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20 Best Day Trips from Tokyo You Don't Want to Miss

Author
Kaoru Nozu
Mar 7, 2024
Day Trips from Tokyo

Tokyo, Japan's bustling capital, is a city that never sleeps. It's a metropolis filled with towering skyscrapers, neon lights, and a vibrant culture that seamlessly blends the traditional with the modern. However, even in the midst of its fast-paced urban life, Tokyo offers a gateway to some of the most serene and beautiful destinations in Japan.

Day trips from Tokyo have become increasingly popular among both locals and tourists, offering a chance to escape the city's hustle and bustle and explore the diverse landscapes, historical landmarks, and rich cultural heritage that lie just a short distance away.

From the iconic slopes of Mt. Fuji to the serene temples of Nikko, these excursions showcase the diverse beauty of Japan's landscape and the depth of its cultural heritage. Whether you are an adventure-seeker eager to hike Japan's highest peak, a history enthusiast intrigued by ancient architecture, or a nature lover drawn to the country's breathtaking floral parks, these day trips promise enriching experiences you won't want to miss.

Historical and Cultural Destinations

1. Nikko

Nikko, a quick day trip from Tokyo, is a destination packed with historical treasures and scenic beauty. Start your visit at the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Nikko Toshogu Shrine, an architectural marvel adorned with intricate carvings and gold leaf embellishments. The shrine is dedicated to Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate that ruled Japan for over 250 years.

Shinkyo Bridge
Shinkyo Bridge during autumn in Nikko, Tochigi, Japan

Don't miss the chance to explore the Nikko National Park, where nature and spirituality converge. The park features stunning landscapes, including the Kegon Falls, one of Japan's highest waterfalls, and Lake Chuzenji, a serene body of water formed by a volcanic eruption. Nikko's natural beauty perfectly complements its historic sites, making it a must-visit destination for any Tokyo day trip.

  • Distance from Tokyo: Approximately 125 km

  • How to Get There: Take the JR Tohoku Shinkansen (about 50 minutes) from Tokyo Station to Utsunomiya Station, then switch to the JR Nikko Line (about 40 minutes) to Nikko Station.

  • Key Highlights: Explore the Shinkyo Bridge and the Rinnoji Temple along with the famous Toshogu Shrine.

Featured tour
Nikko Toshogu Five Story Pagoda
Morning Walking Tour Around Historic Nikko Toshogu Shrine

Embark on a morning stroll through the historic Nikko Toshogu Shrine.

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2. Kamakura

Kamakura, often referred to as the "Kyoto of Eastern Japan," is another popular day trip from Tokyo. The city's most iconic landmark is the Great Buddha (Daibutsu), a bronze statue standing over 13 meters tall. It's one of the largest Buddha statues in Japan, nestled in the Kotoku-in Temple.

Hasedera Temple
Hasedera temple, The famous temple in the city of Kamakura, Japan

However, Kamakura is not just about the Great Buddha. The city is home to a multitude of temples and shrines, such as the Hase-dera Temple and the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine. The Hase-dera Temple offers stunning views of the town and the sea, while the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine is the spiritual heart of Kamakura, rich in history and culture. Stroll down Komachi Street for a vibrant shopping experience, where you can sample local cuisine and buy traditional souvenirs.

  • Distance from Tokyo: About 50 km

  • How to Get There: Take the direct JR Yokosuka Line from Tokyo Station to Kamakura Station (about 1 hour).

  • Key Highlights: Visit the Hasedera Temple and the Zeniarai Benzaiten Shrine, apart from the iconic Great Buddha.

Featured tour
Kamakura bamboo grove
Rolling Through Time: Rickshaw Ride in Ancient Kamakura

Dive into the heart of historic Kamakura with this rickshaw tour.

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3. Yokohama

Just a short train ride from Tokyo, Yokohama is a bustling city with a unique blend of Japanese and foreign cultures. Start your day trip at the Yokohama Landmark Tower's Sky Garden, offering panoramic views of the city.

