Okutama and Mount Mitake are beautiful areas filled with lakes and lush nature, offering beautiful sceneries of Japan’s gorgeous landscape. Every season changes the experience: delicate cherry blossoms, vivid autumn leaves, and tranquil snow each show an entirely different scenery! The best part: Okutama and Mount Mitake are only a 90- to 120-minute train ride away, making them perfect spots for a day trip from Tokyo. If you’ve seen enough of the big, bustling metropolis, why not calm your heart and mind in Japan’s stunning nature, without having to spend extra money on an accommodation? You cannot say that you know Japan if you haven’t ventured through its gorgeous countryside!
Okutama Lake: Cherry Blossom Gorgeousness in Spring, Autumn Leaf Dreams in Fall
Okutama Lake is well-known among Tokyoites as a wonderful respite from big city life. The artificial lake was created in 1957 when the Ogouchi Dam was built as Japan’s biggest reservoir intended for water supply. The dam itself is rather spectacular, as a road leads over the massive construction, allowing you to gaze all the way down into the valley. While the lake is lush with fresh green at the beginning of summer, spring and its cherry blossoms transform it into a pinkish white wonderland. From late October, Lake Okutama shines in vivid red and yellow before autumn makes way for winter and its shimmering snow.
The 12km-long hiking course "Okutamako ikoi no michi" leads you over the dam and around the lake’s many scenic spots (but it’s closed between late November and mid-April). The trail even has you wander over the two floating bridges that get you as close to the water as possible!
Closed: always open
Access: JR Okutama Station; 15 minutes by Nishi-Tokyo Bus via Okutamaike, Kamosawa-nishi, or Kosuge no Yu – right at the bus stop “Okutamaike”
- Address Hara, Okutama-Machi, Nishitama-Gun, Tokyo, 1980223, Japan
0428-86-2731 (Okutama Mizu to Midori No Fureaikan)
Nippara Limestone Cave: Exploring Okutama’s Colorful Caves
The Nippara Limestones Cave is the largest cave in the entire Kanto area, leading you through an enigmatic maze for 40 minutes and 800 meters. The large stalagmites rising from the floor are as impressive as the numerous Buddha statues scattered throughout the system of tunnels and caves – the Nippara Limestone Cave is rather magical, not only for spelunkers. Adding to this wonderfully enigmatic experience isn’t just the echoing sound of your whispers and footsteps but also the colorful LED lights illuminating the main cavern. Old legends even say that visiting the cave will bless you with a happy marriage! The temperature inside the Nippara Limestone Cave is always around 11°C (52°F), making it cool in summer and pleasantly warm in winter.
Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. from December to March)
Closed: always open
Admission: 700 yen
Access: JR Okutama Station; 31 minutes by Nishi-Tokyo Bus via Shonyudo (weekdays only) – right at the terminal stop
(On weekends and holidays, 27 minutes by Nishi-Tokyo bus via Higashi-nippara – get off at the terminal station, it’s a 25-minute walk from there)
Nippara Limestone Cave日原鍾乳洞
- Address Nippara, Okutama-Machi, Nishitama-Gun, Tokyo, 1980211, Japan
- Phone Number 0428-83-8491
Hatonosu Ravine: the Roaring River Below Your Feet
Hatonosu Ravine is often called the most beautiful spot in the Okutama area, especially famous for its stunning autumn leaf scenery. However, we also highly recommend a visit during the peak of winter, when the sun makes the snow-covered trees shimmer in the light and the river roars below your feet. A 2km-long path leads along the ravine, letting you savor the natural beauty of the place to the fullest. Start at Hatonosu Station and cross the ravine before following the path upstream. Cross once again at Kazumakai Bridge before arriving at Shiromaru Station. Do take your time to bathe in the magnificent view from the bridge – it’s a scenery that is sure to make a fond memory of your trip.
Closed: always open
Access: JR Hatonosu Station (Ome Line), 10 minutes on foot
- Address Tanasawa, Okutama-Machi, Nishitama-Gun, Tokyo, 1980223, Japan
Musashi Mitake Shrine: Ancient Worshiping and Gorgeous Views
Mount Mitake is located in Tokyo’s Ome City, the gateway to the entire Okutama area. At its 929-meter high peak sits Musashi Mitake Shrine, an ancient site said to be over 2,000 years old. For centuries, people have traveled to the shrine to worship the mountain and its deities.
A cable car departs Takimoto Station at the foot of the mountain, carrying you to a height of 423, making Mount Mitake a great destination even for those who aren’t too confident in their hiking skills. The view from the mountain is absolutely breathtaking, especially on clear days – Tokyo’s skyscrapers tower in the distance, giving a whole new perspective on the size of the Japanese capital. Explore beyond the shrine and you’ll find several bigger and smaller waterfalls, such as the Nanayono Falls, the Ayahiro Falls, and the Rock Garden with its streams flowing along mossy rocks and lush greenery. All in all, Mount Mitake offers 3 hours of nature-filled hiking. And if you still don’t have enough after that, pay a visit to Mount Hinode, a 30-minute hike away from Musashi Mitake Shrine.
