Awoken suddenly to the earthquake alarm on our mobile phones yesterday morning, we decided to make the most out of the early start by heading out to one of our favorite places in Tokyo, Okutama.
Okutama is a tranquil mountainous paradise in Tokyo’s north-west with breathtaking views that make it hard to believe that the lights and crowds of the bustling metropolis are but a train ride away.
It may not be the kind of place that pops into your mind when you think of Tokyo or the most central, but it is definitely worth your while, even if just for the views from the train between Ōme and Okutama stations that have even locals on their feet in awe of the magnificence of the Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park.
You can begin hiking trails from several of the stations along the Ōme line (Kawai, Kori, Hatonosu) or simply head to Okutama station, the terminus of the Ōme line, as the basis for your day’s sightseeing. You’ll be greeted by this quaint station building.
As you exit, you’ll see this Visitor Center to your left where you can pick up maps and get information about the area.
Okutama has an abundance of hiking trails ranging from the family friendly walk to mountain climbing. Remember to exercise due caution, as with any adventure into the wilderness, and bring appropriate supplies, especially water.
Winding its way through the peaks are the upper regions of the beautiful Tama River where you can fish (with a permit), BBQ along the rocky banks or simply take in the beautiful scenery. The keen photographer will also love the wealth of interesting plant and insect life.
Arrive early to get the most out of your day as there is so much to see and do. Try to fit in a trip to Okutama Lake, about 20 minutes bus ride from Okutama (bus stop just across from the train station). You won’t be disappointed.
For those interested in spending the night, there are bungalows, lodges and camp grounds along the river bed, as well hot spring facilities 10 minutes from Okutama Station to rest your tired body after a long day of exploring.
Okutama is right up there with the most beautiful places in Japan and is perfect for the outdoor enthusiast or anyone wanting a peaceful adjourn from the frantic pace of city life.
On national holidays, trains run direct to Okutama from Shinjuku.
Here are a few photos we took yesterday, mostly while playing around with a new macro lens we picked up.