Other places near Tokyo that can be visited easily and how to get there cheap13 May, 2012 by Chad
Those looking to see a more diverse Japan would be happy to know that there are a variety of attractions nearby. Be it for a relaxing nature stroll or experiencing the exhilarating rides at Fuji-Q Highland and Tokyo Disney Resort, there are a great many options for day trips that can be accessed within a couple hours travel from central Tokyo. Knowing the popularity of such sites for both tourist and Tokyoites, many companies offer special discount travel options to get there on the cheap.
Tokyo Disney Resort
Despite the name, the Tokyo Disney Resort is located at the adjacent prefecture of Chiba. It’s not too far out from Tokyo and can be accessed in about half an hour. The fastest way to Disney Resort is through the JR Keiyo Line. The train starts from Tokyo Station and takes just 15 minutes and 210 yen to get to Maihama Station where Disney Resort is located.
Disneyland is just a short walk to the right of the station. DisneySea is further away in the opposite direction. If you are visiting DisneySea and are traveling with kids you will want to take the Disney Resort Line monorail to get there. Though it is a slightly pricey 250 yen, it will give you a nice view of the parks’ grounds. You need not queue to get tickets from the monorail ticketing machine here if you have a IC Card such as the Suica.
The large manmade island of Odaiba is located just off the south east coast of Tokyo. It’s connected to the city through the iconic Rainbow Bridge, a beautiful sight when fully lighted up at night time. This makes Odaiba a popular date spot but the island has enough of a different ambiance from Tokyo to warrant a visit by anyone. It’s also a great spot for families, with its expansive children and pet friendly malls.
Unfortunately, neither JR nor Metro travel to Odaiba. To get there, one has to take either the New Transit Yurikamome or TWR’s Rinkai Line.
I would advise taking the Yurikamome which is a light transit vehicle similar to the Singapore LRT. The Yurikamome can be accessed from Shimbashi Station. It passes straight through the Rainbow Bridge and stops at the shopping areas at Odaibakaihinkoen Station. An enjoyable and convenient experience. The journey takes 15 minutes and costs 310 yen.
The Rinkai Line is a underground subway so you forego the sights along the way. Worst yet, it also stops in the center of Odaiba, quite a walk away from the relevant areas.
The neighboring city of Yokohama is one of the easiest to access places for those looking for a change of pace. As a classical port town, Yokohama differs from Tokyo through the heavy western influences in its culture and architecture. Popular landmarks include the historically rich port area, Cosmo Clock 21 Ferris wheel and Yokohama Chinatown.
A number of local lines run to Yokohama. The cheapest and most direct of which is the Tokyu Toyoko Line which leaves from Shibuya Station. It goes to Yokohama in 25 minutes and costs 260 yen. It is convenient since it links with the Minato Mirai Line.
The Yokohama port area uses its own train system called the Minato Mirai Line. The Minato Mirai is very pricey considering the distance traveled and single stops start at 180 yen. Yokohama Station itself is far away (about 2 kilometers) from where you’d be visiting, so unless you’re willing to brave the distance on foot you’ll just have to pay up the 180 yen to get to Minato Mirai Station.
Traveling to Yokohama by JR is a lot pricier. A direct JR train to Yokohama costs 450 yen. Note that if you’re one of those looking to visit the Yokohama Ramen Museum, it is located at the Shin-Yokohama.
Despite being closer to Tokyo than Yokohama, there is no cheap means of travel between Tokyo and Shin-Yokohama (it’s a Shinkansen station). The cheapest and simplest way would be to get there from Yokohama Station, taking the JR Yokohama Line (160 yen). It’s cheaper than you return to Yokohama Station after to catch a Tokyu train back to Shibuya again.
There are more parts of Yokohama to explore if you have the time. If you foresee yourself taking the Minato Mirai Line any more than just between Yokohama and Minato Mirai you may want to consider purchasing a Minato Mirai Pass. For 500 yen, it gives you unlimited travel on the Minato Mirai and JR Negishi Line (unfortunately it doesn’t cover the areas between Tokyo or Shin-Yokohama). You can purchase the pass at Yokohama Station or at any of the covered stations within the Yokohama area.
While many think of Saitama as mostly a suburb of Tokyo, and it is true that many residents do travel to Tokyo for work, Saitama has its fare share of cultural sights. Whether it be for the nearly 2,500 year old Hikawa Jinja Shrine, its many museums and parks or the Saitama Arena for a concert, getting to Saitama is easy.
The JR Shonan-Shinjuku Line piggybacks through other train lines to stop at popular stations in Tokyo, leading all the way to Omiya, Saitama’s central station. You can get onboard from Ikebukuro, Shinjuku, Shibuya, Ebisu or Osaki Station on the JR Yamanote Line. Ticket cost starts at 380 yen from Ikebukuro and the journey to Saitama takes about half an hour.
Just an hour south of Tokyo is Enoshima island and the coastal city of Kamakura. Popular among locals for its beaches, Kamakura is better known to tourists for its giant sitting buddha statue.
