Category Archives: Fussa Sightseeing

Oudoor Pools open during Summer

Here is a list of local outdoor pools open during the summer months – culled in 2012 by Shelby Hansen and passed along to Emily Parks who graciously shared it with us!  It would be wonderful to have full posts for each one of these.  If you go to one we haven’t already covered, please consider sending us a trip report.  Thank you!

Fussa Pool (first week July – first of Sept)  Open Daily. 9am-6pm. ¥200 for HS age and up, ¥100 for MS age and younger (2 hrs).  Free parking available.  Features: kid’s splash pool, simple water slides.

Hamura Pool (Mid July- first of Sept) Open Daily. 10am-6pm. ¥300 for HS+, ¥100 for MS – (2 hrs) (double for full day).  Parking available.  Features: kid’s splash pool, water slide, lazy river.  -For more information: Hamura Community Water Park

Rainbow Pool (Showa Park) (Mid July – first of Sept) Open Daily.  9:30am-6:30pm (only ’til 5:30pm weekdays in July, only ’til 6pm daily from 8/20 on). ¥2,200 for HS+, ¥1,200 for ES/MS, ¥300 yen ages 4-5, 3- free (¥500 maternity price) (full day price).  Parking available (¥800/day) (A free Park bus can take you to the pool from the Sunagawa or Tachikawa Park entrances). Features: multiple kid’s splash pools, lazy river, wave pool, water slides (for 120cm+; yellow one is for smaller kids), concessions.  Discounts on admission for paying by SUICA/PASMO (minus ¥400 for HS+), or smaller discount just for showing SUICA/PASMO (minus ¥200 for HS+).  For more information: Showa Kinen Park: Rainbow Pools.

Higashi Yamato Pool (Mid July – August 31). Open Daily 10am-6pm (only 1:30pm-6pm 7/17-20) ¥300 for HS+, ¥100 for MS, ¥50 for ES, free for 5 and under (2 hrs). No parking (though the Ito Yokado store next door has a free parking garage…and a Baskin Robins).  Features: kid’s splash pool, lazy river, water slides.

Driving directions to Higashi Yamato Pool: Go right out the east gate, turn LEFT on the 7 and go 6 km, at Imokubo Hwy turn LEFT (the large blue sign points to Imokubo, the street name is Sunagawa Nana-something), go through the tunnel under the train station and turn RIGHT at the light, come to a T intersection and turn LEFT. The pool will be on your right and they do have free parking!

Fuchuu Miyoshi Mizuasobi Hiroba (Splash Pad near Tama Hills) (late July – August 31) Open for three blocks each day 10am-12pm, 1pm-3pm, 3:30pm-5:30pm (some closures during open season) ¥160 for adults, ¥100 for HS, ¥40 for MS- (they may charge half this if they don’t ask if you’re a city resident). No parking.  Features: splash pool, simple water slides. Swim Diapers OK.

Fuchuu Kyodo no Mori Pool (near Tama Hills) (late July – August 31). Open Daily 10am-5pm. ¥300 for adults, ¥200 for HS, ¥100 for MS- (2 hrs) Parking available.  Features: kid’s splash pool with slides, lazy river, water slide (for older kids).

Inagi Pool (near Tama Hills) (mid July – August 31) Open Daily. 9:30am-5pm. ¥200 for adults, ¥50 yen for kids (2 hrs). No parking. Features: kid’s splash pool, simple water slides, lazy river.

Fussa Recycle Center

rc-view4The Fussa Recycle Center is a small second hand store about 10 minutes from the East Gate. The building is an unassuming silver warehouse located down a quiet country road. There you’ll find a small display of dishes and decorative items, a number of bicycles, a few clothes, and a large selection of wardrobes, desks, and tables. The prices are excellent, with dishes in rc-view5the ¥50 range and most of the furniture ranging from ¥2500-¥7500. It isn’t the largest thrift store in the area, by far, but it’s a good place to look for bicycles and furniture, and — when I was there, at least — a lot of metal shelving perfect for use in the tower storage sheds.  Open daily (I think daily) 10am – 4pm.  GPS Coordinates: 35.736341,139.356959.
rc-recylce-center-buildingDIRECTIONS: To get there, take a right out of the East Gate, then take the first right, at the stoplight. Continue down that road until you are just about even with the base hospital on your right, when you’ll see a little country road on your left. Follow that road past some fields until you see a big gray building on your right; that’s the Recycle Center. Go through the little gate and park in the lot, there. (If you miss the final left turn, don’t worry; the road will curve to the left alongside the base, and the Recycle Center will be on your left instead of your right. Just follow the road around the building and take a left, then an immediate left into the parking lot.) When you arrive, you’ll be expected to switch out your shoes for a pair of slippers in the atrium. An elderly gentleman seems to run the place, so be sure to be on your best Japanese manners.  Scroll down for more photos.  – Roxanne Ready, May 2013.

