I did not want to leave Japan without going some place outside of Tokyo. I was also wanting a break from the crowds. There were a couple places I wanted to visit for some time. One was Enoshima, but being an island with the weather being cold and a bit windy it might not be so pleasant. The other place was Okutama, which a friend recommended on my previous trip. That's the Okutama Station with the Ome Line train that I took behind it.
Okutama is up in the mountains on the edge of Tokyo. It does take a little time to get there. Four trains from Hamamatsucho Station. I took the Yamanote Line to Tokyo Station where I caught the Chuo Line out to Tachikawa Station. From there if I remember right it was an Ome Line to Ome Station and then walk across the platform to the local Ome line that ends in Okutama. You can't go any further than that.
Even though I had to change trains and the trip took some time, the view during the final leg of the journey was worth it. So beautiful! The train traveled along valleys with the Tama River below, passing through small towns and really small stations. If it wasn't for the style of building the landscape could have passed for Oregon or Northern California. I just sat back and watched it unfold as we traveled to Okutama.
If I remember right there are a couple Chuo Lines trains that go all the way to Ome and back so that's one less transfer. I was in luck in getting one for my return back from Okutama. By the way, that is a giant ice cream cone in the window of the station.
Leaving the station I took a look at the sky over the mountain tops. Cloudy but at least not rain. I hoped for a little clearing.
I stopped in at the Visitor Center where the very kind lady gave me a map. I was hungry since I skipped lunch again so I went for one of their small wasabi cheese tarte. Mind you this is not horseradish wasabi but real wasabi. And a decent cheese flavor too. Pretty good little tarte.
I wasn't sure what I was going to do except walk through the town and take in the sights. I had spend most of my time before this trying to figure out the trains to take. I decided to head towards one of the rivers. Just beyond the station there was a small shrine. Note the red flowers near it?
It was the Okigoto Inari Shinto Shrine. Small but nicely tended to.
Unlike most of Tokyo, when you get out towards Okutama there are a lot less people. It has a feeling of being a bit more rural which was a nice change.
There are hot springs onsen and places to stay and some buildings and grounds are older and well kept.
Along the way I came to the Okuhikawa or the Oku-Hikawa Shrine, 奥氷川神社. There wasn't much to see except a few trees.
Specifically these three Japanese cedar trees. Hikawa Sanbon Sugi, 氷川三本杉
Which somehow grew together and became well known sacred trees.
Not far from the shrine is this engaging bridge with metal work images of fish.
And of wasabi.
It's the Hikawa-Ohashi Bridge which goes over the Nippara River.
The view from there reminded me of California and Oregon with the houses stacked on the hillsides.
Along with the trees and the clear cut spaces. But the view from the bridge is pretty. This is looking back to the main part of town where the train station is.
Below is the Nippara River. The water looks clear even from above.
I wish I could have seen it with the sun on it. Even without I could tell there are amazing blue green colors in the water.
Since I took so many photographs I don't want to post one super long entry. So will have more from Okutama in my next two posts.