Tokyobling's Blog

Sawai – Tokyo Countryside

Posted in Nature, Places by tokyobling on September 24, 2013

It is easy to forget that all of Tokyo is not yet claimed by concrete and cars. There are still some very rural areas in the western parts of the metropolis for example. One of greenest areas in Tokyo is Ome City, which is only an hour from central Tokyo on the JR Chuo line and not even the westernmost part of Tokyo. Some of the orange and silver Chuo line trains go all the way out to Ome City where you will need to change trains to hit the real countryside. I went to Sawai, the sixth station on Ome Line (sixth after Ome, 19th after Tachikawa), a small station that is used by about 275 people daily. Although this part of Tokyo has been connected to central Tokyo since the building of a national road in 1603, it still feels very rural.

The post office has the old style post box you do not see in bigger cities much any more. The station is usually unmanned (but not on busier weekends) and it is located on the mountainside. The main attraction of Sawai is the old sake factory but I also enjoyed a meal of soba and wasabi in the sake factory garden, next to and overlooking the river. I took a whole lot of very unartistic snapshots to try and capture the feel of this place. Even after having lived so long in Tokyo it still amazes me every time that these kinds of places still exist so close to the biggest city on Earth. I can recommend you visit the countryside around Ome City if you ever feel stuck in all the concrete that is Tokyo. It is a perfect day trip or even half a day trip if you are quick about it. More photos of the river, trees and sake factory of Sawai!


















18 Responses

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  1. Hangaku Gozen said, on September 24, 2013 at 5:11 am

    I take it that movie poster in the first photograph is very old? What a charming place! I’m glad you found this place. I never would have sought out this area on my own.


    • tokyobling said, on October 19, 2013 at 3:48 am

      The subject is an old movie but I think the poster itself is a retro-mockup in a rare attempt to decorate the platform…! There would almost certainly be no natural reason to go here for 99.999999% of all people in Tokyo, but it’s nice to get out of one’s normal way every now and then!


  2. dalo2013 said, on September 24, 2013 at 6:02 am

    Great shots of nature, and very cool to have it so close to the city. Enjoyed the shot of the sorba noodles.


    • tokyobling said, on October 19, 2013 at 3:49 am

      Thank you for the kind comment! Nature is not my strong point… I am still waiting for that “Aha!” moment when I understand who you are supposed to shoot nature! (^-^;)


  3. MrsUniversum said, on September 24, 2013 at 7:24 am

    That´s my piece of cake! Rural areas and small town/suburbs…


  4. meliamex said, on September 24, 2013 at 8:00 am

    Ah, you did it! Reveal the hidden gems, as always..
    Sawai.. Seems like I have to put it on my itinerary when I visit Japan next year..
    Nice sharing, nice photos.. Thank you.. 😉


    • tokyobling said, on October 19, 2013 at 3:50 am

      Thank you for the kind comment! Indeed, Sawai was an unexpected good find. I have been twice since! I must go again soon…


  5. amadl said, on September 24, 2013 at 9:07 am

    The station Looks quite charming.. I Love the wooden bench!
    ALso Loving the shots of the greens, Sawanosuke and the raccoon (it’s a raccoon statue, right?)


    • tokyobling said, on October 19, 2013 at 3:50 am

      Thank you! Yes, the greens…! Can’t get enough of it! Yes, it is raccoon statue. (^-^)


  6. yoshizen said, on September 24, 2013 at 9:11 am

    I think I went to the next station Mitake, once for junior school outing
    and again for hill walking. (more than half century ago !)
    It seems, the gathering space and the chairs are for the old people who got
    not much else to do —– may be an equivalent to a day center here.
    —– So, Sawai could be a forgotten place in Tokyo, and the photos here must
    be a rare reportage to show the demographic social environment today in Japan.
    The poster of the old film and the name of actor, actress are the reminder,
    ” Once there was a life” !


    • tokyobling said, on October 19, 2013 at 3:51 am

      Indeed…! But this is the situation in most of rural Japan. I think that one day in my lifetime it will all be repopulated again though. The urban lifestyle is not sustainable. Some day! (^-^)


  7. TonyJ2 said, on September 24, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    The suspension bridge looks nice. Is there good places to walk along the river?


  8. Emma Reese said, on September 24, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    There was a post box just like that near the station of my home town! Ooo, the soba looks super yummy!


    • tokyobling said, on October 19, 2013 at 3:53 am

      Yes, the old style post boxes. I miss them! So organic looking, so well fitted to the environment. It is a shame they don’t keep more of them in service…


  9. JML PHOTOGRAPHY said, on September 28, 2013 at 1:32 am

    I love that poster, it’s very interesting! I love vintage things especially from other cultures, because they aren’t something that you see everyday. I really like that bridge as well, beautiful photograph.


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