Tokyo Day Trips
Without getting too much into the transit system in Tokyo (I’ll save that for another post), chances are that you’re close to the Odakyu line, especially if you’ve chosen to stay in Machida (read why you should). In all honesty you could easily spend a week or more in one small part of Tokyo and feel like you still missed a lot, however I would recommend taking a side trip via the Odakyu Line.
The Odakyu Line connects Shinjuku with areas like Hakone, Enoshima and Kamakura. They have the standard train and the Romancecar for options but I prefer the standard train when doing a short side trip (save that $ for something else!). The best part of the side trip offer via Odakyu is the set cost with the Freepass – it covers round trip to your chosen destination with unlimited on/off privileges. If you plan ahead a bit you can really see some great areas! Tokyo day trips are a great way to see more of Japan.
This one is a short trip and you can knock it out in just a few hours (I liked wandering around Setagaya after I went to the temple). You don’t even need a trip pass for this, just the standard fare to/from – it’s only two stops on the rapid express from Machida! Take the train to the Gōtokuji stop (tricky, I know) and it’s about a 15 minute walk from there.
After you see Gōtokuji Temple you can also check out the Setagaya Hachiman Shrine. It’s small but incredibly beautiful and peaceful. On your walk back there are several restaurants before the station to grab a bite. The Indian place on the corner was off the charts.
Kamakura & Enoshima Island
I would highly recommend this one! You’ll probably want the full day (I did!) and should leave a bit early…..just don’t be surprised by the morning commuter crowds on the train. I would go Freepass on this one for sure. Stop first thing at the Great Buddha of Kamakura. Pro tip: you can actually go inside the Buddha!
From there hop back on the train heading on to Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gū. On your walk to this incredible Shinto shrine you’ll pass through a cute market street with vendors selling everything from Totoro garden planters to honey bubble tea.
From Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gū head back on the train in the direction of Kamakura and get off at the Enoshima Island stop. Once you walk across the bridge you’ll arrive on Enoshima Island and begin the steep climb to the top. Walked out? You can buy a pass for the series of escalators going all the way to the top! Enoshima is an island dedicated to the goddess Benzaiten and is full of shops/restaurants at the bottom, followed by gorgeous shrines and statues with gardens galore. Enjoy the street cats (neko) as you work your way up to the Enoshima Sea Candle where you can see Mt. Fuji on a clear day. Just be wary of the hawks at the top of Enoshima Island – I watched one snatch a sandwich out of an elderly lady’s hand!
Before you leave the island don’t forget to check out the Iwaya caves. They’re a part of the legend of the island and are a great last stop.
There are plenty of additional sites to see on the Enoshima & Kamakura Freepass but if you’re pressed for time these three stops should be the top of your list! If you’re looking for resources to help plan your trip to Japan check out my guide Know Before You Go: Japan and my post on The Best Apps for Foreign Travel.
Have you done any Tokyo day trips, either via the Odakyu train or another method? I’d love to hear about it, especially if you did the Hakone day pass! I’m saving that one for my next trip.