Melissa C. Koh

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Tokyo’s Hidden Oasis

Japan

What if I told you that you could explore some beautiful lakes and picturesque scenery’s without actually leaving Tokyo?

Never did I imagine for a place like this to exist in a metropolis like Tokyo. Just a short train ride from the city centre, you can find this hidden oasis and gem, offering majestic views, and an extremely calm and peaceful aura.

If you could set aside a day or two at Lake Okutama or, you can enjoy and experience hiking, exploring and the outdoors. For hike-enthusiasts, you’ll find pretty amazing hike trials that are pretty easy to trek, with good wide paths and a relatively flat terrain. It is also relatively easy to book a Ryokan with a nice onsen and that can serve as your evening wind down activity.

Throughout the year, this beautiful place offers a visually spectacular changing landscape that you can feast your eyes on. Lush greenery in summer, golden hues of red and yellow leaves in fall, snow in winter and the famous pink sakura’s during spring time.

 

I actually really enjoyed the train ride from the city to Lake Okutama. The ever-changing landscapes are quite fascinating to observe as the train speeds by. Plus, if you go during non-peak hours, the train is less typically crowded, unlike what you usually get commuting between the busier stations in the city.

Directions are quite straight-forward: From Shinjuku, take the JR line to Tachikawa Station and change to the JR Oume Line. I alighted at Oume Station and stayed over in a Ryokan for the night before continuing my journey from Oume to Okutama, which is a straight train. From Okutama Station, there is a bus that goes straight to the lake. The bus stop is just across the road from the station.

We arrived Lake Okutama early in the morning. Although the weather was quite rainy and wet, there was still an unspoken charm to it. The mist over floating over the lake and the casual breeze on my face was absolutely magical. James and I spent some silent moments appreciating the wonders of nature and it’s glory.

Although there were a few other recommended places to explore like the Ogouchi Dam, waterfalls, valleys and caves, we stayed around the vicinity of the lake and trekked around some parts of it before it was time for us to head back to the city.

 

If you follow my travels on instagram #melissackohinJAPAN, you’d notice that most of it typically revolves around Tokyo city but discovering this gem gave me a new perspective of what Tokyo has to offer and I’d highly recommend it to those who are looking for a detox and some contrast from the busy city life.

This visit to Okutama was a part of the Tama Shima PR project sponsored by Tokyo metropolitan government.

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