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Goin’ Japanesque!

Okutama Area in Tokyo Suburb: Big Nature & Magnificent Autumn Leaves

Now the autumn is deepening in Japan. Many people may be wondering where to go to catch the best autumn foliage this year by getting information from radio or TV.

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We are introducing a great spot for the fall foliage today, Okutama area, which is located in the westernmost corner of Tokyo. Okutama area is famous for the autumnal leaves, but there are many other ways to have fun there including hiking. Though it is only 2 hours away from downtown Tokyo by train, you can enjoy wholesome nature and gorgeous fall foliage. We would like to recommend this area particularly for international visitors, too.


It’s Like a Picture-Postcard! Don’t Miss the View from the Bridge

One of the best features of Okutama is the big nature shaped with valleys and surrounding majestic mountains. When the fall foliage season arrives, red and golden leaves make the mountains more colorful, and they charm viewers ever more deeply.

Bridges cross the valleys of Okutama in many places and there you can find must-see marvelous views.

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The first view we present is the autumn leaves viewed from the bridge of Higashinagahata-bashi, which is located on the other side of the Atago Tunnel.

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We saw the leaves had already changed colors on the opposite side of the bridge, too. On the closer side in the photo to the far away mountains, the fall foliage and the valley stretch all the way.

You will feel soothed as you enjoy the foliage with your eyes and hearts, and feel that you have absorbed the power of the nature.

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It was raining lightly on the day we visited, and the highest temperature was 11 degrees Celsius and the lowest, 5.1 degrees. Though it is in Tokyo, the area is surrounded by mountains and it was quite chilly. I felt happy and satisfied by viewing beautiful fall foliage despite being cold.


Shiromaru Dam: Was this Used for filming that TV Program?

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Next one up is Shiromaru Dam. The dam is located about a 10 minute walk from the Hatonosu Station. It was constructed in 1963 and being dedicated to power generation, it can generate electricity up to 16,400kWh. The dam has a fish ladder to allow fish to go through the dam, and this ladder has apparently become quietly popular in recent years. This appears to be a great place for both adults and children to learn about nature.

And I heard this dam was used as a filming location for the ending scene of the TV series “Android Kikaider’. I looked for more information on the Internet, but I couldn’t find anything unfortunately. The program also used Ogouchi Dam, located upstream from the Shiromaru Dam, for filming the first episode of the series apparently.

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If the weather is fine, you can enjoy emerald green glow of the dam lake.

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Instead I could take in the transparent feeling of the air and fragrance of plants more than usual, thanks to the light rain.


Different Bridges Offer Different Views of Fall Foliage

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This is the view of autumnal leaves from Kotoura-bashi bridge.

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This is the foliage on the opposite side of the bridge, and my personal favorite spot. It’s like natural illumination with red and yellow mixing. Colored leaves were decorating the surface of the mountains gorgeously.

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I am afraid of heights, but ventured to take photos of the view below the bridge. It was scary…


I Recommend the Bridge on “Mukashi-michi”, too!

Finally we went through Oomugishiro Tunnel, turned left, then headed for “Okutama Mukashi-michi”. We were looking forward to coming to Doudokoro-bashi on that road, too.

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He is entranced by the foliage seen so closely.

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When we were walking, landscape such as this appeared on our right and entertained us along the way.

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I was so impressed at the view we had from the Doudokoro-bashi. Incidentally, the signboard warned us not to cross the bridge in a group over 5 people.

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We took this photo from the bridge. There was no one around on the day we visited, and we could only hear the murmur of the river in total silence. I couldn’t believe we were in Tokyo.


How did you like it?  Okutama is great for the autumn foliage and you can visit there on a day trip from Tokyo. You can enjoy the autumnal leaves in any locations.

I imagine our Japanese ancestors looked forward to the season of the fall foliage, and reflected beautiful colors on their eyes while enjoying them. When we ponder how our ancestors lived, listening to the murmur of the river, watching the autumn leaves, feeling seasons through the nature, it may give us a chance to think about our criteria for happiness.

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About the author

Hi! I am Chieko, who loves many aspects of culture in the world. Especially, I am curious about mysterious things, such as legends. Also, I would like to introduce some nice places to visit in Japan. Thank you for your interest in my articles.

View all articles by Chieko