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Short Trips Outside Tokyo's insider take:

As any resident will tell you, Tokyo is nothing like the rest of Japan, and since you're on the island, you really should take a train journey into the verdant hills and mountains just outside the metropolis. The beauty of the city's location is that within an hour on a train, you could be climbing 1,500-foot mountains, wending your way through the foliage in search of hidden Buddhist shrines, or eating noodles by the lush, ferny riverside on a breezy day. The two-hour trip to either Kyoto or Nikko is worth it. If not, there are closer destinations, such as the resort town of Hakone and the temple-clustered Kamakura each about an hour away. For those looking for Okinawa-like beaches without the long haul, the chain of Izu Islands running south of Tokyo offers up a tropical paradise reachable from the capital city in just 30 minutes.—Rebecca Willa Davis

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.