The 3,776 m high Mount Fuji is the highest mountain in the country and the symbol of Japan. On clear days you can even see the volcanic cone from Tokyo. The volcano Fuji-san broke out for the last time in 1776. If you want to climb the Fuji, you can get there by bus until the tree line, you should plan at least one overnight stay. For the ascent you will need about 4-6 hours, depending on your fitness. The descent is much faster. The ascent of the Fuji summit is easiest between July and August, then the mountain huts are open and the transport to Mount Fuji is easily possible through a wide range transport options. In the other months, only experienced climbers should venture the ascent, as one has to fight with ice and snow.
How to get to Mount Fuji?
From Tokyo (west side Shinjuku Station) buses from Fujikyu and Keio go directly to Mount Fuji. From Shinjuku station trains run to cities close to Mount Fuji. The Chuo Line goes to Otsuki, where you change to the Fujikyu Line, which goes to Kawaguchiko.
About 35 kilometers north of Tokyo lies the suburb Kawagoe. The 350,000-inhabitant town is also called "Little Edo" because it has preserved entire streets with historic buildings from the 19th century. Edo is the old name of Tokyo and the houses of Kawagoe look like Tokyo was still a city of wooden houses. Old Edo disappeared in 1923 when the great earthquake destroyed the city. Kawagoe is famous for its Kura houses, dark wood storage and commercial buildings with thick mud walls. Kawagoe then served as the military and supply post of Edo. Today Kawagoe is a popular weekend destination of Tokyo. The landmark of Kawagoe is the bell tower Toki no Kane on Kanetsuki Dori. Another attraction is the Kawagoe Castle, built in 1457, and close to the City Museum. Hon-Kawagoe Station can be reached by train in about 30 minutes from Tokyo-Ikebukuro. The historic center of Kawagoe is about 1 kilometer to the north of the train station.
About 30 km south of Tokyo is the coastal town of Kamakura. Kamakura is famous for the Great Buddha. The 13.5 m high bronze statue of the Daibutsu was erected in 1252 in the Kotoku-in temple. Between 1192 and 1333 Kamakura was the political and military center of Japan, but the capital remained Kyoto with the residence of the emperor. In addition to the Great Buddha, there are many beautiful temples in the wooded mountains around Kamakura. Kamakura's most famous temples include the Engakuji with a tooth of Buddha, the divorce temple Tokeiji, where women could live as nuns when they separated from their husbands, the hydrangea temple Meigetsu (Ajisai Temple), the Kenchoji built in the style the chinese Song Dynasty, the city's main sanctuary Hachimangu Shrine, the largest Kannon statue in wood can be found at the Hase-Kannon Temple, Zuisenji has a beautiful Zen Garden and the Hokokuji a bamboo forest. Kamakura has around 180,000 inhabitants and can be explored on foot.
How to get from Tokyo to Kamakura?
The Yokosuka Line goes from Tokyo Central Station to Kamakura in about an hour.
A Japanese proverb reads, "Never say magnificently before you've seen Nikko." The temple complex in Nikko was built in 1634 by Iemitsu Tokugawa as a tomb for his grandfather Ieyasu Tokugawa. Ieyasu was the founder of the Tokugawa dynasty uniting Japan. He wanted to be buried in Nikko (Sunlight) as Tosho-Daigongen (Great Rebirth of Buddha Lighting the East). His grandson Iemitsu fulfilled his wish. Iemitsu went down in history as a the rouler who started Japan's isolation policy and for 200 years the contact with foreign countries was interrupted. 15,000 craftsmen from all over Japan came to Nikko to build these temples. The wood carvings painted in color or decorated with gold leaf are striking. The best known motif are the three wise monkeys who hold their mouths, ears and eyes. They do not want to say, hear or see anything bad. (Tosho-gu shrine)
Nikko's attractions include the red Shinkyo Bridge over the Daiya River, Tosho-gu Shrine with Ieyasu Tokugawa's Ashes in a Treasure Tower, and Taiyuin-byo Shrine, the Mausoleum of Iemitsu Tokugawa.
How to get from Tokyo to Nikko?
You can take the Shinkansen to Utsunomiya and change here to the Nikko-Line. At the Asakusa station in Tokyo there is a fast train called SPACIA operated by the Tobu-Line to Nikko, which takes about 2 hours.