8 Best Natural Getaways in Tokyo

While walking through a forest, you can hear all kinds of delicate sounds, but there is a calming silence underneath them.

Sometimes you may listen to your own heartbeat louder than the other sounds.

That’s the charm of nature, where you can breathe fresh air and make your nerves calm.

So, is there such a kind of natural escape in Tokyo?

As this is Japan’s capital city, many think that it is harder to find a peaceful place in this bustling area.

Well, the truth is, there are several hidden natural spots in Tokyo, which will give a tranquil feeling.

Here, I am gonna introduce you to some of these places that include forests, mountains, hiking trails, lush valleys, and other natural places in Tokyo.

Let’s get into the main segment.

8 Best Natural Attractions & Forests in Tokyo

Being one of the best cities to roam around in Japan, Tokyo is equipped with many gardens, parks, shrines, mountain trails, and a sacred forest.

Whenever you come to this beautiful country, I will suggest you visit as many places as you can.

And, while staying in Tokyo, try to drop by the places that I am going to mention now.

Okay, here comes my first natural hideaway.

1. Meiji Jingu: A Spiritual Forest

Breath a sigh of relief!!

Yes, Meiji Jingu is a sacred forest surrounding a large Shinto shrine, where you should go to escape from the busy streets of Tokyo.

It is located beside the busy Harajuku Station and beyond the Yoyogi Park.

After entering this forest through the huge torii gate, you will find over 230 distinct varieties of trees.

Meiji Jingu torii gate

Although this place seems natural, there is a twist!!

Well, it is actually a man-made forest, and the trees are planted by 110,000 volunteers in honor of Empress Shokan and Emperor Meiji.

The forest covers an area of 70 hectares, and the trees it consists of were donated from all over Japan.

Each tree was selected based on how it would look after 100 years. Still, they ensured that the forest looked natural when it was made in 1920.

Since this forest is considered a holy place, there have been no human interferences as long as it was created.

Meiji forest

Nothing is taken away or added here, and when the trees fall over, they are left to return to the soil.

Many new species, including insects and rare birds, have made their home here.

So, when you walk through the forest, there will always be something new to discover.

Aerial view of Meiji forest with meiji shrine

In each season, it looks breathtaking, so you will be blessed with the ethereal beauty of nature whenever you come.

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I will say it will be a perfect place to visit when you want to take a break from the desecrated world in search of peace.

2. Okutama: A lush Natural Paradise

About 90 minutes away from Shinjuku, Okutama is a beautiful town situated in the western portion of Tokyo prefecture.

This place is a part of Chichibu Tama Kai National Park, where you have plenty of things to do, including trekking or swimming.

If you are adventurous, I will suggest you start the day by hiking Mt Mitake.

And after that, how about trying something crazy?

Yes, water sports like canyoning or rafting on the Tama River can give you a thrilling experience.

Raftling on river

Well, even if you are a newcomer, you don’t need to worry about safety.

The staff will explain everything from paddling style to protection procedures.

After conquering the rapid currents with your team, you will feel extra brave at the end.

Lake okutama

Anyway, if you are not into such kinds of craziness, you can wander around the picturesque green town and soak yourself in an outdoor onsen while watching the sunset.

In short, Okutama is such a place where you will want to come back to find the true rhythm of life.

3. Institute for Nature Study: An Ancient Forest in Central Tokyo

Situated in the Shirokanedai of Minato, Institute for Nature Study is a scientific area established in 1949.

This 20-hectare reserve has three diverse botanical gardens that have a wild look.

This institute aims to preserve as much as the natural sight of Tokyo so that the city’s people can have a place to relax.

Institute for nature study

Here, you will find watercolor-like grasslands of the Musashino Plain along with tree-lined trails.

The color of the leaves turns into fiery shades of orange and red during autumn, which creates a picture-perfect scene.

Although it is mainly used for research, Nature Study is open for everyone interested in spending a quiet time.

Mapple leave

Note that entry is limited to a few hundred people at a time so that travelers can enjoy the forest hills and turtle-filled ponds in serenity.

You will notice a one-room museum at the entrance, where a map is displayed to show how the greenery has decreased in Tokyo since 1677.

This site is open for visitors from 9 AM to 5 PM (September-April until 4.30 PM) and remains closed on Monday. And the admission fee is around $3.

4. Todoroki Valley: A Secret Escape

If you don’t have enough time to wander around western Tokyo, you may head to Todoroki Valley, which is near the Futaki-Tamagawa shopping center.

It’s a secret escape from the town that many travelers don’t know about.

With bamboo trees, shrines, and the sounds of a river, Todoroki Valley is such a natural spot in Japan that will wash away all your worries.

Todoroki Valley

Several attractive sites can be found in the valley, such as walking trails, a couple of bridges, tunnel tombs, and viewpoints of geological rock strata.

