Long time no post! And long time no hike for that matter (maybe since hiking around Santorini?) … Lately, my Grad school has been keeping me busy with all kinds of presentations, papers and so on, but I still managed to keep my goal of visiting a new place in Japan at least once a month. I became kind of nostalgic about the two year’s ago trip to see autumn leaves in Kyoto, but this time I’m trying to discover as much as I can around Tokyo area, and I was not disappointed. Although Kyoto’s temples are so beautiful during autumn, Tokyo has many beautiful places as well, to enjoy the season. Due to the warmer temperatures, autumn leaves reach their peaks a bit later in Tokyo, perfect time for watching them being around Mid-Nov to Mid-Dec!

This month’s new place was Okutama 奥多摩, and I’m lucky my zemi (Seminar in Japanese, where students who are researching on similar themes gather together, under a designated professor) chose this place as I really wanted to go there during autumn. Okutama is a mountainous district located in the western part of Tokyo. To be honest, last time I was in Japan I didn’t even know about this place. Hard to believe it is actually part of Tokyo as it is so different from central Tokyo and from the popular urban image one has of Tokyo. A day trip to Okutama represents the perfect way to escape from the concrete jungle, a great way to enjoy the rich nature this district has to offer and also a great place if you love hiking.

It takes about 2 hours to reach Okutama from central Tokyo. We took the Holiday Rapid Okutama train from Mitaka station. It was quite crowded on a Sunday, but most people were going to Mount Mitake and not Okutama. After arriving there, our hike started at Okutama station, up to Lake Okutama (Ogochi Dam). The hiking trail was called Okutama Mukashimichi 奥多摩むかし道 or Old Road of Okutama, and we could enjoy spectacular views and beautiful autumn leaves. I will let the photos speak for themselves. Due to many photo stops, my group finished the supposedly 2.5 hours hike in around 4 hours haha. We took the bus back from the lake to Okutama station and ended the day with a dip in Moeginoyu onsen, hot spring which is believed to have a soothing effect.  Onsen after a long and a bit chilly hike in the mountains was the perfect way to end the day.

Some tips if you want to go:

  • Bring some food with you as there are almost no restaurants or places to buy food from along the trail.
  • Bring an extra jacket if you go during autumn, it can get cold in the afternoon and especially near the river it was pretty cold.
  • Go during the week if you can, Okutama itself was not crowded (as Takaosan, where you line up in order to reach the top of the mountain…) but the trains and buses were crowded.
  • Go to an onsen after the hike! It was such an amazing experience!

Thank you for stopping by and stay tuned for more autumn spam in the coming days!

Okutama station

Picking up kaki


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