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Yasaka Garden Center

photogarden kelly odonnellI call this place “mini Joyful Honda.” It’s a great garden and home improvement center that is even closer to base than Joyful Honda. I go here if I just need a few things and don’t want the hassle of the Joyful Honda parking and that whole overwhelming experience. This place is called Yasaka and it has a great garden center with lots of plants and flowers. They sell potting soil and pots and anything you would need for your summer garden. They even sell some outdoor furniture, grills, etc…pretty much anything you would find at a small home improvement store. You would never find it from the main road since it’s pretty hidden on a small side street. My Japanese friend showed me one day.
photogarden2 by kelly odonnellDIRECTIONS: It’s actually right near the Seiyu. Just go past the Seiyu parking lot (overpass) and continue for 4 street lights. You will see a blue P “parking” sign on the left. Take that left turn and then an immediate right onto a very narrow (blind spot with mirror) road and it is right there. There is ample free parking right across the street. GPS:  35.747497,139.324443.  – Kelly O’Donnell, May 2013.

Tama River Trail

If you are looking for a place to bike or run, consider the paved trail that follows the Tama River.  It starts in Hamura and continues 48 kilometers.  It runs close enough to Tama Hills Recreation area that it can be used as a path to run or bike there, though you’ll need to navigate some city streets to reach this destination.  During the spring, the cherry trees bloom over the trail in Fussa, as seen in the photos above and below.  Also in Fussa, the trail passes a baseball field, tennis courts, a playground and an obstacle course park.  The trail goes under each of the bridges that cross the river, allowing for continuous riding/running.  There is a free parking lot near the ball field and playground at GPS coordinates:35.719771, 139.331241.   In the spring use this parking lot for the Fussa Cherry Blossom Festival which takes place along the trail just north of the parking lot.  - Sarah Straus; top photo by Alex Sparks, March 2013
Running/Biking DIRECTIONS: Head straight out of the Fussa Gate toward the Fussa Train Station on Route 165.  You’ll take Route 165 all the way to the river and trail.  Be sure to stay right at the fork in the road, pass over the train tracks and continue down Route 165 after the Fussa Train Station.  The trail picks up in both directions just before you cross the river.  Turn right on the trail towards Hamura for the short section of the trail (just a few kilometers).  Turn left on the trail for the longer section.

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DIRECTIONS to parking lot:  Turn left out of the Fussa Gate onto Route 16.  Continue on Route 16 as it curves right.  Turn Right onto Route 7.  (Note: I’m not sure how clear this right hand turn onto Route 7 is… if anyone finds a clear marker for this turn, let us know).  Turn left into the parking lot area just before Route 7 crosses Tama River.

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Fussa Roller Slide Park

This is a small roller slide park, great for an hour of play just outside the supply gate.  There is a play structure leading up to two roller slides.  Tall cherry trees provide shade.  Above the slides there is a nice place to sit and eat a snack. There are bathrooms.  GPS 35.73433, 139.33611.
Directions: One option is to park on base at the supply gate and walk.  The park is just 600 meters from the gate with sidewalks on either side of the street.  Head straight out the Supply gate onto 7.  Continue across the train tracks and turn right just after the blue pedestrian bridge.  The park will be on your right.  If you drive, follow the same directions as above.  I’ve seen people park along the street in front of the park, however, for parking information see the comments below. -Sarah Straus, October 2012, updated Dec 2013.  Looking for another playground in Fussa?  Try Fussa Playground.

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Discovering hidden Fussa: Two walking tours

Fussa – 福生

Let’s be frank: Fussa is not what you’d call “quaint.” It appears, like many communities in Tokyo’s orbit, to be a product of necessity, of unromantic economics and rapid development.
But you’ll see it in a new light if you take the time to poke around. First, you’ll find it’s an utterly fantastic asset to have just outside the gate. Fussa is a walkable city and a bike-friendly place. Its train station, a mere 12-minute walk from Fussa Gate, connects you to the national rail system, to Tokyo, and to the whole of Japan. The Tama River, on the city’s western flank, provides a quick nature fix and has endless trails for walking, running and biking. Its stores and restaurants are good training grounds for you to trot out new Japanese phrases as you learn them and get used to commerce in Japan. Don’t be shy. You think you’re the first clueless American they’ve seen in these parts?
Just when you think Fussa is merely utilitarian you’ll start uncovering its secrets: Temples tucked away in neighborhoods. A little pastry shop. A watering hole where you feel you could become a regular. A sudden view of snow-covered Mt. Fuji. A clutch of older homes that, if you squint, gives you a peek at a previous century.
How do you find these hidden places? Read on, my friends. That’s what we’re here for.

