Contrary to popular belief, Tokyo is not just about the glitzy skyscrapers. There are many tranquil destinations in the countryside that are all easily accessible by train from the city centre, and they are mostly about an hour to two’s journey.
Due to its relative far-flung locations, these places remain largely unknown that even many Japanese natives are unaware of their presence. While Tokyo is an amazing metropolis with endless dining and retail options, travellers in search for an alternative attraction—with the absence of crowds—can consider exploring the options in this guide.
From Noyamakita-Rokudoyama Park, South Inari Shrine to Ishikawa Brewery, here are 7 Countryside Destinations From Tokyo You Never Knew About.
#1 ENPUKIJI TEMPLE
The serene Enpukiji Temple is situated within a ten-minute stroll from Hakonegasaki Station, and it offers visitors an alternative quiet respite from the hectic urban life.
We were the only visitors there and truth to be told, the silence was almost deafening. The age-old place of worship is a photogenic site, so do bring your cameras along.
#2 FUSSA INSTITUTE
Fussa city’s Fukushoin Temple was erected in 1306 during the Muromachi period but the infrastructure has since then been restored to its grandeur of yesteryears; just check out its glorious golden sheen! You will also discover ancient stoneworks dated centuries old here.
#3 ISHIKAWA BREWERY
Ishikawa Brewery is Fussa’s most popular attraction and advance bookings are necessary should you wish to view the brewing process.
Do check out the brewery’s huge beer caldron – the relic interestingly survived the war due to negligence (to the extent where it got buried). Upon rediscovery, the caldron became a national heritage artefact and has since been an important relic.
The compound is home to a small historical museum and two restaurants too, namely Western restaurant Fussa no Birugoya and Japanese restaurant Zougura.
The museum, located above Zougura, exhibits historic artefacts and essential information about Ishikawa Brewery. You can expect to see beer recipes and labels.
Admission to the museum is free.
1 Kumagawa, Fussa, Tokyo 197-0003, Japan
#4 KUMAGAWA SHRINE
Kumagawa Shrine is the oldest wooden building in Fussa and has been designated as a tangible cultural asset of Tokyo. It was constructed in the Azuchi–Momoyama period and the residents here believe that the shrine is Kumagawa Village’s guardian.
Kumagawa Shrine can be reached within an eight-minute walk from JR Kumagawa Station. An antique market is held here on the second Sunday of each month.
197-0003 659, Kumagawa, Fussa-shi, Tokyo
#5 NOYAMAKITA-ROKUDOYAMA PARK
Opened in 1988, Noyamakita-Rokudoyama Park spans across 140 hectares, and is a massive park in Tokyo that is suitable for a leisure hike for nature lovers.
The lush forest has several vantage points boasting splendid views of Mizuho Town. Retreat into the woods and keep your eyes peeled as Noyamakita-Rokudoyama Park is home to countless flora and fauna.
Take your kids here for an interactive bonding session, where the family can experience rural Japanese activities such as rice cultivation.
Alternatively, head over to the Adventure Forest and enjoy spectacular bird’s eye view from above at the observation deck.
208-0032 Tokyo, Musashimurayama, Mitsugi, 4?2
#6 SAYAMA IKE PARK
Sayama Ike Park is a peaceful park frequented by the residents that reside nearby. The locals-only park is a stone’s throw away from Hakonegasaki Station and the beautiful Benzaiten Shrine positioned at the entrance will greet you upon arrival.
The Sayama Lake is surrounded by greenery, and is actually part of an irrigation reservoir.
#7 SOUTH INARI SHRINE
Embark on a 20-minute walk from JR Haijima Station and you will arrive at South Inari Shrine. Look closely and you will notice that a mini bridge has been built to avoid damaging the gigantic roots of the zelkova tree.
This post is brought to you by Tokyo Metropolitan Government as part of Tokyo Sightseeing Promoting Project. For more information, please visit tokyo reporter.