Tuesday, May 9, 2017

May: 奥多摩 Okutama

The weekend before Golden Week, my colleague and I decided to take a short trip out of the city into the depths of the Tokyo inaka. An hour on the train and it already feels like we've crossed into a whole other prefecture.

Okutama (奥多摩) is a rural area in western Tokyo most frequented during the summer for a camping or barbecue trip. It also has some pretty amazing views in autumn. According to my students, it is also the only area in Tokyo with a much higher probability of snow due to its geographic closeness to the mountain ranges of Yamanashi. Only downside is that there is no direct access from the city, so you'd have to change to a local train (which runs hourly). I'm really glad we chose that weekend to go because the true blazing summer heat began immediately after Golden Week.

The day before, my colleague, Ayaka and I were researching on walking trails that we could do and we later realised how silly we were to believe that a "walking trail" would only include casual, evening-stroll-style walking. Clearly this is what happens when you send two completely clueless city-girls into the depths of the valley. Of course it was going to be a hike.

We decided to stop at Kori Station (古里駅), a quiet and unmanned station two stops before the terminal station at Okutama.

It was surreal that this area was still considered to be part of Tokyo-to. Granted, we were nearly at the borders of Kanagawa (or was it Yamanashi?)... the amount of nature was amazing. Coupled with a cooling 24-degree weather, it was the perfect day for outdoor activity.

After 20 minutes of walking and following some people who seemed to know better where they were headed to, we arrived at the start of the walking hiking trail.

This walking trail would bring us to the next station, or for the more adventurous physically fit, they could embark on climbing Mount Mitake (an intermediate-level climb).

Along the way, we spotted a lot of these beautiful lilac-coloured flowers. Any idea what their name is?

We passed the river and decided to sit and have a bit of snacks before continuing.

Finally, we reached the part of the route we came to see - for the experience, and for the 'gram.
Can you believe this is Tokyo?!

Towards the end of the route we embarked on, we came across a small cafe nested in this quaint little house built entirely from wood.

Some cosplayers even came all this way, costume and all, for a good photoshoot.

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