Discovering hidden Fussa: Two walking tours

Fussa Restaurants

1. The West Route

This route will show you some of the Fussa gems that are concealed in plain sight. It’s about 3 miles long, if you take every side trail. It can easily be cut short – just make for Fussa Station and back to Fussa Gate. See the route map here. I’ve also posted it below. This makes an excellent bike tour, also.


View Fussa Walking Tour No. 1 in a larger map

Into the center
Start by walking out the Fussa Gate and cross the first set of tracks. Stay left at the “Y.” In 300 feet, pause to window-shop the tiny antique store on the right side of the street, right on the corner. It specializes in old electric sewing machines and post-War “Made in Japan” porcelain. Now continue down the street as you were. Cross the second set of tracks and go two more blocks. You’ve now gone 1km from Fussa gate and you’re at an intersection, with the main Fussa Post Office on your right and the Fussa City offices on your left. (GPS position: 35.739264, 139.326756)

To Shinmeisha Shrine
Turn right, onto Shin Okutama-Kaido and continue past the post office. Half a kilometer (a third of a mile) past the post office – having gone through five intersections, one with a traffic light – you will see a concrete elementary school on the right side of the street. (GPS: 35.74265, 139.32479). There’s a cute coffee shop on the left, with lots of mugs in the window. Stop in for a cuppa and continue down the street. You’ll see Skylark, and a noodle restaurant called Kama-Age, next to a fire station on the right side of the road. On the left is a cemetery. Next to the cemetery is the entrance to Shinmeisha Shrine. Note this location and ask yourself if you’re hungry. If so, grab a bite at the  one of restaurants next to the fire station, or continue down the road, past Sega, to a most inviting sandwich shop, Cheese and Olive. Once you’re done, go back to Shinmeisha Shrine. Walk through the Torii Gate and you will see smaller shrines spaced on the left side.
If you continue through to the Torii Gate on the opposite side and down a set of stairs, you will find a small park on the right side of the stairway. Go down the steps to the street, and turn left to look at the sculptures depicting the Buddhist god Jizo, the patron of travelers and deceased children. They are dressed in red caps and, on one recent visit, fleece Winnie the Pooh jackets.

A leafy respite
Now do a U-turn. Go past the stairs you came down to the end of the block. Make a left at the corner and walk three small blocks to the end of the street. There will be a blue pedestrian overpass. If you look behind the house on the corner, you will see a very old temple, Kannondou Temple, down a small alleyway. Cross the pedestrian overpass and the small bridge. Now, remember this spot because we’re coming back here.
After the bridge, you can turn right and walk along the side of a small canal to Kanizaka Park (toilet and water fountain available). This canal is what remains of the Tamagawa Waterway, built in 1653 to supply water for Edo. The road becomes a path as it follows the canal past a small residential area to a small leafy park. This peaceful area is laced with paths up and around a small embankment dotted with picnic tables and benches. Climb up. There’s a nice view of the Tama River far below. Does the lumpy topography seem out of place? This park was built on the fill dug up 350 years ago to build the canal.

Choutokuji Temple & Tamura Brewery

Now follow your breadcrumbs back to the bridge. If you face away from the bridge and go straight, down the hill, you will see a grandly rebuilt temple, Choutokuji Temple, and across the street the picturesque Tamura sake brewery. Continue past the temple; the road will begin to curve to the left (you’ll see the Tama River). There is a small park with benches and a small shrine just as the road curves. The next intersection will be Fujiami Street. Turn left here. If you continue straight, you will come to Fussa Station.  Walk through the station, down to street level and past McDonald’s to the corner. Turn right, then take the first left. It’s a straight shot from there to the Fussa Gate.

Seiganin Temple, Est. 1394
If you want to see one more cool temple, make the left onto Fujiami Street and walk two blocks to Naka Fussa Street. There’s no sign, but if you get to the bridge over the canal you’ve gone to far. Turn right down this street and go halfway down the block. (GPS: 35.737853, 139.323693) You will see a small alley to the left. Turn here. About 300 yards up this alley is one of the most ornate temples in the area, the Seiganin Temple. This temple, orignally built in 1394, is home to Buddhist monks.
Now you can backtrack to Fujimi Street or you can continue past the temple to the next intersection, take a left, and follow the curve of the road (left), back to Fujimi Street and then a right back to Fussa Station and the Fussa Gate. Michele Kreuziger, Emily Pishnotte, Liz Ruskin, 2010.