Hours: 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
(The cable car runs from 7:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.)
Admission: worship is free (the cable car costs 590 yen one-way and 1,110 yen both ways)
Access: JR Mitake Station (Ome Line), 10 minutes by Nishi-Tokyo Bus via Takimoto Station – get off at the terminal station. 6 minutes from Takimoto Station via cable car, 20 minutes on foot from Mitakesan Station.
Musashi Mitake Shrine武蔵御嶽神社
- Address 176 Mitakesan, Ome-shi, Tokyo, 1980175, Japan
- Phone Number 0428-78-8500
Rafting at Okutama: You’ll Definitely Get Wet!
Tama River has its source at Okutama and flows into Tokyo Bay. Mitake Gorge, not far away from the river source, is known for its fantastic scenic beauty in all seasons. However, Tama River also offers far more thrilling activities than hiking – climb in a boat and enjoy rafting and canoeing! One of the several places offering river activities is Big Smile Rafting Tokyo Okutama, located directly at Mitake Gorge. Between April and October, two to four tours are offered every single day, so what are you waiting for? The website is available in English, making both reservation and payment comfortable and easy, and the on-site staff also speaks both Japanese and English!
Please check out the official website for further details the following:
Hours: 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. (phone hours are 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.)
Closed: always open during the season. No tours between late October and mid-April.
Admission: from 3,980 yen per person (one tour lasts about 3 hours)
Access: JR Mitake Station (Ome Line), 5 minutes on foot
Big Smile Okutama Mitake Baseビックスマイル奥多摩御岳ベース
- Address 1-178-1, Mitake, Ome-shi, Tokyo, 1980174, Japan
0771-29-5370 (Questions & Reservations)
080-9168-9976 (Local Contact)
Drop-In Spot 1: Okutama Water and Green Friendship Hall
The Okutama Water and Green Friendship Hall showcases the structure of Ogouchi Dam and the water source-protecting forests around it, along with the animals and plants living in the area, its history, local art, and more! Experience Okutama on a wholly different level via a 3D theater, dioramas, and extensive exhibitions. While the descriptions are in Japanese only, an accompanying guidebook is offered in English, Chinese, and Korean. If you decide to drop by, you absolutely have to take a break at the restaurant of the hall and try the famous “Dam Curry” for 1,000 yen – only 20 servings a day are available, but maybe you’ll be lucky! The dish is famous for serving Japanese curry in the shape of the Ogouchi Dam, with the flavorful sauce held in check by a damn of white rice.
Hours: 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Closed: Wednesdays (or the following day if Wednesday is a national holiday), may be closed depending on weather and traffic conditions
Access: JR Okutama Station (Omu Line), 15 minutes by Nishi-Tokyo Bus via Okutamaike, Kamosawa-Nishi, Kosuge no Yu – right at the stop “Okutamaike”
Okutama Mizu to Midori No Fureaikan奥多摩水と緑のふれあい館
- Address 5 Hara, Okutama-Machi, Nishitama-Gun, Tokyo, 1980223, Japan
- Phone Number 0428-86-2731
Drop-In Spot 2: Okutamaonsen Moegi Hot Spring
Nothing is better than soaking your body in a refreshing bath after a long hike! Okutamaonsen Moegi Hot Spring is within walking distance of Okutama Station and even if you’re not a fan of hiking itself, the bathing facilities are so scenic, many Tokyoites visit them just for a day of soaking and relaxation. Bathe in the natural waters of Okutama’s hot springs, said to relieve you from muscle and neuralgic pains. Outdoor baths, indoor baths, foot baths and more provide a thorough wellness program for a full day! The hot spring also has its own restaurant that tickles your taste buds with authentic soba, udon, and rice dishes.
Hours: 9:30 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. (open until 9:30 between July and September; open until 7:00 p.m. between December and March); last admission is one hour before closing time.
Closed: Mondays (or the following day if Monday is a national holiday)
Admission: 780 yen (for 2 hours)
Access: JR Okutama Station (Ome Line), 10 minutes on foot
Okutamaonsen Moegi Hot Spring奥多摩温泉もえぎの湯
- Address 119-1 Hikawa, Okutama-Machi, Nishitama-Gun, Tokyo, 1980212, Japan
- Phone Number 0428-82-7770
The scenic Okutama area offers numerous hiking trails and mountains to explore, making it the perfect spot to get to see Japan’s beautiful nature even during a Tokyo trip. For the adventurous, canoes and kayaks provide plenty of adrenaline, so don’t hesitate to stay the night in an authentic Japanese lodging if you’re too tired to return to the big city. But be warned: Okutama is the real hiking and countryside deal, so bring proper shoes!
Written by Iori Iwata
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