Japan is full of spots to enjoy nature and leisure activities. In this article, we'll introduce four fun experiences found in outer Tokyo areas. Each of these spots is easily reached by train and make good day trips. Slip away from the crowds and Three Cs for a mentally and physically invigorating holiday.
* Please be aware that all train companies are currently exercising COVID-19 precautions such as opened windows and enforcement of mask-wearing.
* The operating hours and activities at each location are subject to change.
- Table of Contents
- 1. Meet Moomin and friends in the nature of Hanno
- Loved by kids and adults alike! Enter the world of Moomin at metsä, a leisure oasis just outside Tokyo
- Experience body-strengthening cuisine at a theme park for fermentation: "OH!!! Fermentation, wellness, and the magic of food"
- 2. Find sports, leisure, and soothing sights at Lake Chuzenji, part of Nikko City
- Experience more active forms of leisure with kayaks and SUP boards
- Relax among the beautiful nature of Lake Chuzenji
- 3. See, eat, and play! A stunning beach spot, Enoshima
- Embrace the tranquility of fish and jellyfish at Enoshima Aquarium
- Katase Nishihama Kugenuma Beach: a Blue Flag certified, safe place to swim
- 4. Enjoy nature walks without even leaving Tokyo! Mt. Takao, overflowing with greenery
- A mountain climb enjoyable for kids and adults alike
- Activities other than hiking! More than just a mountain
1. Meet Moomin and friends in the nature of Hanno
Hanno is Tokyo's underrated "closest mountain resort." It can be reached in just 40 minutes from Ikebukuro in Tokyo on the Seibu Railway’s limited express train, “Laview.” It's here you can visit MOOMINVALLEY PARK, surrounded by dense forests and lakes. You won't want to miss nature's seasonal expressions.
It's 40 minutes away from Ikebukuro. We recommend the MOOMINVALLEY PARK Ticket & Travel Pass for your trip to MOOMINVALLEY PARK.
Loved by kids and adults alike! Enter the world of Moomin at metsä, a leisure oasis just outside Tokyo
Metsä park consists of MOOMINVALLEY PARK, a theme park based on the world of Finnish character Moomin, and the metsä village shopping mall that features lifestyle goods from northern Europe.
Their attractions and character shows make the most of their expansive 23.6-hectare grounds and lake location, and will undoubtedly be a hit for adults and children alike! Here you can surround yourself in both the seasons of Japan, and the cutesy storybook style of northern Europe.
- Address 327-6 Miyazawa, Hanno City, Saitama Prefecture 〒357-0001
Experience body-strengthening cuisine at a theme park for fermentation: "OH!!! Fermentation, wellness, and the magic of food"
Hanno is also home to "OH!!!" - a unique theme park focused on fermentation! Fermented foods have long been considered good for the body, and show up in cuisines around the world.
"OH!!!" is run by the Pickles Corporation, a famed producer of pickled foods, and their pickling workshop (pick whatever you want to pickle!) is a popular experience. The theme park also has a restaurant and cafe where you can enjoy fermented foods, and a shop where you can purchase traditional tsukemono, Japan-style pickled vegetables, as souvenirs.
OH!!! Fermentation, wellness, and the magic of food!OH!!!～発酵、健康、食の魔法!!!～
- Address 1333 Hanno, Hanno City, Saitama Prefecture 〒357-0063
2. Find sports, leisure, and soothing sights at Lake Chuzenji, part of Nikko City
Lake Chuzenji in Nikko is Japan's highest altitude lake, beautiful in every season. It's a summer getaway that has hosted many visitors to Japan since around the turn of the 20th century.
Out at the vast nature of the lake, there are plenty of places to have fun away from the Three Cs. It's a two-hour trip from Tokyo to Nikko on the Tobu Railway, and an affordable one, thanks to their Nikko Discount Ticket.
Experience more active forms of leisure with kayaks and SUP boards
For those that want to enjoy more active leisure activities, we recommend kayaking on Lake Chuzenji. There are instructor-accompanied plans so even those with children can have fun kayaking and nature-watching out on the water. Alternatively, SUP boards are an increasingly popular choice, which put you even closer to nature! They're similarly available to families.
