Sawai – Tokyo Countryside
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!