Japan Outdoors Tokyo

Okutama Mukashi-Michi Hike

For the past few years I’ve enjoyed the spectacular autumn leaves in Tokyo by exploring the city’s many pristine parks but for the prior season I decided to head out of the metropolis to Okutama (奥多摩), a mountainous region located west along the Tama River.


Departing from Okutama Station (奥多摩駅), I followed the 10km Mukashi-michi (むかしみち) trail (meaning “old road”) heading towards Lake Okutama (奥多摩湖). The path is paved most of the way and is fairly easy-going with only a couple of steep sections at the beginning and end.


Walking downhill away from the station, you reach a crossroads with an information center on the left where you can pickup a free route map. To reach the trailhead be sure to cross the bridge running parallel to the Tama River (not over it).



The first section of the tail runs alongside a disused railway track which was originally used to transport materials to build Ogouchi Dam (小河内ダム). I’d love to come back and explore this in more detail!


A small shrine inset into the side of the road. The figure on the left looks a bit bored.




At various spots the view opens up, providing beautiful views over the valley and the river below.



The trail passes a number of old pastoral villages. Before the main road was built in 1945 there were many more tea houses and lodges along the route to accommodate travellers. I especially liked this house with its neat piles of logs.



It was late November but I couldn’t quite work out if I’d missed the best of the autumn leaves or if I was a touch early.




More great views of the Tamagawa gorge from the very wobbly Shidaraku suspension bridge.


Simply divine.



After hiking for almost four hours the enormous Ogōchi Dam and Lake Okutama come into view. With a 45km circumference it would take a few days to walk around. Nearby is a visitor centre from where a frequent bus can be caught back to Okutama Station.


Originally from the UK, David is designer and wanderer currently based in Kamakura. Prior to this, he lived in China and still returns frequently to continue exploring this vast and varied land. He started Randomwire in 2003 to chronicle his travels and occasional musings. Feel free to drop him a line.

4 Comments Add New Comment

  1. Gabby says:

    Seem like a great hike! Would you recommend doing this trail or Otama trail (from kori stn to okutama stn – if you have done it)? I read that in Otama trail we may encounter some black bear, was it the case too for this trail?

    1. David says:

      Hi Gabby – I’ve not done the Otama trail yet. The chances of encountering a bear is very low but if you’re worried, wear a small bell on your backpack and they’ll probably run off before you have a chance to even see them. Good luck!

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