When it comes to day trips from Tokyo most people usually think of Nikko, Kamakura, or Hakone but there is one very nice place about 90 minutes away from Shinjuku and unbelievably it is still in Tokyo! Ōme Station is located in the Okutama Mountains of western Tokyo and the city is famed for some retro museums (aren’t most museums retro?!) and the streets and shops are decorated with some beautiful vintage hand painted movie posters. Even the station has an old fashioned feel about it and it was a place I vaguely remember from trips to climb Mount Mitake in 2005 and 2016.
My first job though was to locate a large daruma (203 Honcho, Oume-shi) which I knew to be by the tracks just a few minutes walk east of the station. Daruma is a traditional Japanese buddhist doll deemed to bring good luck when given as a gift of encouragement. This one is huge though and I had to go to the north side of the track to see it on the other side. I also needed to be quick to get a train in my shot as one was leaving 12 minutes after I arrived.
Ome is supposedly famed for its cat alley and I thought I had found it when I came across this building and sign. However, I couldn’t find the lane which is supposedly dotted with various cat pictures, signs, drawings and so on.
Just beyond that was a unique looking phone box and this was basically my entry point for a whole host of vintage film posters including ‘The Waterloo Bridge‘ (1940), ‘My Darling Clementine‘ (1946), ‘The Third Man‘ (1949), ‘Singin’ In The Rain‘ (1952), ‘Shane‘ (1953), ‘How To Marry A Millionaire‘ (1953), ‘Roman Holiday‘ (1953), ‘Godzilla‘ (1954), ‘Some Like It Hot‘ (1959), ‘Breakfast At Tiffany’s‘ (1961), and a generic James Bond one among many others. There are supposedly 100 in total but I couldn’t find a couple of them.
There are three museums in Ome and a discount pass is available for them but I was only interested in two of them with my priority being the Retro Museum of Packaging (65 Sumiechō, Oume-shi). It cost 450 yen to enter but bizarrely I had to buy the ticket next door in the Akatsuka Fujio Kaikan museum.
The retro museum exhibits goods from the Showa Period (1926–1989) with the vast majority of them being the collection of Tsutomu Kushima, a researcher of Showa Period B-list culture. One mans junk is another mans treasure is an old saying which is rather apt for this place which reminded me very much of the decor at Donguri floating restaurant in Numazu or the Ayashii Shonen Shojo (Mysterious Boys and Girls) and Maboroshi Museum‘s in Izu. The centrepiece of the museum is a period-replica candy store.
There are a whole host of Coca Cola exhibits and one of them was a Star Wars R2D2 can holder which in recent times became more synonymous with rivals Pepsi.
Other retro items include toiletries, sweets, drinks, medicine, matchboxes, stationery, toys and sundries. The second floor is dedicated to Japanese spirit Yuki Onna a.k.a. snow woman.
About 80 metres down the road on the opposite side was Shōwa Gentō-kan (9 Sumiechō, Oume-shi). This was the other museum I was interested in but this was much smaller and I didn’t spend more than a few minutes in it. Entrance was 250 yen.
Feeling a bit peckish, I tried to find the Papua New Guinea restaurant, included in my ‘Dining Out: One Of A Kind‘ post last year, but sadly that particular part of Ome had been bulldozed and was under construction. Either that or it’s moved or I just had the wrong address! I walked round the area many times in search of it but eventually I had to concede defeat and returned to the station area and took the two pictures below.
When I left Ome Station I turned left and headed for the daruma but if I’d gone a few metres to the right I would have noticed the tourist information centre and been able to get a map showing where each and every vintage movie painting was. Instead, I got it as I was leaving that particular area and heading slightly north of the station to Ome Railway Park (2-2-155 Katsunuma, Oume-shi) which is just over ten minutes away on foot.
Entrance was only 100 yen and it was a nice place to take a break for a bit after a long and busy morning. The museum building consists of a few floors featuring everything you’d expect from such a place; model railways, train simulators, historic railway pictures, maps and the ubiquitous souvenir shop! The roof area was also open for some nice views looking east towards the concrete jungle. The best stuff is outside though where there are a fair few train engines that can be explored.
I didn’t return to Ōme Station but instead walked on to Higashi Ōme Station as I wanted to see something there before edging my way back towards central Tokyo via a couple of other stops.
Click here to read ‘Tokyo Daytripper: Before And After Ome’