In Japan, all public transportation is as punctual as a clock. Trains always run on time and the rail network is large - so large that you can even reach some of the secret places of the countryside. There is great advantage in that, as you can easily take a break from the busy city and breathe in the fresh air of the nature surrounding you.
From Shinjuku station in Tokyo, take the Chuo Line to Ōme station, then take the Ōme line to Mitake station. As you’re leaving Tokyo by the train, you will have the impression that the cityscape will never end, not until you suddenly find yourself surrounded by mountains and beautiful rivers that follow the railroad.
In front of the station, on your left, there is a little wood cabin serving as the tourist office where you can ask for a map of the region and some advice. From here on, you might want to hop on the bus that will take you directly to place that is but a walking distance from Mt. Mitake. However, it is possible to reach the same place by foot, following the Tama river. On this same reach, every year from April to November, you can challenge yourself and try rafting or kayaking on the Tama river. We highly recommend it !
Now if you would like to get to the top of Mt. Mitake, you will have two options. The first one is to take the cable car. The second one is, of course, for anyone that likes hiking: climbing by foot! While is it a beautiful hike surrounded by tall, thin pine trees, it is a little bit difficult and it takes about 2 hours.
Mt. Mitake is 929m at its highest point and its peak provides a wonderful view. The top of the mountain is not empty - there are many little stores here, each of them giving you a chance to taste the local food. Moving on, you could continue the hike to the Nanayono falls and admire many little wooden Shinto temples along the way, hidden off in the nature.
From Mitake station, you can reach the Okutama station in 20 minutes. From the moment you’ve arrived, you will be able to admire the Hikawa gorge while walking along on the narrow “Mukashi-Michi” (ancient road) along the river. There are a lot of beautiful wooden hanging bridges along the way that will certainly help you feel like you’ve stepped in a different world. If you would like to enjoy the walk a little bit longer, you can start the hike from Hatonosu station and follow the river to Okutama. It is possible to reach it in about hour and a half. Okutama has a lot of fishing centers that offer the possibility of grilling your best catches and enjoying your BBQ in a peaceful environment.
Spring and summer are the perfect seasons to enjoy a camping trip near the river or in the forest. Instead of a tent, you can opt to sleep a night in one of the beautiful ryokans (traditional japanese hotel), some of which are equipped with hot springs. Boarding the bus from the Okutama station, you can reach the Nippara area in about 30 minutes and witness its beautiful limestone caves along with an impressive waterfall. In the same area, you can see the famous “The Inamura rock” - a massive rock formation surrounded by lush vegetation.
The Okutama lake that serves as a water supply for the people of Tokyo is located in the south from here. The lake is not only useful, but beautiful as well. Starting from the nearby “Furatsuo village” it will be a great backdrop for the pictures you will be taking, following the many mysterious Shinto shrines along the way.