Onward to Western Tokyo on the Tokyo Adventure Line!
Mention “Tokyo” and images of a highly developed urban city with a bustling population, intricately interconnected railway network, and crowded traffic would come to mind for most people. Indeed, as the capital city of Japan and one of the biggest cities in the world, Tokyo is a destination that has something for all types of visitors, and is a major starting point for travelling around the country.
But do you know that Tokyo is actually more than just the metropolitan area? Travel westwards, and visitors may be pleasantly surprised by the sheer transformation of the environment, shifting from the vastly grey façade to a much more colourful natural scenery that is filled with Mother Nature’s gifts!
Contrast in scenery between Tokyo Metropolitan Area (left) and Western Tokyo (right). (Image credit: ©Tokyo Convention & Visitors Bureau)
Western Tokyo is vastly different from the metropolitan area, as it is much greener and less populated, and is thus a popular destination among visitors seeking to get away from the bustling city. Also known as Tama Area (多摩地域 Tama-chiiki), the region features plentiful destinations for outdoor and nature-centric activities, and is also easily accessible by train from the Tokyo Metropolitan Area.
Oku-Tama Station. (Image credit: JR East Hachioji Branch Office)
One of the railway lines that run towards Western Tokyo is the Ōme Line (青梅線 Ōme-sen), which stretches from Tachikawa Station (立川駅 Tachikawa-eki) to Oku-Tama Station (奥多摩駅 Oku-Tama-eki). Tachikawa Station connects with the Chūō Line (中央線 Chūō-sen), which runs through major railway stations in Tokyo, so many visitors based in Tokyo will find it convenient to travel from the Tokyo Metropolitan Area to Western Tokyo.
Oku-Tama Station. (Image credit: JR East Hachioji Branch Office)
Visitors travelling on the line would also notice some quirky characteristics of the stations along the way. For instance, Oku-Tama Station was originally built in 1944 and named Hikawa Station (氷川駅 Hikawa-eki). Then, in 1971, it was renamed to Oku-Tama Station, and the building was renovated in April 2019. It resembles a mountain lodge, which perfectly complements the natural surroundings as many people alight here to set off for mountain climbing and other outdoor activities.
Mitake Station (left) and Hatonosu Station (right). (Image credit: JR East Hachioji Branch Office)
Other stations to look out for include Mitake Station (御嶽駅 Mitake-eki), where the building features intricate wooden architecture; and Hatonosu Station (鳩ノ巣 Hatonosu-eki), where the station building is uniquely decorated with stained glass furnishings. The stations serve as gateways to Western Tokyo’s splendid outdoors, and visitors will feel wholly welcome upon setting foot at the stations.
Map of Ōme Line, with highlighted stations along the Tokyo Adventure Line. (Image credit: Google Maps)
Did you also know? The section between Ōme Station and Oku-Tama Station is known as Tokyo Adventure Line (東京アドベンチャーライン Tōkyō Adobenchā-rain), as the section is filled with amazing outdoor spots where visitors can take part in various exciting activities, from camping to hiking and even river rafting.
Want to learn more about what kind of adventure awaits in the areas along the Tokyo Adventure Line? Then read on!
① Hiking trail up Mount Mitake
Western Tokyo has many scenic hiking trails. (Image credit: JR East Hachioji Branch Office)
Western Tokyo has many mountains and plentiful greenery, making the overall environment vastly different from its eastern and more urban counterpart. Because of this, many Tokyoites see Western Tokyo as a great choice for a day trip from the city.
Western Tokyo’s plentiful greenery. (Image credit: JR East Hachioji Branch Office)
One of the most popular activities that visitors can enjoy in Western Tokyo is hiking, as the region has many hiking trails that are accessible from the Tokyo Adventure Line. The hiking trails are also relatively easy for beginners, so people without hiking experience who would like to enjoy some of the region’s greenery firsthand need not worry about it!
