7 Beautiful Views In The Okutama Area - See Tokyo's Unexpected Nature

When people think of Tokyo, they immediately picture a large city. With places like Ginza, Harajuku, Shibuya and so on, Tokyo has something for everyone, which makes it an immensely popular place to visit.

Oddly enough, however, there are also places in Tokyo where you can find yourself swallowed up by nature. For example, Okutama in western Tokyo. With scenery so beautiful you'll forget you're still in the city, there are also plenty of fun activities to take part in here.

Conveniently reached by a 2-hour train ride from Shinjuku, today we'd like to look at some of the charms of this picturesque area, outdoor activities, and things to do.

Getting off the train at JR Okutama Station, you will find yourself greeted by the sight of numerous mountains. Okutama is just packed with wondrous natural beauty. To begin with, let's look at some of the most popular tourist attractions in this area.

1. Strange Natural Shapes at Nippara Shonyudo

35 minutes by bus from Okutama Station brings you to Nippara Shonyudo (Nippara Limestone Cave), a limestone cavern that has been shaped over hundreds of years by the forces of nature. With a steady annual temperature of 11 degrees Celsius, this labyrinth-like cavern is complicated at first, then spreads out underground.

Hanging within the cavern you will find stalactites growing like icicles over hundreds of years; you're sure to be surprised by this grand sight.

Not only can you see large and small stalactites within the cave, but you can also look at beautifully illuminated cliff-like walls. The mysterious atmosphere of the cave can be felt throughout your whole body.

2. Okutama Lake: Changing Colors with the Seasons

Okutama Lake is an artificial lake created by a dam. Every season, the blue of the lake itself and the changing scenery around it make for new and harmonious sights.

Around the circumference of the lake are hiking trails and other walking courses to enjoy, which makes this a wonderful place to see the landscape and have fun!

3. The Impressive Hatonosu Valley

A short walk from JR Hatonosu Station will bring you to Tamagawa, a river flowing through the mountains. This area, called Hatonosu Valley is a very popular picturesque area.

There are many gorgeous covered bridges throughout the Hatonosu Valley; from these bridges, you can watch as the powerful river winds its way through the chasm between the mountains.

Thanks to the blessings of Nature, Okutama is also a place that has many different activities for its visitors to enjoy. For those who wish to be one with nature, we will now take a closer look at the most recommended activities available in Okutama.

4. Experience Yoga in the Woods

Picture courtesy of Okutama Tourism Association

As you walk through the forests around Okutama, you are sure to notice a few things that you may not normally be aware of. The sound of the wind as it shakes the leaves in the trees, the different scents of the seasons - being this surrounded by nature seems to awaken all 5 senses.

Picture courtesy of Okutama Tourism Association

After enjoying a walk in the woods, why not try some yoga? Being able to further get in touch with your inner self while surrounded by such beautiful natural sights sounds incredibly relaxing.

5. Starry Skies Spread Out as Far as the Eye Can See

Picture courtesy of J. Namiki

The light pollution in Tokyo makes it almost impossible to see the stars at night. However, in Okutama, when night falls, the sky seems to come alive with stars.

Picture courtesy of J. Namiki

Seeing so many stars, man-made satellites, even shooting stars - you may find yourself experiencing so many new things all at once! There is an area set up where you can lay back and gaze up at this mystical view freely.

6. Trout Fishing in the Hikawa Kokusai Masu Tsuriba

Hikawa Kokusai Masu Tsuriba, or the Hikawa International Trout Fishing Area, is a fishing area where you can catch your own rainbow trout. Located on a flat plane, this river bed is easily accessed by anyone - and is conveniently located a mere 5-minute walk from Okutama Station.

Across from the fishing area, there is a barbecue space so that you can grill up the fish that you catch. And if you are a bit squeamish when it comes to gutting your own fish, don't worry - there are experienced staff on-site to take care of that for you.

You don't even need to bring your own equipment as everything can be rented here; showing up empty-handed and then going home with an amazing catch sounds fantastic!

7. Making Soba at Yama No Furusato Mura

A 40-minute drive from Okutama Station will bring you to Yama no Furusato Mura, where you can take part in a soba-making class.

At Yama no Furusato Mura Craft Center, you will learn how to make your own soba - everything from mixing the buckwheat flour into dough, to how to cut the perfect noodle. Helpful staff will guide you along, explaining each step of the process in detail and showing you just how it's done.

And once you've made your own noodles, you can also eat them there. The slightly thick noodles have a great texture to them and knowing that you made them yourself somehow makes them taste even better. Enjoying these noodles with so many great locally made side dishes is wonderful - a must-try activity for sure!

Okutama is certainly an amazing place where the magnificence of nature combines to create an area with plenty of wonderful activities. Easily reached from Tokyo, this is a must-see place!

Source: matcha-jp.com

7 Beautiful Views In The Okutama Area - See Tokyo's Unexpected Nature