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Beyond Tokyo’s 23 wards: Exploring west Tokyo and its remote islands

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By Johannes Schonherr

A trip to Tokyo can get crazy—from the brightly lit, confusing parade of neon lights and pedestrian-heavy streets of Kabukicho to Harajuku’s wild fashion and the bustling crowds hurrying across Shibuya’s Scramble Crossing.

These attractions show up on most tourists’ bucket lists, but Japan’s capital city—home to some 14 million people—is even more extensive than you might think. Tokyo truly has it all, with landscapes that include sweeping mountains, lush forests and even subtropical islands.

A view from the top floors of the Tocho, or Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building in Shinjuku—the tallest city hall in the world—won’t reveal it all. However, it does offer sweeping views just beyond the concrete jungle of the city below—a good starting point.

Ready to explore more?

Tama region

Okutama-Tokyo.jpg
Okutama in autumn

The Tama region encompasses all areas of Tokyo west of the 23 wards. Get on a westbound JR Chuo line train at Shinjuku station. It will take you to Takao station, offering convenient access to Mount Takao, a top-rated Tokyo day trip destination. Sure, Mount Takao is already in the mountains, but you aren’t getting away from the Shinjuku crowds yet. 

Change at Tachikawa for the Ome line. That leads you into a much quieter region. Ome is a quaint little town most notable for all the hand-painted classic Hollywood and Japanese movie posters located on almost every corner. These are the work of an Ome-based artist trained in the trade back in the 1960s, the era of Japanese directors like Akira Kurosawa and Seijun Suzuki. 

After a short visit, you’ll undoubtedly want to get further out exploring. From Ome, take the Okutama line. Consider a stop at Mitake station to trek up Mount Mitake, home to an impressive ancient combination of Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples offering plenty of shukubo, or Buddhist pilgrim guest houses, which are open to tourists. Being up on Mount Mitake, you may still spot Tokyo Skytree in the distance on a clear day, but it already feels like being lightyears away from the city. 

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© GaijinPot

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

2 Comments
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Some pretty nice country out there. You might not know you were still in Tokyo.

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We didn't leave Tokyo prefecture for our family summer holiday this year, we just did lot's of day trips within it which was an awesome time, with hardly any one at any of the places.

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