Mount Mitake on the map. (Image credit: Google Maps)
One of the most prominent landmarks in Western Tokyo is Mount Mitake (御岳山 Mitake-san), and the hiking trail leading to the summit is a highly popular hiking trail among visitors to the region. The best part about the trail? It is only a short bus ride away from Mitake Station, which is one of the stops along the Tokyo Adventure Line.
Mitake Tozan Railway Takimoto Station. (Image credit: photoAC)
The bus ride will take visitors from Mitake Station to the mountain base, where they will then have a chance to ride a funicular that is operated by Mitake Tozan Railway (御岳登山鉄道 Mitake Tozan-tetsudō).
The funicular takes passengers up an elevation of around 424m, from Takimoto Station (滝本駅 Takimoto-eki) at the mountain base to Mitakesan Station (御岳山駅 Mitakesan-eki), and takes around six minutes per one-way. During the ride on the funicular, visitors can enjoy a view of the beautiful outdoor scenery, and get a glimpse of Mount Mitake’s vivid greenery, especially during the Green Season.
Hiking up Mount Mitake. (Image credit: ©Tokyo Convention & Visitors Bureau)
After reaching Mitakesan Station, visitors can begin their hiking adventure up to the summit of Mount Mitake. The hiking trail features a lot of vivid greenery, soothing waterfalls, and even some fascinating landmarks, so visitors can expect a rejuvenating experience of connecting with Mother Nature and enjoying the sights and sounds along the trail.
The view from atop Mount Mitake. (Image credit: ©Tokyo Convention & Visitors Bureau)
The hike up to the summit of Mount Mitake takes less than an hour, and lining the trail are numerous small Japanese inns (旅館 ryokan) and quaint souvenir shops. When visitors reach the top of the mountain, they will be rewarded with a splendorous view of the surrounding mountains that stretch over the horizon.
Ayahiro no Taki Falls (left) and Rock Garden (right). (Image credit: JR East Hachioji Branch Office)
Other spots that visitors to Mount Mitake should not miss include Ayahiro no Taki Falls (綾広の滝 Ayahiro-no-Taki) and Rock Garden (ロックガーデン). The former features a 50m drop, and visitors can get up close to see the pristine water falling before their eyes. The Rock Garden features several rock formations with unique shapes, and is worth checking out if you want to learn more about the mountain’s natural landscape.
② Exciting water activities along Tamagawa River
Kayaking on the Tamagawa River. (Image credit: ©Tokyo Convention & Visitors Bureau)
Want something more exhilarating? Then you might want to check out all the water activities you can participate in in Western Tokyo! The Tokyo Adventure Line runs along the Tamagawa River (多摩川Tama-gawa), which is highly popular among visitors as a venue for water activities such as kayaking and canoeing because of its fast-flowing waters.
River rafting on the Tamagawa River. (Image credit: ©Tokyo Convention & Visitors Bureau)
Water activities on the Tamagawa River are prevalent between spring and autumn, and the train connectivity from the Tokyo Metropolitan Area makes it particularly popular among Tokyoites. The areas around the river also feature other amenities, including sports fields, bouldering spots, and park spaces, so visitors can also appreciate other forms of outdoor activities.
There are several companies that organise water activities along the river, and some provide pick-up service from Ōme Station. You can check their official websites for more information.
Mitake Valley in autumn. (Image credit: ©Tokyo Convention & Visitors Bureau)
Another place to explore and appreciate the natural beauty of Western Tokyo is Mitake Valley (御岳渓谷 Mitake-keikoku). It is where the Tamagawa River flows through, and is known for its stunning seasonal scenery, especially in autumn when the foliage covers the valley in vibrant warm colours.
Mitake Valley during the Green Season. (Image credit: JR East Hachioji Branch Office)
Mitake Valley also has promenades that stretch around 4km along the riverbanks of the Tamagawa River. Visitors can enjoy a leisurely stroll along the promenades and soak in the ambient natural surroundings, from the impressive colours of the season to the soothing sounds of the flowing river water.
To get to Mitake Valley
To get to the valley, get off at Mitake Station (御嶽駅 Mitake-eki) and walk for 3 minutes to reach the valley.