The Odakyu Electric Railway company services quite a few popular tourist destinations such as Kamakura. To help eleviate costs, a number of discount day passes which includes to and fro travel to popular sightseeing spots plus unlimited travel within the area. One such pass is the Enoshima-Kamakura Freepass, which costs 1430 yen and can be purchased from the Odakyu Sightseeing Service Center in Shinjuku. It gives you a round trip to Enoshima via the Limited Express train, as well as unlimited use of the local trains within the area.
Usually a single way ticket there already cost 600 yen and local travel within the Enoshima area starts at 210 yen a stop so you actually end up saving quite a bit.
In addition to the Limited Express, Odakyu operate special “Romancecars”, luxury express trains between the touristy areas that they cover. You will need to pay an extra fee to use these (600 or more yen depending on destination). I wouldn’t recommend using one, since the Enoshima Romancecar actually takes a slower route that the Limited Express.
Fuji & Hakone
I’ve already previous written a more detailed guide about Hakone and how to get there. To breeze over the key points: Odakyu offers a similar Freepass to the Kamakura one mentioned above.
Since it is a slightly further 1.5 to 2 hours away from Tokyo, many choose to stay there overnight at the various hot spring equipped ryokans. The Hakone Freepass comes only in a 2 or 3 day variety (5,000 and 5,5000 yen respectively). Like the Kamakura Freepass, it covers a round trip to Hakone from Shinjuku and all transport at Hakone. The Hakone Freepass is exclusive to foreigners visiting Japan, so you’ll need to flash a foreign passport when purchasing it from the Odakyu Sightseeing Center.
It is especially important when visiting Hakone to get the pass even if you are only planning a one day trip, and if you are staying overnight at Hakone, the value of the pass greatly increases. Odakyu owns most of the transport there and they fully expect you to purchase the pass. Ticket prices for the many individual trams, cable cars and ropeways rides are ridiculous without it.
Due to the approximate closeness of Fuji to Mount Fuji. Odakyu also has the Fuji-Hakone Freepass for tourists hoping to cover both places at once. It costs 7,200 yen and lasts for 3 days, giving you unlimited travel within and between the Hakone and Fuji areas. However, unlike the Hakone Freepass which provides a two way train ride between Hakone and Shinjuku, the Fuji-Hakone pass involves a circular trip where you go to Hakone by train, travel to Fuji by bus, and then back to Shinjuku by highway bus.
This pass only makes sense if you’re planning to stay a few days in Hakone and only if you’re traveling light. Getting to Fuji from Hakone is almost as long as if you were to go to Fuji directly from Tokyo. It involves having to take a bus to Gotemba first which takes 30 minutes, and the bus ride from there to the Fuji area takes another 90 or more minutes. It requires quite carefully planning to make a Fuji and Hakone round circular trip work. Needless to say, it is impossible to cover both areas in a day.
There is actually one possible work around to visiting both Hakone and Fuji, without having to stay there, so as long as you visit both within a 3 day period. That is, to purchase the Fuji-Hakone pass and visit Hakone first with the pass, and return to Tokyo with a standard ticket. Then travel to Fuji via a standard bus or train ticket, and return to Tokyo through the pass again. You’ll still end up saving quite a bit of money if you manage to pull this off carefully.
Without the Odakyu passes, traveling between Tokyo and Hakone (Hakome Yumoto Station) costs 1150 yen each way. You can get to Kawaguchiko the main station at Fuji via bus or train, but both will set you back about 2,600 yen and 2.5 hours. Since taking the train would involve a lot of transfers, bus is the better choice here. You can take one from the Keio Building at Shinjuku.
Nikko to the north of Tokyo is another mountainous region for those looking to get away from the city. Like Hakone, it has its fare share of nature, ryokans, hot springs, that sort of thing. It is not as extensive as Hakone though and the main sights there are concentrated within a couple of areas, making Nikko a more feasible day trip.
Travel between Tokyo and Nikko is by Tobu Railway. The train there leaves from Asakusa Station and takes about an hour and half to get to the Tobu Nikko Station. A one way trip usually costs 1,320 yen but Tobu also offer their own discount passes for Nikko.
The two main passes are the World Heritage Pass (3,600 yen) and the All Nikko Pass (4,400 yen). Both are similar in that they include the two way trip between Asakusa and Nikko, as well as free use of the local buses within Nikko but are quite different otherwise.
Local buses around Nikko aren’t a big deal if you are only visiting the shrines here. In fact they can be reached on foot from Tobu Nikko Station. So to sweeten the deal, the World Heritage Pass adds free admission to a few popular shrines in the area. It is worth it only if you intend to visit all the shrines, but even then savings are minimal. I wouldn’t recommend it.
The All Nikko Pass on the other hand, forgoes the free temple admissions to include unlimited use of mountain buses. With this, you’ll be able to visit Chuzenji and Kegon Falls, the other key attractions at Nikko, or go as far as the adjacent hot springs town of Yumoto Osen. Without a pass, a single bus ride up the mountain would cost between 1,100 to 1,650 yen. It’s a no brainer to get this pass if you’re visiting Nikko from Tokyo. To sweeten the deal, it is even valid for 4 days.Planning your holiday? We recommend visiting Agoda for a full list of hotels with early bird specials.