Where are the top tourist spots near Tokyo? There are many bucket list-worthy tourist spots and attractions just around 1-2 hours outside Tokyo that are perfect for a day trip! Here we’ll introduce the TOP 10 tourist spots near Tokyo with historical architecture and the unique natural beauty of rolling mountains and gorgeous waterfalls.
First, we’ll start with Nikko, which houses an elaborate temple dedicated to Tokugawa’s first shogun, then Kawagoe which charmingly preserves old Tokyo. Plus, you can enjoy activities like skiing in Karuizawa, historical walks in Kamakura, Onsen hot springs in Hakone, and breathtaking displays of nature in Hitachi-naka. Finally, sightseeing aside, Yokohama, Makuhari, and Narita are prime dining and shopping opportunities.
Main image: PIXTA

1. Nikko: Toshogu Shrine, Beautiful World Heritage Site


Nikko, home to the world-renowned Nikko Toshogu Shrine, is located just north of Tokyo in Tochigi Prefecture. It is an area full of beautiful natural scenery that’s stunning in every season. It is only about 2 hours by train from Tokyo, and you can enjoy being surrounded by ancient monuments, temples, and the comforting blanket of fresh air and refreshing nature.
Access to Nikko
From Tokyo Station, take the JR Tohoku Shinkansen to Utsunomiya Station (about 120min.) At Utsunomiya Station change to the JR Nikko Line to Nikko Station (about 40 min.) To Toshogu Shrine, take a bus from Nikko Station (5-10 minutes, depending on the route), and walk 5 min.

Nikko Toshogu Shrine
Nikko Toshogu Shrine is named in honor of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first Shogun general in the Edo period. Its history goes back more than 400 years. In the Nikko Toshogu area, there are 55 national cultural treasures, including 8 national treasures and 34 important cultural properties. It is also registered as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It is definitely the first place not to be missed when visiting Nikko. An attraction you’ll remember forever.
There are 2 famous sculptures that you can’t miss among the many national treasures here. The most famous are the Three Wise Monkeys which are carved in the shapes of proverbial principles, “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.” Another popular draw is the lifelike Sleeping Cat sculpture, it is an unusual figure for traditional Japanese architecture. Visitors often muse if the cat is truly sleeping, or merely pretending in order to nab the sparrows depicted nearby!

Nikko Tosho-gu
2301, Sannai, Nikko-shi, Tochigi

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