③ Wondrous sightseeing sites
Lake Okutama on the map. (Image credit: Google Maps)
If you want to take it easy and soak in the sheer beauty of Western Tokyo’s natural splendour, then fret not: the region has several places you want to explore. Perhaps the most outstanding spot to check out is Lake Okutama (奥多摩湖 Okutama-ko), a man-made lake that is the centrepiece of the region’s sheer natural beauty.
Lake Okutama’s surrounding autumn foliage. (Image credit: ©Tokyo Convention & Visitors Bureau)
Located inside the Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park (秩父多摩甲斐国立公園 Chichibu Tama Kai Kokuritsu-kōen), the lake was created with the construction of the Ogouchi Dam (小河内ダム Ogouchi-damu) on the Tamagawa River in 1957. And did you know? The lake is also known as Ogouchi Reservoir (小河内貯水池 Ogouchi-chosuichi), and serves as a vital source of water supply for Tokyo.
Lake Okutama in spring. (Image credit: photoAC)
Lake Okutama is widely known for its clear blue water and stunning natural scenery throughout the seasons. Visitors would flock to the lake in spring and autumn, when the lake is surrounded by pink cherry blossoms and vivid warm shades of red and yellow respectively. Just look at how beautiful the scenery is!
Lake Okutama during the Green Season. (Image credit: photoAC)
Of course, when it comes to the peak season for outdoor activities, Lake Okutama is a must-visit during the Green Season! After the cherry blossoms have fallen and before the warm summer rolls in, the lake will be surrounded by vivid greenery that is a feast for the eyes. The weather is also relatively cooler than in the urban areas, so it makes for a perfect escape from the warm weather.
To get to Lake Okutama
To get to Lake Okutama, get off at Oku-Tama Station, take a 20-minute bus ride bound for Lake Okutama, and get off at Okutamako (奥多摩湖) bus stop.
Nippara Limestone Caves. (Image credit: JR East Hachioji Branch Office)
Feeling a little adventurous? Then check out Nippara Limestone Caves (日原鍾乳洞 Nippara Shōnyūdō), which is said to be the largest cave in the Kanto Region (関東地方 Kantō-chihō). An interesting observation about the cave: it is constantly 11°C inside throughout the year, so it is cooler inside during the summer but warmer during winter!
The interiors are also illuminated with various vivid colours so visitors will feel like they have been transported to a different world. The walking path inside is around 800m long, and visitors can enjoy unique rock formations and structures along the way, including a statue of Byakue Kannon, the Goddess of Mercy; and Gama Rock (ガマ岩Gama-iwa), which resembles a giant rock.
Nippara Limestone Caves (日原鍾乳洞)
Address: 1052 Nippara, Okutama-machi, Nishitama-gun, Tokyo 198-0211
Access: 25-minute bus ride from Oku-Tama Station (奥多摩駅)
A train on the Ōme Line running through Western Tokyo’s greenery. (Image credit: photoAC)
Western Tokyo makes for the perfect destination for visitors seeking a quick getaway from Tokyo, and appreciate a very different and refreshing side of Tokyo. Thanks to the Tokyo Adventure Line, travelling to the region by train is made easy, where you can explore and return on the same day.
Want to have an adventure that is just a train ride away? Then ride on the Tokyo Adventure Line and make your way to the more exciting side of Tokyo!
JR TOKYO Wide Pass
The JR TOKYO Wide Pass and where you can use it. (Image credit: JR East)
Want to travel on the Tokyo Adventure Line? Then consider getting the JR TOKYO Wide Pass, an affordable pass that offers unlimited rail travel on JR East lines (including shinkansen) in the valid area for 3 consecutive days. At ¥10,180, the pass covers the entire Ōme Line and many others, enabling visitors to travel to other nearby destinations such as Mount Fuji, Lake Kawaguchiko, and many others.
The pass can be used at the automatic ticket gates, and you can also make seat reservations for bullet trains, some limited express trains, and Joyful Trains online for free, up to 1 month in advance, here.
Header image credit: ©Tokyo Convention & Visitors Bureau (top-right), JR East Hachioji Branch Office