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Japan Okutama Lake Hiking

20 November 2018

Magnificent Lake Okutama

Well that all took longer than expected. So long that I didnt even come back to the hotel between todays activity and dinner, more on that later, this first part will be all about the lake.

The other day I went to Okutama, and climbed over a mountain. I do that. While I was there I noticed a lot of people went a different way and they all went to look at a lake. I did my research on that lake on the long train ride back that day, the lake is awesome, I must see it I thought! So today I went to see it. It was awesome. I am also awesome because I hiked to the lake from Okutama station (10km) then ran around most of the lake on the most amazing trail ever (additional 22km). So yeah, just casually walked/ran over 32km today all the time trying not to pass out from the excitement of looking at the amazing scenery.

There is a bus that will get you to most of the sites around the lake, but it wont go all the way around, and the best trail is between the dam and the last bus stop, which is a 12km trail.
If anyone reading this ever goes to that lake, please try and do the 12km hike around the back of the lake, its one of the best things I ever did in Japan.

I dont know why its not more popular, sun moon lake in Taiwan is insanely popular, personally I think Lake Okutama is better, but my visit to Sun Moon lake, which I also ran around, was in very bad weather and I nearly got hypothermia.

Anyway, waaaaaay too many photos, so I will do some more typing there.

Japan-Okutama-Lake-Hiking - OK, there are too many pics. So they wont all have witty (by my low standards of wit) descriptions. This is the start of part 1, getting to the lake f

OK, there are too many pics. So they wont all have witty (by my low standards of wit) descriptions. This is the start of part 1, getting to the lake from Okutama station. The view from over the bridge was good, just like the other day, only there was no sun at this point.


Japan-Okutama-Lake-Hiking - This is a different part of Okutama compared to the previous visit on Saturday, this side has a convenience store, how convenient!

This is a different part of Okutama compared to the previous visit on Saturday, this side has a convenience store, how convenient!


Japan-Okutama-Lake-Hiking - Starting on the path to the lake, you notice that there is an old train line and many tunnels. It has been abandoned for 50 years and was used to buil

Starting on the path to the lake, you notice that there is an old train line and many tunnels. It has been abandoned for 50 years and was used to build the hydroelectric plant at the lake. I read about it, the bridges on the old line have been collapsing, so you cant walk along the old line, stick to the official path! You can however periodically follow a staircase up to look in an old tunnel.


Japan-Okutama-Lake-Hiking - There is a bit of the old train line. It is actually a bridge going into a tunnel but it is so overgrown you cant really tell.

There is a bit of the old train line. It is actually a bridge going into a tunnel but it is so overgrown you cant really tell.


Japan-Okutama-Lake-Hiking - The path to the lake is an official tourist path, called the Mukashi Michi. There is plenty of info about it online, its 10km from the station to the

The path to the lake is an official tourist path, called the Mukashi Michi. There is plenty of info about it online, its 10km from the station to the lake. It is generally higher than the highway and does not cross as many bridges over the river. The views of the ravine are better from the highway.


Japan-Okutama-Lake-Hiking - Of course there are still views to be had, and there are many old Japanese people with their tripods taking photos of leaves. I should mention, on the

Of course there are still views to be had, and there are many old Japanese people with their tripods taking photos of leaves. I should mention, on the train I sat next to an old female retired doctor who chatted to me for half an hour. She climbs a mountain a week. We compared photos. Her husband still works and is too unfit to climb mountains. She was very surprised how many of the mountains near Tokyo I have climbed.


Japan-Okutama-Lake-Hiking - Just one of many opportunities to peer into the canyon with the river running through it.

Just one of many opportunities to peer into the canyon with the river running through it.


Japan-Okutama-Lake-Hiking - Here are some environmental terrorists that live along the tourist path (there are many little houses). These people are fully ready to burn timber al

Here are some environmental terrorists that live along the tourist path (there are many little houses). These people are fully ready to burn timber all through the winter and send polluting smoke into the skies to ruin my photos.


Japan-Okutama-Lake-Hiking - Some more colorful leaves. The descriptions of these photos are going to get shorter.

Some more colorful leaves. The descriptions of these photos are going to get shorter.


Japan-Okutama-Lake-Hiking - There are a couple of old bridges to climb over and take photos from. They move around a lot, and no more than 5 people at a time are allowed on the b

There are a couple of old bridges to climb over and take photos from. They move around a lot, and no more than 5 people at a time are allowed on the bridge.


Japan-Okutama-Lake-Hiking - View from bridge.

View from bridge.


Japan-Okutama-Lake-Hiking - View from bridge the other way. Check out the color of the water, someone dropped a box of pens into it to make it that color.

