Michael Ying

Otama Trail

Tokyo's secret hike

Michael Ying
Michael Ying   - 2 min read

There are many things to love about greater Tokyo and the many activities it offers. One of the most prized qualities is how easily beautiful treks and hikes are accessible just outside the city. Most are familiar with Mt. Takao, Mt. Mitake, or the Kamakura Alps, but one of the lesser known trails is actually the most beautiful in my eyes. 

Otama trail is located in Okutama, Ome which is just an hour and fifteen minutes from Shinjuku station on the Chuo line. There are multiple entrances to the trail but the most common is to start from Kori station and walk to Okutama station. The trail is incredibly varied, trekking along the Okutama river. This trail is beautiful throughout the year as the seasonal trees will change the color of the valley. 

Normally the trail can be quite fast but this is one of the few treks where the walker can take their time. There are plenty of bridges that span across the valley, and restaurants that are along the river. The valley is a deep beautiful green with turquoise hues along the river. Many come to the river to fish while others come to kayak or white water raft. There are varies shrines along the trail as well. The walk embodies the word peaceful and it's normally not crowded like the other tourist attractions such as Mitake or Takao. 

Along the trail there are some interesting sites including an abandoned ryokan, waterfalls, and towards the end of the trail a power station. During the summer even on the hottest of days, the Okutama river is so cold it acts as a natural air conditioner in the forest! But even still remember to bring lots of water because there aren't many convenience stores or vending machines along the way. 

The trail starts off as a more traditional hike, moving up along the ridge of river and then moves towards a flatter journey towards the dam. If one is so inclined they can take the bus to Okutama lake or visit the rock cave at the end of the trail. 

If you love nature I cannot recommend a more beautiful hike than Otama trail.  

Michael Ying

Michael Ying @michael.ying

Originally from San Francisco, I graduated from UC Berkeley in 2011 and have been living in Tokyo since 2014. I'm currently a photographer and dancer, and spend most of my free time finding new places to eat. I love it here in Tokyo! Insta: mikemisc