Yes, this is Tokyo. But not as you know it.
Okutama is a small town that lies at the very end of the Ome Line in western Tokyo. Originally just a collection of three small villages, the population today is still under 7000. Tokyo’s northernmost and westernmost points lie in Okutama – so it’s pretty much as far as you can without leaving the metropolis.
This is the view from the slow local train on the way in. To be fair, it’s hard to imagine you’re actually technically in Tokyo at all.
Take a bus from Okutama station (20 minutes, 350 yen) and you’ll arrive at Lake Okutama, located in Chichibu Tama National Park.
This is an artificial lake formed by the Ogouchi Dam,which blocks the Tamagawa river. It’s a harmonious blend of natural beauty and man-made structures.
Chichibu Tama National Park covers a vast area, measuring 67 kilometers from east to west and 40 kilometers from north to south, that stretches over Tokyo, Saitama, Yamanashi and Nagano prefectures. It has high mountains and deep valleys, good for canyoning and rafting.
After visiting the lake I chose to walk from Okutama to Hatonosu – a station two stops down on the Ome Line. I passed this house which possibly had the best back garden I’d ever seen.
This house? Not so much. A faded Bay City Rollers poster donning the garage. Inaka!
The whole area is amazing to just walk about. Little houses perch on the mountainside.
It’s quiet and serene…
But if the dam bursts… RUN AND SCREAM!
Well deserved chocolate after a 2.5 hour walk.
Okutama is a mountain district in the west of Tokyo. To get to Okutama Station take the Chuo Line from Shinjuku and switch at Tachikawa on to the Ome Line. Depending on connections the journey takes anything between 90 minutes and 2 hours (for a very reasonable 1,080 yen). Buses are irregular to Lake Okutama, one or two an hour – and if you decide to walk between Okutama and Hatonosu bring snacks.