Use the

Planning a Trip to Japan?

Share your travel photos with us by hashtagging your images with #visitjapanjp

Explore the real wonders of Tokyo on foot, on a bicycle, or up in the mountains

Showa Kinen Park

For our upcoming December newsletter, we've decided to run a giveaway with writer Matthew Baxter, for his new guidebook Tokyo Outdoors! Make sure to sign up for the newsletter here, and answer the giveaway question when the newsletter is released on December 8.

Tokyo is often thought of as an expensive city to visit, but it deserves to be known as a wonderful destination for budget travellers. While many have heard of 100-yen shops and megastores such as  Don Quijote, another way to save money is to explore the capital and Kanto region on foot, on a bicycle or up in the mountains. Rather than spending money on lots of train tickets or passes, you can take your time and enjoy a more in-depth travel experience. Let’s take a look at some of the spots from the new Tokyo Outdoors guidebook that you could visit!

Walk from Ueno to Yanaka Ginza

Ueno Park

A perfect way to enjoy two quite different spots in east Tokyo, starting in the modern Ueno and ending up in the Yanaka neighbourhood. Along the way Ueno Park is a real treasure trove of tourist spots, featuring several museums, as well as various shrines and temples. Yanaka, on the other hand, is one of the few remaining old school shopping streets that is still to this day a bustling hive of activity. Be sure to start early if you want to give yourself enough time to enter every attraction, as well as queue up for any of the more popular animals at the zoo (this is the one with pandas!).

Suda Park

Cycle around Showa Kinen Park

Showa Kinen Park

Built to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the reign of Emperor Showa, Showa Kinen spans over 160 hectares, making it the largest park in Tokyo. With this size comes the fact that it houses unrivalled variations of flowers and trees, so don’t hold back visiting more than once, especially in different seasons. It’s not just for lovers of nature and flowers too, but also the perfect spot for a casual afternoon bicycle ride. Showa Kinen could be done on foot, but with the long distances involved and the ease of getting around on the dedicated cycle lanes, it’s highly recommended to rent a bicycle. 

Cherry blossoms in Showa Kinen Park

Hike Nikko’s mysterious Takinoo Path

The Takinoo Path in Nikko

Nikko, one of the most popular weekend trips from Tokyo, is home to a smorgasbord of World Heritage shrines and temples. Starting at the famous red Shinkyo Bridge, Nikko's Takinoo Path takes walkers up and around famous tourist sites like Toshogu Shrine and Futarasan Temple. Rather than just heading straight into these busy tourist spots though, the route goes into a pristine forest course that takes you to off-the-beaten-track shrines and temples. Many of these are also World Heritage sites, but as they require a bit of a hike they unfortunately get missed by most day-trippers from Tokyo.

The Nikko area is filled with beautiful and historic shrines and temples

Skip the always crowded Mount Takao and hike up to the ruins of Hachioji Castle

Hachioji Castle

Once one of the main castles in the Kanto region, Hachioji Castle was built by a powerful feudal lord by the name of Hojo Ujiteru during the Warring States period (mid-15th century to the start of the 17th century). Unfortunately for him, though, in 1590 it was overwhelmed and burned down by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a rival lord who was expanding rapidly across the country. As Hojo was also defending against a siege of nearby Odawara Castle, Hachioji Castle was left with a skeleton defence that was unable to cope.

Excavation began on the site in the 1980s and uncovered the remains of the stone staircase and other buildings connected to the castle. Much of the site has since been restored, and the castle gate was reconstructed. While certainly not an A-list tourist spot, the castle, surrounded by dense forests and with plenty of hiking trails, makes for a nice day trip, especially for history buffs.

Stairs at Hachioji Castle

About the Tokyo Outdoors travel guide

Most guidebooks focus on using the trains and subway to zip across Japan’s capital, but Tokyo Outdoors is a little different. On foot, by bicycle or hiking, this book not only takes you to the main tourist spots, but also countless off-the-beaten-track spots. Using custom designed routes, you’ll see a different Tokyo to other tourists.

Matthew Baxter is a travel author living in Tokyo, the heart of Japan. Having traveled across the country for several years, usually on a tight budget, he has built up an extensive knowledge of cheap travel in the Land of the Rising Sun. He now writes professionally for several websites and publications, such as the GaijinPot, Japan Visitor and All About Japan.

To find out more about the Tokyo Outdoors book and be inspired for your next trip to Tokyo, check out Matthew's website Super Cheap Japan!



Please Choose Your Language

Browse the JNTO site in one of multiple languages