View from bridge the other way. Check out the color of the water, someone dropped a box of pens into it to make it that color.


Japan-Okutama-Lake-Hiking - Maybe you prefer portrait orientation? I very quickly edited all these raw images, I need to spend a bit more time...when I get a chance.

Maybe you prefer portrait orientation? I very quickly edited all these raw images, I need to spend a bit more time...when I get a chance.


Japan-Okutama-Lake-Hiking - Here is the view from the next scary little bridge made out of wood and wire.

Here is the view from the next scary little bridge made out of wood and wire.


Japan-Okutama-Lake-Hiking - The view the other way is even better.

The view the other way is even better.


Japan-Okutama-Lake-Hiking - Maybe you prefer portrait?

Maybe you prefer portrait?


Japan-Okutama-Lake-Hiking - Yes, it really was that red. There were 2 other people with tripods taking a photo from here. I pushed in front of them.

Yes, it really was that red. There were 2 other people with tripods taking a photo from here. I pushed in front of them.


Japan-Okutama-Lake-Hiking - I had already walked a long way along the tourist trail which was a mixture of gravel track and paved old road.

I had already walked a long way along the tourist trail which was a mixture of gravel track and paved old road.


Japan-Okutama-Lake-Hiking - Here is my first view of the dam, its so close but the trail takes you around up a valley past it and then back again. I think theres a shortcut along

Here is my first view of the dam, its so close but the trail takes you around up a valley past it and then back again. I think theres a shortcut along the main road. I dont ever take shortcuts.


Japan-Okutama-Lake-Hiking - It doesnt look like it, but that is very steep, thats the kind of shortcut I do take. Not today though.

It doesnt look like it, but that is very steep, thats the kind of shortcut I do take. Not today though.


Japan-Okutama-Lake-Hiking - First view of the lake. I am actually going away from it now and getting higher. I decided to stick to the path.

First view of the lake. I am actually going away from it now and getting higher. I decided to stick to the path.


Japan-Okutama-Lake-Hiking - The path soon descended into this dark valley. I liked it. I am glad I did not take the shortcut.

The path soon descended into this dark valley. I liked it. I am glad I did not take the shortcut.


Japan-Okutama-Lake-Hiking - Finally arrived at the lake! Time to get my lake on.

Finally arrived at the lake! Time to get my lake on.


Japan-Okutama-Lake-Hiking - Here is the dam. You will see later it is quite high up. It is both a hydroelectric plant and also the main source of water for Tokyo.

Here is the dam. You will see later it is quite high up. It is both a hydroelectric plant and also the main source of water for Tokyo.


Japan-Okutama-Lake-Hiking - I probably made a mistake in going the way I did. I had to follow the road. Luckily there was not much traffic, but there were excellent views!

I probably made a mistake in going the way I did. I had to follow the road. Luckily there was not much traffic, but there were excellent views!


Japan-Okutama-Lake-Hiking - Thankfully a bit of sun arrived. It did not last long, and by the time I was done for the day it had already descended behind the mountains.

Thankfully a bit of sun arrived. It did not last long, and by the time I was done for the day it had already descended behind the mountains.


Japan-Okutama-Lake-Hiking - Fantastic views!

Fantastic views!


Japan-Okutama-Lake-Hiking - As I mentioned, I was following the road, you are meant to take the bus. That means I went through 10 or so tunnels, that means I can stand in the mid

As I mentioned, I was following the road, you are meant to take the bus. That means I went through 10 or so tunnels, that means I can stand in the middle of the road and take photos like this.


Japan-Okutama-Lake-Hiking - This was the only tunnel with the red lighting. Not sure why. Definitely worth another tunnel photo to celebrate the red lighting.

This was the only tunnel with the red lighting. Not sure why. Definitely worth another tunnel photo to celebrate the red lighting.


Japan-Okutama-Lake-Hiking - More view. Despite the sun the cloud is still covering the tops of the mountains on the far side of the lake. I would run all the way around the edge

More view. Despite the sun the cloud is still covering the tops of the mountains on the far side of the lake. I would run all the way around the edge of every part of the lake you have seen so far.


Japan-Okutama-Lake-Hiking - A red bridge! Everyone loves a red bridge.

A red bridge! Everyone loves a red bridge.


Japan-Okutama-Lake-Hiking - A red bridge is an opportunity for me to stand in the road again and hope the traffic behind me isnt a silent electric car I dont hear coming.

A red bridge is an opportunity for me to stand in the road again and hope the traffic behind me isnt a silent electric car I dont hear coming.


