Last-Minute Golden Week Travel Ideas

For the busy Tokyoite, the consecutive holidays that make up Golden Week are a much-awaited break. But things don’t always go as planned. Flights and accommodations tend to be more expensive during this period, and April tends to be extremely busy that there’s little room left for planning a trip.

If you’re one of those people who have yet to decide what to do for Golden Week, here are travel ideas within and around Tokyo with minimal planning required.


Quick Post Guide

  1. Travel within Tokyo
  2. Day Trips from Tokyo

Travel Within Tokyo

Jindaiji

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Around an hour away from central Tokyo, Chofu City is home to the handsome Jindaiji Temple. The area surrounding it puts visitors under a spell with its rustic charm. Check out shops with traditional Japanese wares and try handmade soba. Visit the nearby Jindaiji Botanical Gardens and take your time enjoying the flowers before ending your day with a rejuvenating dip at Yumori no Sato.

Todoroki Valley

Todoroki

For a cool escape from the summer heat, make your way to Setagaya Ward’s Todoroki Valley. Enjoy the sight of lush, green foliage as you walk along a towpath. Check out tomb tunnels that date back to the Kofun period and reward yourself with matcha ice cream as you reach Fudoson Temple.

Mt. Mitake

Rock Garden (ロックガーデン)

If you’re in the mood for a hike, Mt. Mitake is a good option for both novices and experienced hikers alike. If you only care for the fresh mountain air and the spectacular views from the top but not so much the physical workout, you can opt to ride the cable car instead. The moss-covered rock garden is especially refreshing.

Sweets Galore

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Tokyo doesn’t lack for cafes and one way to spend a series of days off is to satisfy your cravings. Check out Tokyo Past 3’s shaved ice recommendations from last year here.


Day Trips from Tokyo

Moomin Train (Chiba)

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Ride a cute yellow train that runs across Chiba’s green fields. Find Moomin-themed gift items and souvenirs, intriguing shrines and a retro park with phrased out train models. Don’t forget to try wild boar meat, too.

Mother Farm (Chiba)

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Arguably the most fun farm in Kanto, Mother Farm gives you the opportunity to get close to farm animals. Shows are held around the clock and attractions like horse-riding and cow milking are also available.

Tobu Treasure Garden (Gunma)

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Anyone who loves flowers will enjoy the flower fields at Tobu Treasure Garden. While blooming seasons vary, you can delight in the sight of nanohana (rape blossoms), nemophila (baby blue eyes), shibazakura (moss phlox) when you visit in late April or early May.

Mt. Tsukuba (Ibaraki)

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With twin peaks at 877 m and 871 m tall, Mt. Tsukuba offers a refreshing hiking experience for mountain lovers. Don’t forget to reward yourself with a karintō manjū after a laborious hike.

Tsukuba Wanwanland

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Surround yourself with cats and dogs at Tsukuba Wanwan Land. With over 500 animals, you won’t leave without making a new furry friend or two.

Kanagawa Day Trip with the Misaki Maguro Pass (Kanagawa)

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As of yet my most favorite one-day ticket, the Misaki Maguro Pass covers transportation, food and leisure activities for JPY 3,500. You get to explore areas along the Keikyu Line and eat good food, too. Check out this post for sample itineraries.

Kamakura & Enoshima (Kanagawa)

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Yet another way to spend a whole day exploring is using the Noriori-kun Pass. The one-day ticket lets you ride the retro Enoden tram for as many times as you want within the alloted time period, and you can check out Kamakura’s charming temples as well as Enoshima’s seaside views.

Saitama Day Trip with the SEIBU Pass (Saitama)

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Saitama may have an unwarranted reputation for being lame, but in truth, the prefecture is anything but boring. With the SEIBU Pass, you can explore different areas of Saitama for hikes or pleasant walks. Saitama has something to offer every season, so be sure to check out VELTRA’s convenient guide here. (No, I don’t get extra money for plugging this, but I did write most of what’s in there.)


Don’t waste your Golden Week away doing the same old things. I hope you try some of the suggestions above, and if you do, leave me a comment. I’d love to know how your trip was.

I’ll be off to Sapporo in a few days. See you in the next post!

 

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