Visit Date: 11/25/2013 (Best Viewing Time: mid November to early December)
Okutama is a mountainous region in Nishitama District located along the Tama River, which is at the western most end of Tokyo and forms a part of the Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park. The town offers majestic nature within Tokyo bounds with lakes possessing pristine waters, clean streams weaving like stitch work through mountain ridges, stunning landscapes, and summits filled with avid climbers. It is considered as the oasis of Tokyo and presents an astonishing contrast to the stereotypical image of Metropolitan area.
With numerous mountains of ranging height surrounding the town, having various hiking courses and walking trails, Okutama provides climbers of all ages a good hike. Visitors can stroll at their own pace through the harmonious blend of abundant verdant nature and man-made structures.
Okutama Mukashi-michi Route
A walking course that roughly follows the Tama River from JR Okutama Station to Ogouchi Dam and Okutama Lake. ‘Mukashi-michi’ route literally meaning ‘old road’ route takes the former Ome-Kaido road, which used to be the main road in the area used by the residents before the new road along Japan National Route 411, which has been originally built for transporting materials for the construction of the Ogouchi Dam, was opened to the public.
The trail is about 9 to 10 kilometers long and takes around 4 hours to finish. It is not a rugged terrain and thus, suitable for the family, although it includes some steep path in the beginning and towards the last stretch of the trail. It consists of a combination of paved asphalted roads, narrow paths with few flights of stairs, rocky paths, and mountain trails. It also has maintained public toilets, rest facilities, picnic area with tables and benches overlooking the valley, and guide posts along the way.
The course offers charming scenery including a view of the pastoral village blending gorgeously with the surrounding nature and beautiful sight of the valleys and nearby mountains. It also includes walking through the woods, crossing suspension bridges, and passing by the shrines, temples, tea houses, waterfalls, and an old railroad track along the way.
Visitors can also get a sweeping view of the Tama River from the trail but the Shidaraku-bashi suspension bridge provides an especially impressive view of the Tamagawa gorge. The bridge also sways as people walk through it, thus only 3 persons at a time are allowed to pass the bridge.
A symbol of the Okutama area, which is an artificial lake created from the Tama River via the Ogouchi Dam. The construction of the lake took 19 years to finish due to the iterruption of the war and was completed in 1957. There are many attractions around the lake including historic places like preserved old houses, floating bridges, big kaya tree, camping village and museum.
The lake is also surrounded by luscious nature and beautiful scenery that can be enjoyed all year-round, with cherry blossoms in spring, refreshing green leaves in summer, the changing colorful leaves of autumn, and frosty snow scape during winter. The view can be best observed through the Drum-Kan Bridge, which has gotten its name as drums were used as floats in the olden days.
Okutama is located at the end of the JR Ome Line and is easily accessibly by train. The usual way to get there is via the Chuo rapid service to Ome or Tachikawa, then changing trains bound for Okutama. The trip from Shinjuku to Okutama takes around 1 hour and 34 minutes to 2 hours and 16 minutes and costs around ¥1,080 to ¥1,210.
There are however Holiday Rapid Okutama trains, a direct train from Shinjuku during weekends and runs on a specific timing. The trip from Shinjuku to Okutama takes around 1 hour and 36 minutes and costs ¥1,080.
Okutama Tourist Information Center
Address: 210 Hikawa, Okutama-machi, Nishitama-gun, Tokyo 〒198-0212
Website Site: www.okutama.gr.jp
Okutama Town Sightseeing Section
Address: 215-6 Hikawa, Okutama-machi, Nishitama-gun, Tokyo 〒198-0212