Yokohama Sankeien garden
Yokohama Sankeien garden , a traditional and typical Japanese-style garden

For history enthusiasts, the Yokohama Archives of History provides insights into the city's past, while art lovers can enjoy a visit to the Yokohama Museum of Art. Don't forget to explore Yokohama's Chinatown, where you can savor an array of Chinese delicacies. Round off your day with a leisurely stroll along the harbor at Yamashita Park, soaking in the captivating waterfront views.

  • Distance from Tokyo: Roughly 30 km

  • How to Get There: Multiple train options including the JR Tokaido Line (about 30 minutes) from Tokyo Station to Yokohama Station.

  • Key Highlights: Explore the Minato Mirai district and the Sankeien Garden in addition to Chinatown.

Featured tour
Yokohama
Private Yokohama Day Trip From Tokyo

Embark on an exciting Private Yokohama Tour and set sail on the Sea Bass for a breathtaking harbor ride.

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Natural Escapes and Scenic Views

4. Hakone

Hakone, located in the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, is a popular destination for those seeking natural beauty and tranquility. Known for its hot springs, or onsen resorts, Hakone provides a rejuvenating escape from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo. The town also offers panoramic views of Mount Fuji, especially from Lake Ashi, which you can traverse by pirate ship.

Lake Ashi
Mountain Fuji and Lake Ashi with Hakone temple and sightseeing boat in autumn

In addition to its natural wonders, Hakone is home to the Hakone Open-Air Museum, where you can enjoy art in a stunning outdoor setting. For a unique experience, take the Hakone Ropeway to Owakudani, an active volcanic zone where you can try black eggs, a local specialty believed to add seven years to your life.

  • Distance from Tokyo: Around 80 km

  • How to Get There: Odakyu Romancecar (about 85 minutes) from Shinjuku Station to Hakone-Yumoto Station. Alternatively, take the Shinkansen (about 35 minutes) to Odawara Station, then switch to a local train or bus.

  • Key Highlights: Cruise on Lake Ashi and visit the Owakudani volcanic valley.

Featured tour
Hakone Ropeway
Epic 1-Day Adventure: Tokyo to Mt. Fuji and Hakone by Bus

Embark on a mesmerizing voyage from Tokyo to Mt. Fuji and Hakone.

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5. Mount Takao

Just an hour away from Tokyo, Mount Takao is a haven for nature lovers and hiking enthusiasts. The mountain offers several trails, catering to different fitness levels, and is especially popular during the autumn leaf season. The cable car and chair lift provide easier access to the mountain's summit, where you can enjoy breathtaking views of Tokyo and Mount Fuji on clear days.

Mount Takao
People trekking at Mount Takao (Takao San), Tokyo, Japan

At the base of the mountain, you'll find the Takao 599 Museum, an interactive nature museum that provides insights into the mountain's biodiversity. Don't miss the Takaosan Yakuoin Yukiji Temple, a Buddhist temple located on the mountain, where you can learn about yamabushi, practitioners of Shugendo, a form of mountain asceticism.

  • Distance from Tokyo: Approximately 50 km

  • How to Get There: Take a direct Keio Line train (about 50 minutes) from Shinjuku Station to Takaosanguchi Station.

  • Key Highlights: Explore the monkey park and enjoy the Takaosan Yakuoin Yukiji Temple at the summit.

6. Chichibu

Chichibu, located in the western part of Saitama Prefecture, is a charming city surrounded by mountains. It's a great spot for outdoor activities, such as hiking, rafting, and glamping. Chichibu is also known for its yearly festivals, including the Chichibu Night Festival, one of Japan's top three float festivals.

Shibazakura Chichibu Saitama
Shibazakura Chichibu Saitama

For nature lovers, Hitsujiyama Park is a must-visit, especially during spring when the hillside is covered with colorful moss phlox. History buffs will enjoy exploring the Chichibu Shrine, which features intricate carvings of animals and mythical creatures. Lastly, don't forget to try local specialties such as Chichibu nabe, a hearty hot pot dish perfect for the colder months.

  • Distance from Tokyo: About 100 km

  • How to Get There: Seibu Chichibu Line from Ikebukuro Station (about 1.5 hours) to Seibu-Chichibu Station.

  • Key Highlights: Don't miss the Shibazakura (moss phlox) hill in spring and the Nagatoro River for river boating.

