The best summer activities near Tokyo
Tensodo cave, Izu
Credit: ROBERT JACK, Wikimedia
Isshiki Kaigan, Hayama
The coast of the Izu Peninsula, a favorite spot for Tokyoites for swimming and water activities.
What to do around Tokyo: summer escapes into nature!
Tokyo can be a difficult city to visit in summer. The temperature often exceeds 30°C and the humidity makes doing anything tiring. It's a great time to enjoy the diversity of landscapes and nature just outside the capital. Here are some ideas for getaways, whether you prefer sea or the mountains.
Sea: beaches near Tokyo
Here are three prefectures not far from Tokyo that are good to visit in summer due to their proximity to the sea. Whether you spend a day or several days, you can taste the joys of swimming. We have selected a range for each of them.
1 - Isshiki Kaigan
Kanagawa Prefecture is famous, among others, for its long coastline bordering Sagami Bay, the Shonan Coast. Close to Tokyo, this is where the busiest beaches, and therefore the most crowded, are around the capital. Enoshima, Chigasaki, Kamakura and Zushi are the most popular.
For more tranquility and charming landscapes, go to Hayama. With its two long arches, Isshiki Kaigan (kaigan means beach in Japanese) is one of the most beautiful in the region. It's overlooked by a public park where there are trees offering shade and where you'll have a beautiful view of the coast.
Access: To get to the Hayama coast, take bus 11 or 12 to Zushi Station.
2 - Ubara
Less famous and less crowded than the coast of Shonan, the beaches of Chiba prefecture, only about two hours from Tokyo, are also splendid.
Kujukuri beach is the second longest beach in Japan, but our favorite is Ubara, which has been selected as one of the 100 most beautiful beaches in Japan. The water is crystal clear and popular with surfers.
Access: 5 minutes walk from JR Ubara Station.
- Also read: Beaches in Japan
4 - Dogashima
The Izu peninsula, very popular with the Tokyo locals, is bordered by steep hills but also has very pretty sandy beaches.
We recommend Dogashima on the west coast of Izu, Shizuoka Prefecture. It's a pebble beach with clear waters where it's possible to go snorkeling.
But the major attraction is Tensodo cave, only a few hundred meters from the coast. It's a marine cave that can be visited by boat. An overhead opening allows rays of sunlight to penetrate inside the cave, thus illuminating the water which shifts in emerald and turquoise tones, giving the place a magical atmosphere. Boat tours are organized twice a day.
Access: Dogashima is a 90-minute bus ride from Shuzenji Station or a 1-hour bus ride from Izukyu-Shimoda Station.
Land: mountains near Tokyo
Many Japanese prefer to take refuge in the mountains rather than on the beaches. If you feel the same, here are some suggestions.
5 - Okutama
Less than two hours by train from Tokyo, Okutama is a natural paradise: rivers, waterfalls, and shady mountains await visitors in search of fresh air and discovery.
The ravine of Hatonosu, not far from the railway station of the same name (on the Ome line), is particularly spectacular and it's possible to swim in its deep waters.
A 5-minute walk from Okutama Station, Hikawa Valley offers hiking and river rafting. You can even go camping!
- Read more: Okutama
6 - Nikko
To combine mountain hikes and temple tours, Nikko, located north of Tokyo in Tochigi Prefecture, is the perfect place.
Over 70% of its land is part of the Nikko National Park and is home to rivers, waterfalls, a lake and mountains.
While it's not possible to swim in the lake, you can soak in the fresh waters of the rivers and walk in the shade of trees often more than a century old.
Access: Nikko is accessible with the JR pass: you have to take the Shinkansen at the Tokyo or Ueno station and change to Utsunomiya (allow ~ 2 to 2.5 hours). By train Tobu: direct from Asakusa (~ 1hour 50m).
7 - The Five Lakes Region
In summer, they offer a refreshing break from the city heat and a summer atmosphere. Water sports can be enjoyed in Yamanaka and Kawaguchi lakes while the warm waters of Motosu Lake attract swimmers.
Many hiking trails are a delight for walkers with the added bonus of many views of Mount Fuji. There are many campgrounds at the edge of the five lakes.
Access: The easiest way to get to the lakes is to take a bus from Keio or Fujikyu Line from Shinjuku to Kawaguchiko Station.
- See also: Excursions near Tokyo