Tokyo may be one of the smallest prefectures in Japan yet it does have some far flung places. The Izu and Ogasawara Islands are obviously the most extreme ones as they extend as far as 1,850 kilometres south of central Tokyo. By contrast, Okutama on the Ome Line is a modest 70+ kilometres from downtown Tokyo and can take between 90 and 120 minutes to get there.
I’ve been out to this part of Tokyo a few times but they have always been to Mitake in the name of climbing Mount Mitake. Despite being so close, I’ve still never been to Okutama itself but that will happen one day I’m sure. Shiromaru Dam Fish Ladder was my destination on a busy day which started early as I left the Tokyo Fox Global Operations Centre just after 7am. It’s pretty much equidistant (under 15 minutes on foot) between Hatonosu and Shiromaru stations so I went to the latter which is the penultimate stop on the Ome Line and the views and natural colours along the way were quite stunning. The fish ladder, which was constructed in 2002, is 330 metres in length and drops 27 metres
Adjacent to the dam is a fairly simple looking building but it’s one that greatly hides what is hidden beneath it. A huge staircase takes visitors (free admission) spiralling down towards subterranean-like exploration and offers some respite from the heat. A long passageway then takes you under the dam and you can see how Japan’s longest fish ladder helps fish migrate upstream. It may seem a little crazy but it’s actually quite a revolutionary feat of engineering.
I was quite surprised to have finished so quickly that I was able to get the next train out of Hatonosu Station (below) at 10:35 am which saved me a fair bit of time as the trains are not so regular out in this part of Tokyo.
Ome Railway Park was the final place I went to in the vicinity of Ome Station and once I was done there I walked on to Higashi Ome Station which took about 15 minutes. Not too far from the station is Mitsubishi House (below) which seems to be a retro building fitting in well with the nostalgic feeling of the city. The Mitsubishi three red diamonds are slightly faded and the windows are boarded up. I’m afraid to say that I have absolutely no idea about what this place is or was but if anyone does know then please leave a comment below.
Fussa is about 40 kilometres from Tokyo city centre and it’s City Hall (below) is an architectural building that I wanted to see. It was designed by Japanese architect Riken Yamamoto and was completed ten years ago. The skin of the towers transfers into the landscape. It’s only an eight minute walk south-west of the station
The final stop of the day was at Musashi Sakai Station, and 25 minutes away from there going south was Japan Lutheran College (3-10-20 Osawa, Mitaka-shi). This private university (below) in Mitaka city has been around since the mid-1960’s although the present name was only adopted in 1996.
As I was walking from the station I felt like I’d been there before but couldn’t work out when and why for ages. As I was returning to the station by bus I finally realised that I came to this area six years ago in search of the colourful Reversible Destiny Lofts (below) which featured as the Tokyo studio apartment for three series of ‘Jonathan Ross’ Japanorama’ on the BBC. It appeared on this site in the ‘Tokyo Modern Architecture #1‘ post.
Click here to read ‘Tokyo Daytripper: Ome’