Tama River Headwaters – relaxed

Did you know that you could bike around beautiful mountain forests and pristine river valleys without leaving Tokyo? In less than one hour on a local train from bustling Shinjuku station in central Tokyo, you are ready to hop on the saddle and start biking in the laid-back suburb of Tokyo. Pedaling along the Tama River upstream, we cycle into the westernmost part of Tokyo that does not feel like part of Tokyo at all. We spend one night at a shukubo (lodge for pilgrims) in Mount Mitake, a great way to experience the traditional Japanese lifestyle. On the second day, we bike on Okutama Mukashi Michi, a beautiful trail that takes us through forests and pastoral villages. It offers breath-taking views of the surrounding mountains and river valleys. After lunch by Lake Okutama and a quick dip in an onsen (hot spring bath), the trip ends at the Okutama train station. You can catch a train back to central Tokyo. This trip will make you a perfect break from the city.

Note: Accommodations used for this trip have shared bathrooms only.

Trip Itinerary

Day 1 : Tama River and Mt. Mitake (34km)

We meet at the Hino train station at around 9:30am. Hino is easily accessible from central Tokyo – only 45 minutes away on a local train from Shinjuku. After briefing and shipping out your baggage, we start biking from Hino station and soon be on the Tama River cycling road. En route, we stop by a beautiful Japanese garden of Seiganin Temple and Negarami-mae rice paddy field. We stop for lunch in Ome and enjoy locally produced soba noodles. In the afternoon, we ride into the Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park. Scenery changes from that of idyllic suburbia to a picturesque mountain region. We finish biking for today at the foot of Mount Mitake, leave our bikes behind, and ride the cable car up the mountain. Tonight we stay at a shukubo (traditional Japanese-style lodge for pilgrims) near the mountain top. Enjoy delicious and healthy dinner, as well as quiet and peaceful times in pilgrims’ lodging with hundreds of years of history. (Lunch and dinner included)

Day 2 : Okutama (30km)

After breakfast, we take a short walk to the Musashi-Mitake Shrine on the mountain’s summit (929 meters), which is believed to serve as a center of mountain worship for almost 2000 years. The shrine’s stunning main hall and other structures, along with many stone monuments and a 1000-year old sacred tree in the surroundings, create a memorable and serene atmosphere. By mid-morning, we take the cable car down and be back on the bike. We bike on Okutama Mukashi Michi, a beautiful road that was once used for trading between Ome and Kai province (current Yamanashi). It leads us onto mountain trails (mostly paved, not hilly) that pass by pastoral villages and suspension bridges along the way. The ride offers magnificent natural scenery of surrounding mountains and river valleys. Riding on Okutama Mukashi Michi gives us a great insight into the old days’ Japanese rural life. We take a lunch break by Lake Okutama and then enjoy a smooth descent to the Okutama train station. After collecting your baggage and a quick dip in an onsen (natural hot spring bath) nearby, the tour ends. You can catch a train back to central Tokyo. (Breakfast and lunch included)