Two hours via car or train from central Tokyo, you can experience a great Day Trip to Western Kanagawa & Shizuoka Kawagawa-ken outdoor day trip from central Tokyo. About five hours of driving out, between sites and back but great fun for the family. Kids will sleep all the way home. If you do not own a car, we recommend renting a car for the day since you will need a car to get to and into some of these places. If your kids want to ride the Shinkansen, take a 30 min ride from Tokyo to Odawara and then rent a car from Odawara station.
You probably can not accomplish all of the locations below, but you should be able to manage 2-3 attractions depending on the travel and eating pace of your family!
Great outdoor day trips from Tokyo to Odawara, Kanagawa-ken, Hakone and parts of Shizuoka.
Odawara Castle (Samurai Museum and Ninja Museum), Kanagawa-ken
Start your day early and head out by 8:00 to get to Odawara Castle by 9:30 (90 min drive with no traffic). Plan at least two hours here if you are viewing the castle and two museums with kids.
Odawara is the 7th tallest Japanese Castle and has been reconstructed and remodeled to provide a great historical experience. The Castle was destroyed in the Meiji period but reconstructed in the 1960s. Read more about the Castle on Wikipedia. The inside of the Castle is very well laid out and has great exhibits on salvage pottery from the original excavation, and also photographs form the 1800s and 1900s showing how space was used.
Within the park, you can also visit the Samurai Museum, which has a small exhibit of armor, but a great video of 3D lights showing the spirit of the Samurai (no Japanese language skills needed to enjoy). You can also dress up as a Ninja, Samurai, or in Kimono for under 500 yen (ask in the Samurai Museum store). Down the hill, but still, within the castle park, you can also visit the Ninja Museum with is a fun playground/ninja training area with a quiz (Japanese needed to understand the game), but still fun to play and find the hidden spaces. I was impressed visiting Odawara Castle and the fun museums for 800 yen. We will be coming again.
You can also see Odawara Castle real-time by viewing the Odawara Castle Live Camera Feed.
Address: Odawara Castle Park, Jonai, Odawara, Kanagawa 250-0014 (google map)
Hours: Everyday 9:00 -17:00
Admission: Castle only adults (HS and over) 510 yen, ES and JH students 200 yen, Castle and two museums adults 800 yen and ES and JH students 500 yen
Hakone Open-Air Musuem
About 10 km outside of Odawara City is the Hakone Open-Air Museum. The museum is fabulous and with kids you can spend 1-2 hours two enjoying the hundreds of sculptures as well as trees and flowers.
Address: 1121 Ninotaira, Hakone, Ashigarashimo District, Kanagawa 250-0407 (google map)
Hours: Everyday 9:00 -17:00
Admission: Adults 1,800 yen, HS and College students 1,500 yen and JH & ES students 1,200 yen
Fujii Safari Park – Fuji Safari Park is a lovely place to see and experience animals from around the world living freely. Fuji Safari Park offers visitors 4 options to experience their safari park 1) Self-drive option where visitors can progress through the park in their own car at their own pace, 2) Jungle Bus where you can see wild animals up close and feed them through the wire-netted windows of the bus for 1,300 yen/pp, 3) Super Jungle Bus where the tops and sides of the bus are netted so visitors can see animals from below for 2,000 yen/pp (Note children under elementary age are unable to ride), and the 4) Safari Navigation Car where you can take one of the Fuji Safari Park ranger’s 4WD vehicles and enjoy off-road driving and feed some animals for 5,000 yen/pp (5 people / 7 people Max). Note you must have a valid Japanese/international license and understand Japanese in order drive the vehicle.
You can also add a visit to the following two locations a few mins away from the Fuji African Safari.
Fuji Safari Park Details
Address: 2255-27 Aza Fujiwara, Susono-shi, Shizuoka
Hours: 9:00 to 16:30 (Mar.11 – Oct.31); 10:00 to 15:30 (Nov.1 – Mar.10)
Fees: Adults (high school students and older) 2,700 yen *entrance covers entrance and self-drive through the jungle park.
Children (ages 4 to junior high school students) 1,500 yen
Senior discount (ages 65 and older) 2,000 yen
Access: From central Tokyo take the Tomei expressway to the Susono exit. Fuji Park is 15 min by car from the exit; From Gotemba Station take the Fujikyu Bus to Fuji Safari Park 35 mins
Parcabout was developed in France and opened in Japan in mid-2017. Your kids will love climbing up the bouncing ramp and reaching full running stride up in the branches of the trees. My teens chilled out in one area (best floating nap they ever had), while my two younger ones had me bouncing and running two hours straight. Very fun way to connect with nature! Beautiful any time of year, but during the autumn, it will be perfect foliage.
Address: 1544 Hiromachi, Minamiashigara-shi, Kanagawa-ken (google map)
Phone number: 0465-46-8879
Cost: 7 and up is 2,500 JPY, 3-6 is 700 yen, 2 and under is free
Access: 1.5-hour drive from downtown Tokyo. You can also take the train from Shinjuku (romance car) to Shin Matsuda station and take the local train but it is about a 2.5-hour trip one way.
Gotemba Premium Outlet (approximately 95km from Shibuya Station – about 1.5 hours driving or 2.5 hours on train) – Gotemba was the first and still is the largest Premium Outlet in the Kanto area. Although a lot farther than the other outlets it has all the best brands Japanese and Western, a playground, planty of parking and a great food court. The bonus is you can also see Mt Fuji while shopping on a clear day. There are daily buses from Shinagawa, Tokyo, Ikebukuro and Shinjuku stations in the a.m. to Gotemba Premium outlet, returning in the early evening for a few thousand yen. Easier trip when you are not driving. Bus transport options.
Here are our favorite Tokyo Area Outlet shopping centers.
Address: 1312 Fukasawa, Gotemba-Shi, Shizuoka-ken
Business Hours: 10:00 – 20:00
Access: recommended to drive or take a bus Bus transport options.
Take a great outdoor day trip from Tokyo to Kanagawa-ken
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
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