Japan-Okutama-Lake-Hiking - OK, about 10km around the lake you get to this pontoon bridge. It was decision time since I had gone the wrong way. Do I now run the 12km back around

OK, about 10km around the lake you get to this pontoon bridge. It was decision time since I had gone the wrong way. Do I now run the 12km back around the other side of the lake, or double back / catch the bus from here? I would be leaving the road at this point. I think everyone knows the choice I would make?


Japan-Okutama-Lake-Hiking - Pontoon view 1 of 2. That is the area of the lake beyond the pontoon that I would not be running around.

Pontoon view 1 of 2. That is the area of the lake beyond the pontoon that I would not be running around.


Japan-Okutama-Lake-Hiking - Pontoon view 2 of 2. I would be running the 12km trail around the base of the lake to the right of this picture.

Pontoon view 2 of 2. I would be running the 12km trail around the base of the lake to the right of this picture.


Japan-Okutama-Lake-Hiking - The path around here was superb, such amazing views.

The path around here was superb, such amazing views.


Japan-Okutama-Lake-Hiking - More amazing views.

More amazing views.


Japan-Okutama-Lake-Hiking - It just gets better.

It just gets better.


Japan-Okutama-Lake-Hiking - It was a very high quality path, with distance markers. Quite smooth, not many ups and downs. I fell over once at a rare time while I was walking. Ski

It was a very high quality path, with distance markers. Quite smooth, not many ups and downs. I fell over once at a rare time while I was walking. Skin removed on one knee and one elbow. Oh well.


Japan-Okutama-Lake-Hiking - Hmm, this is photo 1000. This photo is not worthy of being 1000. I never got to 1000 on any previous trip.

Hmm, this is photo 1000. This photo is not worthy of being 1000. I never got to 1000 on any previous trip.


Japan-Okutama-Lake-Hiking - I knew it was 12km from the pontoon bridge back to the dam, at times it didnt look that far, but then you would be sent off down another long arm of t

I knew it was 12km from the pontoon bridge back to the dam, at times it didnt look that far, but then you would be sent off down another long arm of the lake.


Japan-Okutama-Lake-Hiking - I didnt mind, 12km is 12km, I ran 90% of it and the view was totally worth it.

I didnt mind, 12km is 12km, I ran 90% of it and the view was totally worth it.


Japan-Okutama-Lake-Hiking - There were plenty of spots to stop and take a photo of the lake.

There were plenty of spots to stop and take a photo of the lake.


Japan-Okutama-Lake-Hiking - Theres proabably 5 or so long detours down arms of the lake. I dont know what else to call them. Its all fake of course, man made due to the dam.

Theres proabably 5 or so long detours down arms of the lake. I dont know what else to call them. Its all fake of course, man made due to the dam.


Japan-Okutama-Lake-Hiking - Down the longest detour I followed a stream for a while, then over it on a little wooden bridge, then back up the other side.

Down the longest detour I followed a stream for a while, then over it on a little wooden bridge, then back up the other side.


Japan-Okutama-Lake-Hiking - Now for 3 photos that could have been culled. Culling candidate 1 of 3.

Now for 3 photos that could have been culled. Culling candidate 1 of 3.


Japan-Okutama-Lake-Hiking - Culling candidate 2 of 3.

Culling candidate 2 of 3.


Japan-Okutama-Lake-Hiking - Final culling candidate. They cant be culled now, once they are uploaded its done.

Final culling candidate. They cant be culled now, once they are uploaded its done.


Japan-Okutama-Lake-Hiking - I was finally back at the dam. Here is the dam wall. As always, its further down than the photo makes it appear.

I was finally back at the dam. Here is the dam wall. As always, its further down than the photo makes it appear.


Japan-Okutama-Lake-Hiking - One last chance to stand in the middle of a road.

One last chance to stand in the middle of a road.


Japan-Okutama-Lake-Hiking - I guess it looks quite high from this point. The ravines / canyons down stream that I like so much are created by this dam. Thank you dam.

I guess it looks quite high from this point. The ravines / canyons down stream that I like so much are created by this dam. Thank you dam.


Japan-Okutama-Lake-Hiking - One last dam shot.

One last dam shot.


Japan-Okutama-Lake-Hiking - I was running out of light so decided to wait 35 minutes for the bus back to the station. The dam museum has a little shop. Time for an ice cream!

I was running out of light so decided to wait 35 minutes for the bus back to the station. The dam museum has a little shop. Time for an ice cream!


Japan-Okutama-Lake-Hiking - The dam museum is free and pretty good. Lots of little exhibitions to keep me enthralled until my bus arrived. Now onto the long journey home!

The dam museum is free and pretty good. Lots of little exhibitions to keep me enthralled until my bus arrived.
Now onto the long journey home!


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