Unique Japanese Experiences

7. Kawagoe

Kawagoe, also known as "Little Edo", offers a unique peek into Japan's past with its well-preserved traditional buildings and cobblestone streets. Start your exploration at Kurazukuri Street, where you can admire the old storehouses turned into shops and cafes. Don't miss the Toki no Kane bell tower, an iconic symbol of Kawagoe.

Toki no Kane
Toki no Kane bell tower, a symbol of Kawagoe

For a spiritual experience, visit the Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine, known for blessings related to love and marriage. The Kawagoe Festival Museum is another must-visit, dedicated to the massive Kawagoe Festival, which is celebrated annually. Finally, satisfy your sweet tooth at Kashiya Yokocho Candy Alley, where traditional sweets are made.

  • Distance from Tokyo: Roughly 30 km

  • How to Get There: Tobu Tojo Line (about 30 minutes) from Ikebukuro Station to Kawagoe Station. Alternatively, take the JR Saikyo/Kawagoe Line.

  • Key Highlights: Visit the Time Bell Tower and the Kawagoe Castle Honmaru Palace.

8. Enoshima

Enoshima, a small offshore island, is a perfect day trip from Tokyo. Reachable via the Katase Enoshima Station, the island offers a plethora of attractions. The Enoshima Shrine, a complex of three shrines dedicated to Benzaiten, the goddess of music and entertainment, is a popular spot.

Enoshima Sea Candle
Enoshima Sea Candle against clear sky

For nature lovers, the Samuel Cocking Garden offers beautiful flora and an observation deck with panoramic views. Don't forget to explore the Iwaya Caves, and enjoy a meal at one of the many seafood restaurants. For a unique experience, take a ride on the Enoshima Escar, a series of outdoor escalators that link the major attractions of the island.

  • Distance from Tokyo: Around 60 km

  • How to Get There: Take the Odakyu Line (about 1 hour) to Fujisawa Station, then transfer to the Enoden Line to Enoshima Station.

  • Key Highlights: Explore the Iwaya Caves and enjoy the Sea Candle observation tower.

9. Sawara

Sawara, often referred to as "Little Edo" like Kawagoe, is a historic city in Chiba Prefecture. A boat trip along the Ono River offers a charming view of the city's traditional merchant houses. The city is also home to the Katori Shrine, one of the oldest Shinto shrines in Japan.

Katori Jingu Shrine
Katori Jingu Shrine main hall in Katori City, Chiba, Japan

Sawara's other attractions include its well-preserved historic district and the Sawara-za Theater, where you can enjoy traditional kabuki performances. The city is also known for its grand festivals, particularly the Sawara Grand Festival, which features large floats and traditional music.

  • Distance from Tokyo: Approximately 100 km

  • How to Get There: Take the JR Sobu Line Rapid train (about 90 minutes) from Tokyo Station to Sawara Station.

  • Key Highlights: Visit the Katori Jingu Shrine and the historic streets of Sawara.

Featured tour
Riverside Sawara
Riverside Sawara Half Day, Edo Era Charm near Narita

Embark on an unforgettable half-day journey to the enchanting town of Sawara.

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Adventure and Outdoor Activities

10. Fuji Five Lakes

A round trip from Tokyo to the Fuji Five Lakes, less than an hour away by highway bus, offers a variety of outdoor activities and scenic beauty. Lake Kawaguchiko, the largest and easiest accessible of the five lakes, provides splendid views of Mount Fuji. You can explore the lake on a pirate ship cruise or visit the Oshino Hakkai, a set of eight ponds fed by snowmelt from the slopes of nearby Mount Fuji.

Lake Kawaguchiko
Landscape of Mount Fuji at Lake Kawaguchiko, one of Fuji Five Lakes Area, Fujikawaguchiko, Yamanashi, Japan

Don't miss the Chureito Pagoda located in Arakura Sengen Park, which offers one of the most breathtaking views of Mount Fuji, especially during cherry blossom season or when autumn colors are at their peak. If you're looking for fun things to do, consider a ride on the Kachi Kachi Ropeway or a visit to the Wind/Ice caves.

  • Distance from Tokyo: About 100 km

  • How to Get There: Fujikyu buses from Shinjuku Station (about 2 hours) directly to the Fuji Five Lakes area.

