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Tokyo Day Trips: 10 Spots to Explore Just 1 to 2 Hours Away from Tokyo!

Mt. Fuji Forests & Mountains

Tokyo is dotted with fascinating sightseeing spots, from traditional temples to modern pop culture. Most of the major sightseeing areas such as Asakusa, Shinjuku, Ginza, and Akihabara are well-covered in every guidebook, but Japan’s charms are just as plentiful outside the city center. With a train ride of about one or two hours, you’ll find yourself in an entirely different Japan, far away from the hustle and bustle, and emerged in local, traditional culture! We’ve selected our 10 favorite Tokyo day trip destinations that offer lush natural scenery, rich history, and an authentic taste of Japan. Hop on the train!

What Souvenirs To Buy In Tokyo 2019: 18 Of The Best Gift Ideas, Recommended By Local Guides!

Tokyo Station Other Shopping

The tradition of gift giving is deeply ingrained in Japanese society, where wrapped presents are not reserved for birthdays and holidays but given after practically every vacation trip, weekend getaway and even day trips. The term Omiyage means a souvenir you give to someone (rather than keep for yourself) and you are bound to find at least one ‘Omiyage’ store at every train station, airport and probably street corner around Japan selling pre-wrapped local specialties (at times the packing is almost as good as what’s inside!). This means as far as the hunt for a great souvenir goes, you are spoilt for choice in Japan. (Don’t worry - the gift giving aspect of the omiyage expires once you leave the country and you can keep it all for yourself!) We asked 4 local tour guides for their personal recommendations on unique only-in-Japan souvenirs. Here’s what they shared!

Kurayami Gohan – Experiencing the Dinner in the Dark

Asakusa Culture Experience

It was time, the day had finally come: once more I stood in front of the modern building that was Ryokusen-ji. From the outside, you likely wouldn’t guess that a calm and atmospheric Buddhist temple awaited behind the big sliding doors – and a one of a kind experience along with it. I had waited several weeks to be a part of Kurayami Gohan, or the Dinner in the Dark, hosted by the temple’s head monk Kakuho Aoe, who also goes by the nickname of the Cooking Monk. I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing him before my actual Buddhist dinner experience, learning of the philosophy of the event and of the multitalented monk himself.

Asking People From 5 Different Countries: The Biggest Culture Shocks of Japan!

What’s normal in your country seems strange to the rest of the world – that is true for pretty much every place on the planet. Japan, of course, does have its fair share of quirks and peculiarities and the possibilities for a proper culture shock are basically endless! Japan is also rich in pop culture, which leads to many a traveler having the images of dramas, movies or anime in mind, only to find out that the reality is quite far from that. There are both good surprises and... well, not so good surprises! We asked five people from different countries to tell us what shocked or surprised them the most when they first came to Japan. Look forward to a colorful yet wonderfully relatable potpourri of answers!

Traveling to Japan For The First Time? Here’s What to Expect!

Tokyo Station Other Sightseeing

The amazing thing about Japan is its image: for all tourists there is the perception that Japan has a very deep, and old, culture while at the same time it is also known for its cutting edge technology. It is a highly developed nation, and its deep culture goes hand in hand with the pride that people in Japan have regarding their nation’s history and long-established cultural traditions. In particular, there is a noticeable pride in Japanese culinary arts which have been successfully exported around the world. It is quite easy to say that because of Japan’s technological accomplishments, and developed infrastructure, that many tourists see it as being almost like a Western nation, but Japan’s culture means that it has one foot in the past and one in the future, it truly has a unique footing spanning both worlds. For the first-time traveler to Japan, what can you expect in such a unique country? There are many expectations that you might have, such as that there are sushi restaurants and a lot of anime/manga fans, but what can you really expect in your daily interactions? You might have a picture in mind of Japan, but allow us to color it in for you with some pointers about Japan.

Choice Spots

  • Akihabara
  • Asakusa
  • Ginza
  • Harajuku
  • Ikebukuro
  • Roppongi
  • Shibuya
  • Shinjuku
  • Tokyo Station
  • Tsukiji
  • Ueno

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