Tokyo tours and excursions
To check off all the sites without having to think too hard, consider a bus tour of Tokyo. There's plenty to choose from: half-day, full-day and evening tours, with many even offering free hotel pick-up. Good companies include Hato Bus and Japan Gray Line. Sightseeing, shopping, snapping – done.Tel: +81 3 3435 6081; +81 3 5275 6511.
Tokyo teems with interesting things to taste and try. For an in-depth introduction to the city's gourmet secrets, consider taking a gastro tour in English with Tokyo Fixer. Be warned though: you'll have to be up very early for the best sushi.Tel: +81 90 3043 8138.
A small coastal town surrounded by wooded hills, Kamakura was the seat of Japan's first military government, the Kamakura Shogunate of 1192-1333. Most famous for the imposing 12m-high (39ft) Great Buddha, you'll also find Zen temples, the impressive Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu shrine and the nearby National Treasure Hall. Visitors can hike through the hills or sunbathe and windsurf on the beach in summer. Trains run every 10-15 minutes to Kamakura from Tokyo Station, Shinbashi Station and Shinagawa Station, on the Yokosuka line (1 hour).Tel: +81 46 723 3000.
The wow factor at Nikko is the dazzlingly ornate mausoleum of the first shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu, the model for the fictional warlord of James Clavell's novel Shogun. This UNESCO site sits in an ancient cedar forest, along with the Rinnoji Temple, Futarasan Shrine and the somewhat less elaborate mausoleum of the third shogun, Tokugawa Iemitsu. Nearby lie Lake Chuzenji and the spectacular Kegon Waterfall, a great place for boating, swimming and fishing. If you're feeling more energetic, climb the 2,400m-high (7,874ft) Mt Nantai. Trains leave several times an hour from Tokyo's Tobu Asakusa Station on the Tobu Nikko line.Tel: +81 288 22 1111.