  • Key Highlights: Take a boat ride on Lake Kawaguchiko and visit the Kubota Itchiku Art Museum.

Featured tour
Mount Fuji View
Experience the Charm of Mount Fuji and Arakura Sengen Shrine: A Guided Tour

Visit the enchanting Lake Kawaguchiko with this tour.

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11. Nagatoro

Nagatoro, only a short walk from the Chichibu Railway's Nagatoro Station, is a popular day trip from Tokyo known for its beautiful scenery and outdoor activities. The town is famous for its river boating experience, where you can enjoy stunning views of the rocky cliffs and lush greenery that line the Arakawa River.

Nagatoro Valley
Fresh green Nagatoro Valley, Saitama, Japan

Besides the river adventure, Nagatoro also offers various hiking trails for those who want to immerse themselves in nature. Visit the Hodosan Shrine, located at the base of Mt. Hodo, and take a cable car ride up to the summit for a panoramic view of the town below. Don't forget to try the local specialty, waraji katsudon, a delicious dish made with a large breaded pork cutlet.

  • Distance from Tokyo: Roughly 100 km

  • How to Get There: Seibu Ikebukuro Line to Seibu-Chichibu Station (about 80 minutes), then transfer to the Chichibu Railway to Nagatoro Station (about 20 minutes).

  • Key Highlights: Enjoy the scenic Iwadatami rock formations and participate in traditional river kawadoko dining.

12. Kusatsu Onsen

A visit to Kusatsu Onsen, one of Japan's most famous hot spring towns, is a must for any Tokyo day trip itinerary. Located in Gunma Prefecture, it's known for its high-quality sulfuric waters that are believed to cure all sorts of ailments. The Yubatake, located in the town center, is the symbol of Kusatsu and one of the resort's main sources of hot spring water.

Kusatsu Onsen
Kusatsu Onsen Hotspring Yubatake Night View in Gunma Prefecture,Japan

Apart from bathing in the numerous public baths and ryokan, visitors can also enjoy the Yumomi performance, a traditional method of cooling down the hot spring water to bathing temperature without diluting it with cold water. Moreover, Kusatsu Onsen is a gateway to the Joshinetsu Kogen National Park, offering hiking opportunities during the warmer months and skiing in winter.

  • Distance from Tokyo: Around 200 km

  • How to Get There: Take the JR Limited Express Kusatsu (about 2.5 hours) from Ueno Station to Naganohara-Kusatsuguchi Station, then take a bus to Kusatsu Onsen (about 25 minutes).

  • Key Highlights: Experience the Sai-no-kawara open-air bath and visit the Yumomi performance.

Family-Friendly Destinations

13. DisneySea

Tokyo DisneySea, located just a short trip away from central Tokyo, is a unique amusement park featuring seven themed ports inspired by the myths, legends, and lore of the sea. This makes it a fantastic day trip destination for families. From the adventurous Indiana Jones ride in the Lost River Delta to the enchanting Mermaid Lagoon, there's something for everyone.

DisneySea
DisneySea

One of the highlights of Tokyo DisneySea is the Mediterranean Harbor, where you can enjoy a gondola ride or dine in one of the waterfront restaurants. The park's impressive nighttime show, Fantasmic!, is a must-see. Remember to check the schedule ahead of time as it offers unlimited rides, making your day trip from Tokyo an unforgettable experience.

  • Distance from Tokyo: Approximately 20 km

  • How to Get There: JR Keiyo Line/Musashino Line to Maihama Station (about 15 minutes), then transfer to the Disney Resort Line.

  • Key Highlights: Explore the unique themed ports like Mediterranean Harbor and Arabian Coast.

Featured tour
Disneyland
1-Day Disneyland/DisneySea Adventure with Morning Ride from Your Tokyo Hotel

Get to DisneySea hassle-free with this private transfer from your hotel.

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14. Yomiuriland

Yomiuriland, one of the biggest amusement parks in the Kanto region, is an excellent choice for a family day trip from Tokyo. The park boasts over 40 attractions, including thrilling roller coasters, a water park (open during the summer season), and the popular Ferris wheel offering amazing panoramic views of Tokyo.

