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Otaki Falls

August 27th, 2003

Hiromi had been urging me to go with her on a hike to a waterfall she knows and loves, up in the mountains beyond Oku-Tama, in the westernmost portions of Tokyo Prefecture. I’ve been right there with her for some time, but the weather never cooperated with us. With the extended rainy season and a couple of typhoons, every time we thought we could go, we got rained out. But finally, the weather and our schedules granted us a free day with sunny weather on Monday, and we took it.

The train ride to Oku-tama is a bit of a trip, taking three different trains, and an hour and a half to get there. We left at about 8:30 am. After Ome Station, trains leave for Oku-Tama only every half-hour–uncommonly sparse for railway service in Tokyo. When we got there, we got our gear together and headed off for the park, on foot–a five-kilometer or more hike, almost all the way uphill. It being summer in Japan, the weather was hot and humid, and so in the traditional Poza fashion, I sweated buckets. Not being a that good shape (I do sit in front of the computer a lot), we had to rest a few times along the way, especially when the uphill climb became somewhat steep.

But the scenery was beautiful all along the way, including the early climb. Every corner we came to, it seemed, we were greeted with scenery like you see below.

We also met our share of winged and scaled passers-by, including this rather beautiful butterfly.

In the park itself, things cooled down considerably, with the shade of the forest and the mist from the many waterfalls, many small, and a few rather large. But our destination was Otaki, a fairly large waterfall (well, certainly not by Yosemite standards, but still impressive for Tokyo), where Hiromi knew we could find a small open space in front of the falls to lay down a tarp and enjoy a nice picnic–and that is exactly what we did when we got there.

We spent a few hours eating lunch (gyoza, sandwiches, assorted drinks and snacks), taking photos, and sitting together, taking in the sight. Only once did a few other people come in for a few minutes, taking cell-phone photos as they walked through; other than that, we had it all to ourselves. When it was getting a bit late, we packed up our trash and left, making our way back down the trail. My knee complained more than my muscles; it’s always hardest going down for that reason. But it was still a beautiful view, as the sun set behind the hills.

By the time we got back to Tachikawa, the last transfer station, and parted ways, it was well after dark, about 8:00 pm. A wonderful way to spend a day off during the summer.

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  1. August 27th, 2003 at 20:39 | #1

    Wow, this place looks great! You’ll have to tell me how to get there sometime. I doubt we can go any time soon (what with a late-term pregnancy and all that), but maybe next spring, after the baby is born, we can go.

    Very nice pics! You need to set aside a photo gallery.

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