Okutama Lake Area
Okutama Lake: The construction of the Ogouchi Dam, which dams up the Tama River, was completed in 1957. Okutama Lake resulted from this dam serves as a water source for Tokyo citizens and is also used for hydropower generation. On the lake side, cherry blossoms in spring and reddish and yellowish leaves in autumn are particularly admirable.
Two Floating Bridges on Okutama Lake: There are two floating bridges on Okutama Lake: the Mugiyama Floating Bridge and Tozura Floating Bridge which connect the north shore and south shore of the lake. Drums were used as floats of these bridges before, but in the present day, floats made of synthetic-resin have substituted for these drums. However, some people still call these bridges drum bridges. Standing on one of these bridges, you may feel as if you were floating on the lake surface. Also, you can enjoy a view from these bridges in a way that is different than from the lakeside.
Yama-no-Furusato-Mura (Mountain Home Village): Yama-no-Furusato-Mura is natural park facilities located on the south side of Okutama Lake. The facilities include the Visitor Center (offering nature explanation, exhibition, and opportunities for nature observation experience), accommodation facilities, restaurants, campgrounds, and barbecue sites.
Okutama Mizu-to-Midori-no-Fureaikan (Okutama Water and Green Museum): This museum, located aside the dam, is jointly run by the Bureau of Waterworks, Tokyo Metropolitan Government and Okutama Town. There, you can learn about nature and history of Okutama, importance of water and nature, mechanism of the dam, etc. There is a restaurant on the topmost floor of this museum, and personally, I like Sansui Teishoku lunch there. This lunch includes fried fillet of an Okutama Yamame trout, which is quite nice.
Okutama Mukashimichi (Old Pathway of Okutama): It is a 13-minute bus ride from JR Okutama Station to Okutama Lake, but if you have sufficient time, you may want to walk along the Okutama Mukashimichi Pathway. The pathway is also called the Old Ome Kaido Street. Before the present Ome Kaido Street (Route 411), which was developed and had been used for transportation of materials for the construction of the Ogouchi Dam, became available for use by the general public, the pathway had been used as a community road by local people. If you walk along the pathway, you will find interesting things representing the life of local people in the olden days, such as shrines, stone statues, suspension bridges, and ruins of old rest station, as well as beautiful views of valleys and mountains. To start walking on the pathway, go westward from SHOGETSUDO along the Ome Kaido Street for about 150 m, and then take a right turn at the traffic light.
Nippara Shonyudo (Nippara Limestone Cavern): Many of the mountains in Okutama are lime stone mountains, and there is a rock quarry that yields lime stone. The Nippara area is also well known for the big lime stone cavern named Nippara Shonyudo, which boasts the greatest scale in the Kanto region and has been designated as a natural treasure of Tokyo.
Nippara Shinrinkan (Nippara Forest Information Center): Nippara is also famous as a home of massive trees. The Nippara Shinrinkan, as an information center of massive trees, collects and provides information about massive trees. Provided information is well organized and sorted by areas from the Okutama Town level to country-wide level and by classifications.
Hikawa and Kawai Area
Walking Trails: There are well maintained walking trails along the Tama River, and you can easily enjoy a relaxing walk.
The Hikawa Valley Trail is a walking trail that is near SHOGETSUDO. The trail travels around the meeting point of the Nippara River and Tama River. On the way of this trail, there are two suspension bridges: the Hikawa Kobashi Bridge over the Nippara River and the Toke Bridge on the Tama River. You can enjoy wonderful views from these two bridges. There are other walking trails such as the Toke Trail and Ohtama Walking Trail. The Toke Picnic Site serves as a nice rest station for walkers.
Shiromaru Dam Fish Pass: The Shiromaru Dam is located on the Tama River at a point in approximately the same distance from JR Shiromaru Station and JR Hatonosu Station. The small lake resulted from the dam is called Shiromaru Chosei Ike (Shiromaru Adjusting Pond). The dam has a fish pass (Shiromau Dam Fish Pass) so that fishes such as rainbow trout, yamame trout, and chub can swim upstream. You can take a study tour of the facilities of this fish pass for free of charge. A fish pass is a series of small weirs arranged along a stream, and these weirs help fishes swim upstream easily. In the case of the Shiromaru Dam Fish Pass, fish swim upstream along the outdoor part of the fish pass in the beginning. Then, they enter the tunnel to go through the underground part, which is open for study tours for visitors. The entrance to the underground part is open as a huge deep vertical hole. Visitors are to go down along the spiral stars installed inside wall of the vertical hole. You may feel as if you were leaving for an underground exploration. In a summer season, it is cool and comfortable in the underground environment.
Hatonosu Keikoku (Hatonosu Valley): This valley, where the Tama River runs through between massive rocks and oddly-shaped rocks, is famous for its beautiful view. Get off the train at JR Hatonosu Station, and walk across the Ome Kaido Street. From the Hatonosu Kobashi Bridge or Unzen Bridge over the Tama River, you can look down the valley to enjoy a stunning vista.