Relax among the beautiful nature of Lake Chuzenji
For a more relaxing way to spend your time, we recommend the British Embassy Villa Memorial Park and Italian Embassy Villa Memorial Park. From the spacious veranda on either story of the British Embassy Villa, the shores of Lake Chuzenji look straight out of a painting.
The villas neighbor each other, and from the Italian Embassy Villa Memorial Park, you can walk down to a pier where you can get close enough to touch the lake, and maybe even spot some fish.
3. See, eat, and play! A stunning beach spot, Enoshima
Enoshima can be reached via the Odakyu Line, a 70-minute trip from Shinjuku in Tokyo.
Enoshima is a small island off the Shonan coast in Kanagawa Prefecture and is one of the places in Japan where you can swim in the sea. Enoshima Island has establishments that can be enjoyed in any season: shrines, temples, and the Enoshima Sea Candle observation tower where you can enjoy gazing over the scenery in all directions, including Mt. Fuji. You can also find fashionable cafes, restaurants with local cuisine, an aquarium, and water sports.
Enoshima continues to be an enjoyable destination from evening to night, making a great all-day destination or follow up by visiting Kamakura.
Embrace the tranquility of fish and jellyfish at Enoshima Aquarium
Enoshima Aquarium is in a scenic location with views of both Mt. Fuji and Sagami Bay. Their jellyfish enclosure is particularly popular: a spherical tank that makes for a fantastical, calming sight.
Katase Nishihama Kugenuma Beach: a Blue Flag certified, safe place to swim
Perhaps Enoshima's main feature is Katase Nishihama Kugenuma Beach, a safe place to swim that earned Blue Flag (an international program for recognizing safe and environmentally friendly beachfronts) certification in April 2021.
In addition to marine sports and swimming, there are fashionable cafes and seafood restaurants within walking distance of the beach. The sunsets and silhouette of Mt. Fuji are extraordinary here, too. If you were ever to enjoy beaches near Tokyo, Enoshima's beach is a perfect choice.
This map allows you to check congestion in real-time online. "The aquarium's crowded right now, so let's go to Enoshima Sea Candle first"... Avoiding crowds will help you form more efficient plans.
4. Enjoy nature walks without even leaving Tokyo! Mt. Takao, overflowing with greenery
You can reach the station closest to Mt. Takao (Takaosanguchi Station) in a short 50 minutes from Shinjuku. As short a trip as that is, you could stay the night and get the full experience with Takaone Activity & Stay, a lodging facility that opened on July 17, 2021.
The natural environment around Mt. Takao is rich with over 1,600 forms of plant life, so there's no doubt that you'll be able to find a breath of fresh air among its dense greenery.
A mountain climb enjoyable for kids and adults alike
At an altitude of 599 meters, Mt. Takao's peak is an easy climb. You don't even have to climb the whole way if you use the cable car or lift that will take you up to the mountain's mid-section.
A useful choice for people bringing children along! Right next to the cable car's upper terminal is a souvenir shop and restaurant, "Takaosan Sumika," which was renovated just last Spring 2018 and includes a nursing room. The are multiple paths to the summit that will suit hikers both experienced and otherwise, and even a paved path accessible to people with baby strollers.
Activities other than hiking! More than just a mountain
There are plenty of activities to find around Mt. Takao. The cable car up the mountain is a thrilling ride up Japan's steepest ascent. Taking the two-seat lift down the mountain is a great way to enjoy the surrounding greenery.
Midway up the mountain, at Takao Monkey Park, you can feed around 80 Japanese macaques, and back near Takaosanguchi Station, you can enjoy a natural hot spring bath at Keio Takaosan Onsen Gokurakuyu.
These were some of the many appealing spots in the outskirts of Tokyo: theme parks, beautiful lakes, aquariums, and mountain climbing spots. If you're visiting Tokyo, why not enjoy a vacation in a vacation? Take a short trip out of the city center and avoid the Three Cs.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.
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