Tokyobling's Blog

Okutama – Hikawa and Tamagawa Meeting

Posted in Nature, Places by tokyobling on October 3, 2015

Not far from Okutama Station in Tokyo’s westernmost Nishitama-Gun (Nishitama County), the furtherest west you can go in Tokyo by train, is a lovely little spot in the river where the mighty Tamagawa (well, not up here, but later on the river will become huge) is joined by the tiny Hikawa. I love these placid little rivers where you can actually go down and enjoy the waters and the polished river rocks. A hanging bridge allows you to cross easily from the tiny town on the north bank. There is not much to see or do here but if you are overdosing on concrete and the urban jungle of Tokyo, welcome out to the proper forests of Okutama!

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Summer River in Sawanoi – Western Tokyo

Posted in Nature, Places by tokyobling on August 10, 2015

It is hard to believe but the majority of Tokyo consists of unpopulated mountains and forests. The reason for this is the extreme ruggedness of Japanese terrain and vegetation – there is just no realistic way of accessing most of the wild Japanese mountains with anything less than a helicopter, the stamina of a mountain goat or at least a well sharpened machete. The only way that I have found of really accessing nature is to follow the rivers and Western Tokyo is full of them. One of my favorite spots to avoid the summer heat in the concrete is to take the train out to Sawanoi and explore the local rivers. There are all kinds of roads and paths near the station so no matter if you want the full mountain ranger experience or just want to take granny out for a day in the greens, you will find this a good spot to start with!

Here are some of photos I took when I visited last summer, getting my feet wet in Tama River!

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Sawanoi River Walk

Posted in Nature, Places by tokyobling on May 22, 2015

Summer is fast approaching and while outdoor temperatures are still tolerable even outdoors here in Tokyo, the days will soon be upon us when a lot of people will be stuck day and night to their air conditioners. The only thing I can recommend in those cases is to spend a little time and effort and try to get out of Tokyo. It is often forgotten that even Tokyo mostly consists of mountains and forests, so there is a lot of greenery around if you have the energy to find it. One of my favorites is taking the Ome line out to Sawanoi in Tokyo’s far western Town and walk along the beautiful Tama River. This far upstream it is still quite small, rapid and much cleaner than downstream, although the modern river is many hundreds of times cleaner than it was just 50-60 years ago. Today a lot of wildlife has returned to the river, enough even to support fishing of carp, trout, salmi, redfin and ayu. Not fished but still quite common in the river you may find turtles, crabs and crayfish. There was even a case a few years ago of a seal making its way up to the river, although never this far up!

In the summer the trees provide good shade, the slight breeze is usually cooled down over the broad river and there are plenty of spots where you can get down and put your feet in the cold water to cool down. Go early in the morning, bring a picknick or eat at one of the local places, and get some green in your life to substitute for all the Tokyo grey!

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Sawanoi Scenery

Posted in Nature, People by tokyobling on May 5, 2015

As summer is coming to Tokyo I thought I should share more photos of one of my favorite places for a long nature stroll in the capital – Sawanoi in Ome City in the far west of Tokyo. Quite a bit of a train journey away from Shinjuku but well worth is this hidden gem of a river valley complete with foot bridges, easy to walk paths and trails and more greenery than you can shake a stick at! Just take the Chuo line to the west towards Ome and get off at Sawanoi station.

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