As wonderful as Tokyo can be, sometimes it’s nice to escape the crowds and explore the less-charted areas nearby. These 10 spots are our favorite hidden gems!

Tokyo may be one of the primary reasons you pack your bags and head for Japan, but just beyond the Japanese capital there are plenty of hidden gems just waiting to be explored. And they're a great way to avoid crowds while staying close to Tokyo, too.
From the mountains of Okutama and depths of Saitama Prefecture to the quiet onsen getaways and the startlingly beautiful seaside towns of Kanagawa, here are 10 of the best ‘undertouristed’ destinations near Tokyo.

1. Kumagaya (Saitama)

Why Kumagaya?
Outside of Japan, Kumagaya is a little-known city, but it’s one of the major urban centers in Saitama Prefecture. It’s only an hour from Tokyo by train, and offers a nice mix of cultural activities to keep you occupied.
What can you do there?
In sporting circles Kumagaya is renowned as one of Japan’s rugby strongholds; the Kumagaya Rugby ground is home to table-topping club Panasonic Wild Knights, and is a fantastic place to watch a sport that captured the hearts of the nation in 2019.
The Menuma Shodenzan temple is a wonderful piece of spiritual architecture from the Azuchi-Momoyama Period. To go with its gold-trimmed roof is an intricate tapestry of carvings depicting scenes from history and folklore etched into its exterior walls.
And along Kumagaya’s Motoara River is one of Japan’s finest stretches of cherry blossoms. With over 700 individual trees, it resembles the famous sakura of Nakameguro but without the massive crowds.
How to get to Kumagaya
From Ueno Station in north Tokyo to Kumagaya Station is only 30 minutes on the Joetsu Shinkansen.

R&B Hotel Kumagaya Ekimae
Tsukuba 3-105, Kumagaya, Saitama
Kumagaya

2. Okutama (Tokyo)

Why Okutama?
Right on the western outskirts of Tokyo Prefecture, the mountainous Okutama region feels far from the tourist hordes of central Tokyo. Given that it’s located within the limits of the capital prefecture, it’s easily accessible via public transport from the city center, and can even work as a day trip if you don’t have time for an overnight.
What can you do there?
A haven for campers and trekkers, Okutama is home to various peaks from which you can catch epic sights of Mount Fuji, such as Mount Kawanoriyama and Mount Nokogiri. The highest of the lot however is Mount Kumotori, which poses a bit of a challenge at over 2,000m tall.
The Mitake hiking trail and Hatonosu Valley are great walking spots close to civilization, where you can marvel …

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