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February 11, 2007

A stroll around Tokyo, I mean Okutama (奥多摩)

Well, actually, both are correct.

I took the train up to Okutama (奥多摩) this morning, mostly because it is probably the farthest you can go by train from the center of the city and still be in Tokyo. Really...it took two hours to get there. Check out the link if you want more info on what is there.

Here is a picture of the town taken from a trail on the south side of the valley. I walked up this way for about 30 minutes before I realised that I had no idea where I was going or what I would see.


So, Okutama is a lot like most places in the countryside: very quiet and peaceful, but everything seems to be old and a bit run down. It is nice to get away too, but I am not so sure I would want to live out there. Well, if I gave up drinking and talking it might be a good place to go.

Having said that, it was lovely. At one point I was walking along the road next to the Tama River and I thought to myself this place is really like Hakone...but farther away...and with fewer onsens.

Well, I suppose it makes sense that it is quiet.

Anyway, after I walked up the side of a mountain for 30 minutes, I walked back down and had a coffee at the first coffee shop I found, the strangely named "Hemlock", not a name that inspires confidence. And when I walked in at 11am the only other customers were banging back cup after cup of sake). After that, I went to an onsen for a bath, had soba near the station and came home. Whew...

Here are some pictures of the town. On the left you see the train station, on the right, part of the commercial district, heh heh.

And a few more...the picture on the left looks like a gravestone/headstone carving shop. I was walking up the trail and all of the sudden I popped around a curve and all this was laying out in front of me. On the right, some random building with the mountains in the background. I also took a few pictures of temple stuff, but I figure I have 100s of those already, so no need to add more.


I really enjoyed it, but it is a bit long for a day trip, unless you leave really early. The onsen was very nice, if not a bit crowded. I spent 20-30 minutes in the outside bath and felt absolutely refreshed. It is called Moegi-no-yu (もえぎの湯) and is only ten minutes walk from the station. There are other places, but this seemed to be the most popular.

You should check it out sometime.

Posted by Kirk on February 11, 2007 07:59 PM