Despite the hustle and bustle of Tokyo, the metropolis is not too far from beautiful places like Hakone and Chichibu. Apart from them, however, there is another place where you can escape to, just two hours away from busy Tokyo, namely Okutama. It is just as charming as Hakone and is a must-visit. Here are five things you can do to completely feel the true nature of Okutama – a paradise within reach.
Known as one of the most beautiful reservoirs in Japan, Ogouchi Dam is a must-see attraction in the town of Okutama. The construction of this massive dam has resulted in the formation of a beautiful lake, Lake Okutama. You can find a lengthy trail passing over the huge dam and surrounding areas with many amazing viewpoints to explore the beauty of the place. You can walk on top of the dam and see the valley’s beauty from up above. However, due to weather conditions and unpredictable water levels, the course is usually not open during winter and early spring. Nonetheless, you can still visit the place any time of the year to capture some lakeside views filled with seasonal colors.
Lake Okutama is actually well known among Tokyoites as a cherry blossom and fall leaves spot. It is also a great location for couples as it has the scenic Mugiyama Floating Bridge.
Did you know that Okutama has Kanto’s most enigmatic and breathtaking cave? Known as Nippara Limestone Cave, it has a maze-like interior and beautiful lighting. For a small entrance fee, you can walk into the cave and feel its magic. It is said that Nippara is so large that it takes the top spot, when it comes to caves, for sizeableness in the entire Kanto region.
For Shinto believers, Mt. Mitake is very sacred because of its two-millennia-old Musashi Mitake Shrine that is present on the top. The mountain is actually the first stopover of people heading to the hinterland of Okutama. Aside from praying at the shrine, you can also overlook the beautiful city of Ome and its surrounding mountains.
If you are not so keen on hiking, just hop onto a cable car from Takimoto that will take you to greater heights. The area is also famous for some amazing gardens and waterfalls which you should not miss.
Tama River is famous for its fast-running waters that cut into rocks, thus making it a great spot for river rafting. There are many agencies that can arrange an adventure trip for you such as BIGSMILE Rafting.
The main spot for beginning any type of adventure on the river is the beautiful Mitake Gorge, which is also a perfect sightseeing location. However, note that the tours are available mostly in the spring and summer. After your adventure, you can head to Okutama Onsen Moegi-no-Yu to dip in some hot waters and relax.
There is a ravine, namely Hatonosu, that is stunning during the autumn and winter season with colorful vegetation and waters. There are also a couple of bridges such as Kazuma over beautiful streamlets that could fit the bill for a picturesque shoot.
Since Okutama is a gorgeous countryside location and is easily accessible, you can prepare your itinerary with no problem. It is also a good spot irrespective of seasons, thus making it a worthwhile destination while in Japan.