The Kanto region is best known for being home to the capital of Japan, Tokyo, and its 14 million residents. The population of Kanto, Japan’s most populated region, is well over 42 million, about a third of the entire country’s population. Kanto consists of the Tokyo metropolitan area and the prefectures of Chiba, Saitama, Kanagawa, Gunma, Ibaraki, and Tochigi.
Most people who visit Kanto will stay in the Tokyo area, but the region has plenty of sights to see that are good day trips from Tokyo or overnight adventures. In Kanagawa, southwest of Tokyo is the ancient capital of Kamakura, with dozens of beautiful shrines and temples hidden among the wooded hillsides. Also in Kanagawa, the onsen resort town of Hakone sits on Lake Ashi with some locations having commanding views of nearby Mt. Fuji.
North of Tokyo in Tochigi is Nikko, with its extravagant shrines and mausoleum dedicated to the former shogunate Tokugawa family and the natural beauty of Lake Chuzenji and Kegon Falls. Nikko is magnificent in late November when the autumn colors light up the forests.
Though the other prefectures may not have famous destinations, they are full of potential for outdoor activities, from the kilometers of easy to access hiking trails in the Saitama mountains to the world-class surfing beaches of Chiba, to walking through acres of flowers in Ibaraki.
The cuisine in Kanto is as wide as the number of prefectures it contains. Tokyo boasts the largest concentration of Michelin starred restaurants in the world but also has hundreds of tiny ramen and soba shops. Tochigi is famous for its gyoza dumplings, Gunma for its sukiyaki with local tender beef, and Chiba for fresh seafood caught off its long coastline.
Kanto is easily accessed through its two international airports, Haneda and Narita, and Tokyo station, which connects with the rest of Japan by Shinkansen bullet trains.