Waking up in Japan is an experience to remember. Whether your itinerary has you in a major city, a quiet village or somewhere in-between, there are plenty of relaxing ways to start each day. From dipping into an onsen or sipping earthy green tea, to spending time outside on a hike or wandering through public gardens—waking up in Japan has never been so memorable.   


Dip Into an Onsen

Perhaps most needed the morning after a long, excursion-filled day, slipping into the warm waters of an onsen is a balm for travel-weary muscles. Start your day with a relaxing dip into Japan’s natural spring waters before easing into whatever wonders the day holds.

Hakone Yuryo 

Open at 10 a.m. all year long, this onsen is an ideal day trip from Tokyo. It is a short walk from the Hakone Tozan Train Line’s Tonosawa Station.

Website: Hakone Yuryo

4 Tonosawa, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa,  250-0315

Fuua Ocean Spa

Overlooking the Sagami-nada Sea, Fuua Ocean spa offers day passes for its numerous amenities — like outdoor baths and bedrock bathing. 

Website: Fuua Ocen Spa

10-1 Wadahama Minami-cho, Atami-shi, Shizuoka 413-8626


Get Outside on a Hike

It’s no secret that Japan is home to some of nature’s finest scenery. Ground yourself in nature with a hike at sunrise, which depending on the time of year happens between 5 am. and 7 am. Too early? At least make a hike the first item on your day’s itinerary. Each of these hikes promises unforgettable sights that will be a memorable way to start your day. 

Fuji Five Lakes

Located at the base of Mt. Fuji, the Fuji Five Lakes are especially beautiful to explore in the morning, when the sunlight casts a perfect reflection of Mt. Fuji into one of the five bodies of water, Lake Shoji. Travelers can arrive by the Fuji Kyuko Line to Kawaguchiko Station to begin exploring.

Website: Fuji Five Lakes

3641 Funatsu, Fujikawaguchiko-machi, Minamitsuru-gun, Yamanashi 401-0301

Yakusugi Land or Shiratani Unsui Ravine 

Home to the tallest and oldest cedar trees in Yakushima and winding amid the forests that may have inspired the setting of Princess Mononoke, these hikes are breathtakingly beautiful and ideal for experienced hikers and children alike thanks to various distance options. 

Yaku Island, Yakushima, Kagoshima

Bonus: The Philosopher’s Path

Tetsugaku No Michi, or The Philosopher’s Path, is an easy stroll along a verdant, cherry tree-lined canal. It runs between Ginkaku-ji Temple and Eikan-do and can be accessed from either.

Website: The Philosopher’s path

2 Ginkakuji-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto 606-8402 or 2 Nyakuoji-cho,  Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto 606-8444


Wander Through Public Gardens

Looking for a less strenuous way to spend time in nature? Ease into the day by strolling through one of Japan’s many public gardens. Depending on the time of year, this experience will be entirely different — but always beautiful. From spring’s vibrant shades of pink to autumn’s golden hues, each season brings out a different characteristic. 

Ritsurin Koen

Built during the Edo Period, this sprawling garden is dotted with walking paths, tea pavilions, water features and of course, beautiful trees and flora. Ritsurin Koen is accessible by train.

Website: Ritsurin Garden

1-20-16 Ritsurin-cho, Takamatsu-shi, Kagawa 760-0073 

Sankeien Garden

A visit to Sankeien Garden is like touring history from all across Japan. Historic buildings have been relocated to this serene garden, which boasts impeccable traditional design. 

Website: Sankeien Garden

58-1 Honmokusannotani, Naka-ku,  Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa 231-0824

Warm Up with Tea

Japan’s most famous drink, green tea, is the perfect way to start any day. To experience this earthy brew in an authentic manner, spend a morning in a tea café. These spots offer a wide variety of tea and are often excellent resources for learning about the growing process and cultural significance. 

Tokyo Saryo

Single-origin green tea brewed using the shop’s custom dripper (specifically designed to bring out the tea’s natural flavor), Tokyo Saryo is ideal for both tea enthusiasts and those looking to learn. Reservations required.

Wesbite: Tokyo Saryo

1-34-15 Kamiuma, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 154-0011

Hama-rikyu Gardens

Located within Tokyo’s Hama-rikyu Gardens sits a traditional teahouse — making it an excellent opportunity to experience green tea in a truly beautiful environment. Garden tours are also available.

Website: Hama-rikya Gardens

1-1 Hamarikyu Teien, Chuo-ku Tokyo 104-0046

Bonus: Kosoan

Tucked behind a house and beyond a garden, Kosoan is a traditional tea house hidden away amid a busy shopping district. It does not generally open until noon, making it an ideal respite from sightseeing. 

Website: Kosoan

1-24-23 Jiyugaoka, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 152-0035

How will you start your day? 

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