beautiful regions within easy reach of the major tourist attractions.

Japan. Endless Discovery.
Short trips from Tokyo
Selection of Courses
  • (C)JNTO

Two-day trip Hotsprings, beaches and seafood await those on a two-day tour of Izu

Short trip to Izu

Just an hour or so by Shinkansen from Tokyo and you'll already feel like you're hundreds of miles away. The Izu Peninsula is compact enough to travel round in a couple of days but there is plenty to keep you for longer. Tranquil mountain passes, emerald seas and white sandy beaches, natural hot springs and breathtaking scenery are just some of the things awaiting visitors to this part of the Izu Hakone National Park. Get around the northwestern part of Izu, get a great view of Mt. Fuji on a clear day, and have a relaxing soak in a hot spring. Then on day two, rent a car and take a scenic trip through the heart of Izu, passing over the Amagi Mountain Range and then on to the east coast towards Kawazu and Shimoda. Enjoy the costal drive and get a sense of Izu's relaxed tropical vibe.

Guide
Russell Willis

Look at more courses

All 15 Courses

Short trips from Kyoto
Selection of Courses
  • (公社)びわこビジターズビューロー
  • (C)JNTO
  • (公社)びわこビジターズビューロー

One-day trip Lake Biwa, the crossroads of natural beauty and living history

Short trip to Lake Biwa

Lake Biwa, located in Shiga Prefecture (just 10 minutes from Kyoto by train), is Japan's largest freshwater lake. The lake dominates the landscape, much as it has dominated Shiga's history and culture. Lake Biwa, together with the Nakasendo, formed the main trade route for goods and people in ancient Japan, making Shiga an important trading and cultural hub. The strategic importance of Shiga was not lost on Japan's famous samurai. Oda Nobunaga built his castle in Shiga, and from there set out to conquer Japan. To this day, Shiga is dotted with the remains of castles, shrines, and temples built by famous samurai. Shiga also boasts one of the last remaining original castles in Hikone. Because of the rich trade and commerce traversing Lake Biwa, Shiga is also famous for its merchant class, which is still strong to this day.

Guide
Benjamin John McCracken

Look at more courses

All 10 Courses

Short trips from Osaka
Selection of Courses

One-day trip One of Japan's top three ancient hot spring villages

Short trip to Arima

Famous for being a favourite of the feudal lord Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Arima is an area steeped in history spanning hundreds of years. Many samurai used to visit the hot springs to soak, and geisha would attend to them - this history is why Arima is the only place in the prefecture where working geisha still remain. Although much loved by people travelling to Japan, Arima has been able to retain its charming atmosphere and rich tradition; with quiet spots off the beaten track, the village is a wonderful place for quiet relaxation and reflection once you take a few steps away from the most popular route.

Guide
Louise Dendy

Look at more courses

All 10 Courses