An easy escape to Tokyo’s mountainous backyard

Tokyo, the bustling capital city of japan, is known for its vibrant city life, towering skyscrapers, and bustling streets. However, just a short distance away from the city center lies a hidden gem known as Okutama. Nestled on Tokyo’s western edge, Okutama offers a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, with its lush mountains, beautiful lakes, and serene countryside. Whether you’re a nature lover, an adventurer, or simply seeking some quiet time, Okutama has something to offer for everyone.

Don’t Miss

When visiting Okutama, there are a few must-see attractions and activities that you should not miss. From outdoor adventures to cultural experiences, here are some highlights of what Okutama has to offer:

1. Fun outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, and kayaking: With its abundant natural beauty, Okutama is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Explore the numerous hiking trails that lead you through breathtaking landscapes and scenic viewpoints. Engage in fishing in the crystal-clear streams and lakes, or try your hand at kayaking and navigate through the pristine waters.

2. Taking a sake brewery tour and sampling a variety of rice wines: For those who appreciate fine spirits, a visit to one of Okutama’s sake breweries is a must. Take a free tour of the Ozawa Brewery and learn about the traditional process of making Japanese sake, or nihonshu. After the tour, indulge in a tasting session where you can sample more than 10 varieties of sake.

3. Relaxing in a countryside coffee shop and admiring the gorgeous colors of fall: Okutama’s countryside is dotted with charming coffee shops that offer a tranquil atmosphere and breathtaking views. Sit back, relax, and enjoy a cup of freshly brewed coffee while admiring the vibrant hues of red, orange, and yellow that adorn the surrounding forests during the autumn season.

How to Get There

Okutama is easily accessible from central Tokyo, making it a popular choice for day trips. The most convenient way to reach Okutama is by train, which takes approximately 90 minutes. From Shinjuku Station, take the JR Chuo Line heading to Nakano. At Tachikawa Station, transfer to the Ome Line and alight at Okutama Station. On weekends, the Chuo Line Holiday Rapid Okutama offers a direct route from Shinjuku Station to Okutama Station.

Mt. Mitake

Mt. Mitake is one of the main attractions in Okutama and offers a range of outdoor activities and cultural experiences. Here are some highlights of what you can do at Mt. Mitake:

Take a refreshing hike: Mt. Mitake offers numerous hiking trails that cater to both beginners and experienced hikers. One popular trail is the Rock Garden, a moss-covered area in the forest that provides a serene and picturesque setting. For those seeking a longer trek, the Mukashi Michi Trail starts from Okutama Station and leads to Lake Okutama, passing by traditional Japanese houses along the way.

Try a wide variety of sake: At the foot of Mt. Mitake lies the Ozawa Brewery, where you can take a free tour and learn about the art of sake-making. The brewery conducts four tours daily, and reservations are required. After the tour, indulge in a sake tasting session and sample the different flavors and varieties of rice wines. The brewery also has a cafe that serves delicious snacks like steamed buns and a tofu restaurant for a full meal experience. Don’t forget to visit Sawanoi-en, the brewery’s garden, where you can enjoy your sake while taking in the natural beauty of Okutama.

Explore Nippara Limestone Cave: For the adventurous souls, a visit to Nippara Limestone Cave is a must. This natural wonder is home to ancient rock formations that date back millions of years. The cave is illuminated with multi-colored displays, creating a surreal and ethereal atmosphere. Along the cave’s pathways, you’ll also find Buddhist figures and objects of worship, adding to the mystical ambiance. The cave’s temperature remains a constant 11 degrees Celsius year-round, making it a perfect escape from Tokyo’s summer heat.

Have some river fun: The Tama River, the longest river in the Tokyo area, flows through Okutama, offering a wide range of water activities. Take a break from the city and enjoy a picnic by the riverside, dip your feet in the cool water, or engage in more adventurous activities like fishing, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, or rafting. The Tama River provides a refreshing and rejuvenating experience for nature lovers.

Cross Lake Okutama’s floating bridge: Lake Okutama is one of the area’s hidden gems, and crossing the Mugiyama Floating Bridge is a fun and unique way to experience its beauty. The bridge, supported by empty oil drums, is known locally as the “Drum Bridge.” As you walk across the bridge, you can feel the pontoon wobbling under your feet, adding an element of excitement and thrill to the experience. The view from the bridge offers a stunning panorama of Lake Okutama and its surrounding mountains.

Admire the foliage in fall: Okutama’s natural beauty is particularly enchanting during the autumn season when the foliage transforms into a vibrant tapestry of colors. From early October to mid-November, the forests are ablaze with shades of red, orange, and yellow, creating a breathtaking sight. Take a leisurely stroll through the forest, and let the sound of fallen leaves crunching beneath your feet soothe your senses.

In conclusion, Okutama is a hidden treasure that offers a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo. With its lush mountains, beautiful lakes, and serene countryside, it provides a variety of outdoor activities and cultural experiences for travelers seeking a different side of Japan. Whether you’re an adventure enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply looking for tranquility, Okutama is a place that should not be missed. So, venture beyond the city limits and discover the natural wonders of Tokyo’s mountainous backyard.

Address And Maps Location:

Nishitama District, Okutama, Tokyo

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