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You can roam along the jungle-like path and sometimes relax under the trees to feel the cool breeze.

At the end of the 1 km route, the grand Todoroki Fudoson Temple is a great place to drop by after a 20 to 30 minutes walk.

Even though this place is never too crowded, it is also rarely desolate because this area is popular among the students of Tokyo City University and casual office workers.

Todoroki valley park

But, if you choose to come early on a midweek afternoon, there is a high chance that you will see fewer people.

5. Suzume no Oyado Ryokuchi Park: A Bamboo Grove in Tokyo

If your travel destination is only limited to the capital city, you can’t visit Arashiyama Bamboo Forest in Kyoto.

However, what if I say you have an alternative option!!

Yes, visiting Suzume no Oyado Ryokuchi Park will be a perfect deal instead of Kyoto’s bamboo forest.

The best thing is, it’s only 20 minutes away from Shibuya Station by bus or train.

This forest was created over 200 years ago during the Edo period and is filled with bamboo trees and benches, where you can cherish the murmur of leaves and cooler weather.

Bamboo park in Tokyo

Are you worried about the mass crowd?

Well, don’t worry, unlike Tokyo’s other busy parks, Suzume no Oyado Ryokuchi Park rarely gets packed with people. Therefore you can spend a couple of tranquil hours either reading a book or hanging out with friends.

It will be better if you bring bug spray with you to shoo away all the tiny insects!!

In the northeast corner of this park, there is a traditional Japanese house that has been preserved to its original condition, which you may consider paying a visit.

6. Mount Takao: Suitable Place for Hiking

While searching for pure nature in Tokyo, Mt Takao is a fantastic place to look for.

It’s also convenient to reach there via the Chuo or Keio lines from Shinjuku Station in about an hour.

At the base of the mountain, the Tama Forest Science Garden is located.

Mount Takao view

There are ten hiking trails available to conquer the hill, which will take approximately 30 to 90 minutes according to difficulty range.

Most of the visitors use the number one track as it is broad, mostly paved, and equipped with major sites.

If you choose to use this trail, it will take about 90 minutes to reach the top of Mount Takao.

However, you can cut the time by half by utilizing the chair lift or the cable car that leads halfway up the hill.

Chair lift up Mount Takao

Meanwhile, the other trails are narrower, unpaved, and have less traffic.

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So, if you want to evade the potential crowd, you may choose the other tracks.

As it is near central Tokyo, Takaosan gets packed with people on weekends, especially during the second half of November, when the mountain flourishes with autumn colors.

Thus, I will recommend you plan a trip during the week and if possible in the morning time which will be helpful to escape too many people.

Anyway, near the mountain’s summit, there is an attractive temple where many travelers stop by to pray to tengu (Shinto Buddhist mountain gods) for good fortune.

So, don’t forget to look into it.

7. Akigawa Valley: A Space Surrounded By Mountains

Located in Akiruno City, the western area of Tokyo, Akigawa Valley is surrounded by rivers, forests, and mountains.

Coming here will let you enjoy the natural environments, a tree-lined temple, campsites, a sky bridge, gently flowing streams.

Akigawa valley bridge

In case you come here during the fall season, you are gonna be mesmerized by the gorgeously colored leaves covering everywhere.

But, it doesn’t mean the other season’s views are less attractive.

It is such a location where every season has its own kind of glamour.

Akigawa Valley

No matter how your style of enjoying the outdoor activities is, something will surely strike your interest in Akigawa Valley.

And after arriving here, you will feel like stepping into a quieter space full of charm and serenity.

8. Jindaiji Temple & Botanical Gardens: Offers Seasonal Beauty

A trip to Jindaiji Temple and the encircled Jindai Botanical Gardens is like traveling into a time machine and ending up in the ancient period of Japan.

Here, you can stroll along the cobbled paths lined with green maple trees and explore the temple ground that is surrounded by forest.

Well, don’t get tired soon as you still need to visit the nearby botanical garden, where over 400 distinct types and 5,200 seasonal varieties of flowers are seen.

If your tummy starts to growl after roaming around the place, you may drop by the stalls near the shopping street.

These stalls sell soy-sauce covered dango, traditional sweets, and candies that can make your tummy happy.

Dango

Or, you may enjoy handmade buckwheat noodles from the soba restaurants nearby.

Okay, I have completed discussing all the forests, gardens, and other nature spots in Tokyo.

So, it’s time to move on to the conclusion.

Conclusion

Today, I have shared about the 8 best natural attractions in Tokyo.

Now that you have enough knowledge about each one, I hope you can finally decide where to go or not when staying in the capital city.

Although each spot is excellent, I suggest you at least not miss the forest in Tokyo that I have mentioned in my list.

But, if you have enough time, try to travel to each place.

I can assure you will be gifted with some beautiful memories.