How to Get to Tokyo’s Suburbs via Tokyo Metro

We can never have too much of Tokyo, can we? Even when frequent Japan travelers get tired of the typical tourist spots in Tokyo, there’s always a day trip or two out of the city to explore the suburbs of Tokyo, allowing you to see Japan from another perspective.

Tokyo’s transportation system can be too complex and confusing for first-time travelers. Don’t waste too much time trying to figure out Japan’s railway system – KKday brings you five suburbs of Tokyo worth exploring!

1. Kawagoe

Kawagoe, more affectionately known as “Little Edo“, is located in the Saitama Prefecture — just 30 minutes away by train from central Tokyo, making it perfect for a suburban Japan day trip. The architecture in Kawagoe remains untouched, this quaint little town is exactly the same as it was centuries ago! Fun fact: everyone in town dons their kimonos or yukatas on Kawagoe Kimono Day, which falls on the 18th of every month.

How to get to Kawagoe from Tokyo:

  • Shinjuku to Kawagoe via Saikyō Line
  • Shibuya to Kawagoe via Tokyo Metro Fukutoshin Line

Kawagoe attractions to check out:
Kumano Shrine, Kawagoe Castle

2. Hakone

Hakone, although a suburb, is a popular sightseeing spot amongst both tourists and locals alike. Located barely an hour away from TokyoHakone is a mountainous area is known for its natural beauty, historical sites, views of Mount Fuji and onsen. Legend has it that you haven’t been to Hakone till you’ve gone to their onsen!

To get to Hakone from Tokyo:

  • Shinjuku Station to Hakone – Yumoto Station on Romancecars via Odakyu Line
  • Shinjuku Station to Odawara Station on express train or rapid express via Odakyu Line, then get to Hakone-Yumoto Station via Hakone Tozan Line

Hakone attractions to check out:
Lake Ashinoko, Mori Art Museum, Hakone Shrine, Fujiko·F·Fujio Museum (a must for Doraemon fans)Mt. Fuji & Hakone 1 Day Sightseeing

#3 Kawaguchiko

For an unobstructed view of Mt. Fuji, head to Kawaguchiko, the best place to view the highest mountain in Japan. Kawaguchiko is also the most accessible of the “Fuji Five Lakes“.

To get to Kawaguchiko from Tokyo:

  • Shinjuku Station to Otsuki Station on Kaiji train via JR East, then get to Kawaguchiko Station via Fujikyu Line
  • Shinjuku Station to Takao Station via Chūō Line (Rapid), get to Otsuki Station via JR Chuo Line, then get to Kawaguchikuo station via Fujikyu Line

Kawaguchiko attractions to check out:
Kawaguchiko Music Box Forest, Lake Kawaguchi, all-you-can-eat Japan seasonal food

#4 Nikko

Contrary to popular belief, Nikko is more than just temples and shrines. Located in Tochigi and nestled high in the mountains, Nikko is surrounded by natural scenery, making it a great escape away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Pssst… The best time to visit this UNESCO World Heritage Site is during autumn, right before the autumn leaves fall.

To get to Nikko from Tokyo:

  • Tokyo Station to Omiya Station and transfer to Utsunomiya Station via Shinkansen, then get to Nikko via JR Nikko Line
  • Shinjuku Station to Tobu-Nikko Station via JR Chuo Line

Nikko attractions to check out:
Nikko Sannai, Shinkyo Sacred Bridge, Lake Chuzenji, Ryuzu and Kegon Waterfall

You might need:
> Nikko Pass (Tobu Railway)

#5 Karuizawa


Photo credit: Flickr/bm.iphone
Merely ten minutes away from Tokyo on the Hokuriku Shinkansen, Karuizawa is a mountain resort on the east of Nagano well-loved destination of Japanese and tourists alike. Winter is usually the preferred season to visit Karuizawa for skiing and hot springs but there are plenty of activities all-year round as well, making Karuizawa an ideal short getaway regardless of the season.

To get to Karuizawa from Tokyo:

  • Shinjuku Station to Karuizawa Station via Hokuriku Shinkansen

Karuizawa attractions to check out:
Kumobaike, Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plaza, Shiraito Falls

Forget the typical “Top 10 Things to Do in Tokyo” guides. No more overhyped Shibuya Crossing or Meiji Shrine that’s populated with tourists — it’s time you head to the suburbs of Tokyo for an unconventional adventure most typical tourists won’t get to experience in Japan!

For more Japan travel guides:
>> 10 Must Buy Tidbits in Tokyo
>> 10 Must Eat Street Food in Japan
>> Exploring Kyoto’s Pokemon Center