Whether you’re coincidently in town during the Olympics or coming over to cheer on your country, your visit during the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games is going to be a summer you’ll never forget. While there’s always plenty of excitement buzzing through the streets, sometimes, to recharge, you need to escape the city—even if just for a day.
Luckily, Tokyo is surrounded by some of the most incredible day-trip opportunities, many of which are available in tidy package deals that not only save time on the organization side, but usually save you money too. From the majestic Mt. Fuji to the verdant valleys of Nikko, the Ghibli Museum to Gunma’s bountiful fruit farms, get out of the city and in touch with a different side of Japan.
To make your choice easier, here’s a round-up of some of the best day trips you can take during the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
1. Get up close to Japan’s most famous local, Mt. Fuji
Without question, a visit to one of the world’s most famous mountains is a Japan trip bucket-list experience. For those in Tokyo, it’s also a very doable day-trip adventure. We recommend you avoid the hassle of trying to figure out which trains or buses to take by booking one of the many Mt. Fuji tour packages that are available.
For folks who want more than just a bus ride to the stunning location, Klook offers several Mt. Fuji day-trip tours from Tokyo, each with a different additional experience. For example, if you have a sweet tooth, you can pick a package with an all-you-can-eat fruit-picking experience, which also includes a visit to Kawaguchiko Lakeside Park and a ride up the Mt. Fuji Panoramic Ropeway (also known as the Mt. Kachi Kachi Ropeway). More info.
In June and July, there’s also a Klook exclusive trip that offers a similar experience, but with the added option to take in the Lake Kawaguchi Lavender Festival. More info.
2. Explore the wondrous world of Studio Ghibli
The legendary creatives that brought us anime classics like Spirited Away, My Neighbour Totoro, and Howl’s Moving Castle, Studio Ghibli, is an iconic part of modern Japanese culture and pop culture globally. Located just a short walk from the popular neighborhood of Kichijoji (within the bounds of Tokyo itself), sitting adjacent to the lush, almost Ghibli-esque Inokashira Park, is the enchanting Studio Ghibli Museum.
The maze-like museum is a living dedication to the colorful worlds Hayao Miyazaki and his team of Ghibli talents have created over the years. It is by far one of the most popular tourist attractions in Tokyo, so if you want to go, you usually have to plan and book your tickets at least a month before getting there.
If you don’t manage to plan far enough in advance, there are a few other options—but they do cost a little more than the regular tickets. From ¥4,000, you can get entry to the museum with a fun little tour around Inokashira Park thrown in too. This is guided by local experts, who are more than happy to point out local secrets (like great cheap eateries) along the way, making it a worthwhile option. More info.
If you have the time, it might be worth complementing your visit to the Studio Ghibli Museum with something a little more luxurious. For example, a package is available that includes tickets to the Studio Ghibli Museum in Tokyo, an impressive buffet lunch at Hotel Gajoen Tokyo, plus a visit to the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum—the perfect way to unwind and treat yourself during an Olympic day-off.
3. See the colors of Ashikaga Flower Park
Ashikaga Flower Park in Tochigi Prefecture is a much-loved public garden, home to an incredible cross-section of flower species that come and go with the passing seasons. With its sprawling displays, it feels worlds away from the dense streets of Tokyo, making it the perfect Olympic escape.
From ¥13,131, you can book a day-trip adventure to Ashikaga Flower Park. This includes return transport from Tokyo, an all-you-can-eat crab lunch, strawberry picking and a traditional tofu skin (yuba) making demonstration. This is actually a delicacy; it surprises people with its subtle taste and texture.
4. Chill out in coastal Kamakura and Enoshima
When the weather starts to heat up—as it most certainly will during the Olympic season—one of the favorite places for Tokyo locals to visit is the Kamakura and Enoshima coastline. About an hour from Tokyo central, Kamakura is an historic town that was, during the late 12th century, the political capital of the country.
To avoid the crush of busy trains and for ease of transport, we recommend booking a tour to explore Kamakura. From ¥4,938, you can snag a package that will take you to the major sights. During the trip, you’ll pay a visit to the Great Buddha of Kamakura (Kamakura Daibutsu), ride the scenic electric railway along the coast, and watch a spectacular sunset over the island of Enoshima. Don’t forget your swimming costume!
5. Witness waterfalls and World Heritage sites in Nikko
Home to roaring waterfalls, exquisite temples and incredible food, Nikko in the south of Tochigi Prefecture is worth a trip even if you’re tight for time. While getting there by public transport can be time-consuming or expensive, a package tour, which starts from ¥9,800, will cover all the bases in one single, well-organized day.
The tour visits Kegon Falls, a 97-meter high waterfall that descends from Lake Chuzenji, where you’ll be able to stroll around, admiring the views. You’ll get a chance to pay your respects at Toshogu Shrine, a UNESCO World Heritage site, then be back in Shinjuku in time for a well-deserved dinner! More info.
Pro tip: Take your evening meal in Golden Gai.
6. Escape the heat and have a wholesome adventure in Gunma
The mountainous surrounds of Gunma Prefecture are the perfect oasis for those wanting some respite from the Tokyo 2021 summer heat (and crowds).
The beautifully rugged prefecture features stunning waterfalls, like Fukiware-no-taki, excellent food (it’s especially famous for its fruit), and quaint hot spring towns like Ikaho Onsen. From ¥11,980, you can book a great tour, which includes a visit to the falls, an all-you-can-eat crab buffet, all-you-can-eat farm fruit picking, a visit to Tambara Lavender Park (July-August) and return transport from Tokyo. More info.