Yomiuri Land
Illumination at Yomiuri Land, Japan

During the cherry blossom season, Yomiuriland becomes a popular spot for Hanami (cherry blossom viewing) with over a thousand cherry trees in bloom. In winter, the park transforms into a magical wonderland with its famous Jewellumination, a spectacular light show designed by a leading Japanese lighting designer.

  • Distance from Tokyo: About 25 km

  • How to Get There: Take the Keio Line from Shinjuku Station to Keio-Yomiuriland Station (about 30 minutes), then take the Gondola lift to the park.

  • Key Highlights: Enjoy the thrilling roller coasters and the seasonal illumination events.

15. Mother Farm

Mother Farm, located in Chiba Prefecture, is a great day trip option for families with young children. The farm offers interactive experiences like milking cows, feeding animals, and strawberry picking. Kids will love the petting zoo, where they can meet and feed a variety of animals including sheep, rabbits, and guinea pigs.

Mother farm in Chiba
Mother farm in Chiba, Japan

The farm also features fun attractions like the Sheepdog Show, where you can watch dogs skillfully herd sheep, and a horse-riding experience. Don't miss the chance to try their farm-fresh ice cream and cheese, made with milk from their own cows.

  • Distance from Tokyo: Roughly 80 km

  • How to Get There: Direct buses from Tokyo Station (about 2 hours).

  • Key Highlights: Participate in strawberry picking and interact with farm animals.

Food and Culinary Excursions

16. Shimoda

Shimoda, located on the Izu Peninsula, is a fantastic day trip destination from Tokyo. Known for its rugged cliffs and scenic beauty, Shimoda offers more than just picturesque views. It's also a culinary hotspot. The city offers a variety of local specialties that you mustn't miss. One of them is 'Shirasu', tiny white bait fish often served over a bowl of rice or used as a topping for pasta.

Shirahama Oohama
Beautiful "Shirahama Oohama" beach in summer

Additionally, Shimoda's location by the sea means it's a great place for fresh seafood. Don't miss out on trying the local sushi and sashimi here. For those interested in history, take a walk along the picturesque Perry Street and visit Ryosenji Temple to add a cultural touch to your food adventure.

  • Distance from Tokyo: Around 200 km

  • How to Get There: Limited Express Odoriko train from Tokyo Station (about 2.5 hours).

  • Key Highlights: Visit Perry Road and the beautiful Shirahama Beach.

17. Utsunomiya

Utsunomiya, a bullet train ride away from Tokyo, is the perfect destination for food lovers. This city is most famous for its gyoza – Japanese pan-fried dumplings. There are numerous gyoza restaurants around the city, each with its own unique recipes and flavors. Some even offer gyoza with unconventional fillings like cheese or curry.

Utsunomiya Castle Ruins
The Utsunomiya Castle Ruins in Utsunomiya

Apart from gyoza, Utsunomiya is also known for Oya stone, a unique stone used in construction. You can visit the Oya Stone Museum and explore the underground mine, then finish your day with a delicious gyoza meal. The combination of food and culture makes Utsunomiya an excellent day trip option.

  • Distance from Tokyo: Approximately 100 km

  • How to Get There: JR Tohoku Shinkansen (about 50 minutes) from Tokyo Station.

  • Gastronomic Exploration: Enjoy the city's famous gyoza and visit the Oya Stone Museum.

18. Koshu

Koshu, located in the Yamanashi Prefecture, is another great day trip destination from Tokyo. This area is renowned for its wine production, particularly the Koshu grape variety which is indigenous to Japan. Visiting local vineyards and wine tasting are popular activities here.

Japan's original wine grape Koshu in Yamanashi
Japan's original wine grape Koshu in Yamanashi

Food enthusiasts will also love exploring the local cuisine in Koshu. The area is known for 'houtou', a hearty noodle soup dish that's perfect for the colder months. Also, don't miss out on trying delicious fresh fruits like peaches and grapes, which are grown locally.

  • Distance from Tokyo: About 120 km

  • How to Get There: JR Chuo Line Limited Express from Shinjuku Station to Enzan Station (about 90 minutes), then a short taxi ride.

  • Vineyard Adventures: Explore the local wineries and the Katsunuma grape region.

Off the Beaten Path

19. Okutama

Okutama, located a stone's throw away from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo, is a paradise for nature lovers. Known as Tokyo's backyard, Okutama offers a plethora of hiking trails for those seeking an escape into the wilderness. The Mt. Mitake hike is one of the most popular day trips that leads you to a serene Shinto shrine at the summit.

Okutama Mukashi Michi Hike
Hiking trail on Okutama Mukashi Michi Hike, Ishikawa prefecture, Tokyo, Japan

The town also houses the stunning Okutama Lake, which you can explore on a pirate ship cruise. Adventure seekers can indulge in activities like rafting and canoeing in the Tama River. After a day full of activities, relax in a traditional Japanese inn and soak up the local culture. Okutama is a year-round destination, but the autumn colors and spring cherry blossoms make it extra special.

  • Distance from Tokyo: Roughly 80 km

  • How to Get There: JR Ome Line from Tachikawa to Okutama Station (about 2 hours).

  • Nature Exploration: Hike the Okutama Mukashi Michi trail and visit the Nippara Limestone Caves.

20. Boso Peninsula

Just a mere two hours away from Tokyo Station by highway bus lies the Boso Peninsula, a haven of natural beauty and cultural history. Boso Peninsula is known for its beautiful beaches, hot spring towns, and traditional temples, making it a great off-the-beaten-path day trip.

Nojimazaki Lighthouse in the evening
Nojimazaki Lighthouse in the evening

The peninsula is home to Kamogawa Sea World, a marine theme park where you can interact with various sea creatures. Don't forget to visit the quaint town of Tateyama and the Nojimazaki Lighthouse, the southernmost point of the peninsula. The area is also famous for delicious local seafood, so be sure to stop at one of the many restaurants for a meal. Boso Peninsula is a perfect destination for a weekend trip, offering a refreshing break from the big city life.

  • Distance from Tokyo: Around 80 km

  • How to Get There: JR Sobu Line Rapid or JR Uchibo Line to Tateyama or Chikura Stations (about 2 hours).

  • Rural Discovery: Explore the Tateyama Castle and the Nojimazaki Lighthouse.

Wrapping Up the Tokyo Escapades

Exploring 20 excellent day trips from Tokyo, we've seen that the city's surroundings are brimming with opportunities for adventure. From historical landmarks and natural wonders to culinary hotspots, each trip offers a different facet of Japanese culture and scenery. These escapades are more than just an extension of your Tokyo visit; they're a chance to immerse in the diverse charm Japan has to offer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I go for 1 hour from Tokyo?

Several exciting destinations are within an hour's journey from Tokyo. Yokohama, known for its beautiful waterfront and the lively Chinatown, is a popular choice. Another option is Kamakura, where you can walk through Japan's ancient history. You can also consider visiting cities like Tokorozawa and Zama.

Can you do a day trip to Kyoto from Tokyo?

While it is technically possible to do a day trip from Tokyo to Kyoto thanks to the Shinkansen bullet train, it isn't highly recommended. The journey one-way takes about 2-3 hours, meaning you'll spend 4-6 hours of your day on travel alone. It's best to plan at least an overnight stay to fully enjoy what Kyoto has to offer.

Is Osaka a day trip from Tokyo?

Osaka is about a 2.5 to 3-hour Shinkansen ride from Tokyo. While it is possible to visit Osaka as a day trip from Tokyo, it would be a long day with considerable time spent on travel. Similar to Kyoto, if you'd like to experience Osaka's rich culture and delicious street food, it's recommended to plan for an overnight stay.

Is 1 day enough for Hakone?

One day is usually sufficient to explore the main attractions in Hakone such as Lake Ashi, the ropeways, and Owakudani. However, if you wish to take a leisurely pace and fully enjoy the scenic beauty, the hot springs, and the local cuisine, staying overnight would be a better option.

How long is the bullet train from Tokyo to Hakone?

The bullet train (Shinkansen) from Tokyo to Odawara, the nearest station to Hakone, takes approximately 35-40 minutes. From Odawara, you can take a bus or a local train to reach Hakone, which is about another 15-40 minutes depending on your specific destination within Hakone.