2. The Tama River Tour

This route is about 6km. It’s good for walkers or bicyclists. Bring a snack as there are several nice parks to take a break in, or plan on getting lunch at the Ishikawa Brewery.


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The Tea House
Start at the Supply Gate and walk straight across Route 16. Keep going straight, along Itsukaichi Kaido Avenue, Route 7. The entrance to the first site on our tour, the City Tea House, will appear in 400 meters, after you cross the first set of railroad track, on the left side of the street. You are looking for a small wooded area with a stone path. (The woods are across Itsukaichi Kaido from the Civic Center , a large red brick auditorium. If you reach the blue pedestrian overpass you’ve gone too far.) Follow the stone path to see a bamboo fenced area, where you’ll find the City Tea House. (The Tea House, built for tea ceremonies and other cultured events, is available for rent but you must make reservations months in advance.) Walk around and up the hill past the Tea House, turning right at the top, taking you to the rear of the Fussa Library. The entrance is around the building to the right, directly behind the Tea House. (The library is open 10am -8pm Tuesday-Friday, 10am – 5pm Sat-Sun, closed Mondays, or Tuesdays if Monday is a Japanese holiday. www.city.fussa.tokyo.jp/englishguide/88vtda000000fzsq-att/88vtda000000fzuc.pdf) Next, follow the stone path back to the main street or look next to the Tea House and the library for the cute little bridge and waterfall. Whether you exit through the parking lot or take the stone path, walk back to the main road, Itsukaichi Kaido.

Firefly Park (Hotaru Park)
Turn left on Itsukaichi Kaido, going downhill, away from the base. Your first chance to stop for a snack is past the library at the Jonathan’s Restaurant on the left.
Stay straight and cross a bridge decorated with artwork tiles of fireflies. Continue walking straight. Turn left onto Okutama Kaido, and move to the right side of the road. You should see a sign in Japanese for the steps down to Firefly Park (Hotaru Park). The entrance to this path is across from Gray Shining Hills apartments and a bright yellow building.  Or continue further down Okutama Kaido and take the bike path. This park has bathrooms, a stream, a fountain and a greenhouse where firefly larva are grown. Come here around 8pm in mid-June to see the glow bugs. Fussa holds an annual firefly festival around this time to celebrate the magic.
To continue your walk, pass the greenhouse, exit onto the street and turn left. Go under the the elevated railroad tracks. You’ll see a small playground on the right just beyond the tracks. But ahead on the left is a cuter park with fish ponds that might be make for a nice rest.

The River Path
When you’re ready to continue, backtrack to the playground and cut through it to reach a small road that parallels the railroad tracks. Walk along this road until it dead-ends at the river.  Now climb up the small embankment and turn left. You’ll see you’re walking on a bike path built on the levee of the Tama River. The path is lined with cherry trees and is stunningly gorgeous when the trees bloom in early April.  In fact, Fussa has a festival for that, too, and the main venue is just ahead on your left, Myojinshita Park (GPS: 35.7236,139.3305, halfway between the railroad tracks behind you and the next bridge.) Walk on, keeping the Tama River on your right, for about a kilometer. Here the path ducks under the Mutsumi Bashi bridge. If you go under the bridge you will be at a large picnic area called Minami Park. If you wish to barbecue or play tennis here, get a permit from the log cabin park office by the entrance.

The Brewery
To continue, turn left at the traffic circle and go uphill to exit the park. Turn right on the main street, Mutsumi-bashi Dori. Stay on the right side of the road, and bear right along the sidewalk, flanking a stone retaining wall. At the top of the small hill is a billboard advertising the Ishikawa Brewery, which is just ahead. Go there now if you’re losing energy and in need of refreshment.
Otherwise, take the scenic route: Make a sharp right and follow the road as it winds its way past beautiful homes and the Senjuin Temple.
At the intersection with Kumagawa Dori (there’s no sign, but trust us on this one), about 80 meters past the temple, there is an old stone monument on the far left corner. (What does it say? Is it a historical marker? An ancient road sign? If you find out, leave a comment below.) Turn left here. On the left, there is a well-tended property with black walls and a series of old white buildings. This is the Sake Brewery Tama-Jiman, also known as the Ishikawa Brewery. It has a little museum and two nice restaurants, which you can read about here. Stop in to check it out

Kumagawa Shrine
Once you leave the brewery, go back to Kumagawa Dori and continue in the same direction you were headed, northeast. Immediately past the bewery you’ll come to a “T” intersection. (Look left and you might be able to see the billboard you were standing at minutes ago, before you opted for the scenic route.)  Turn right at the “T” and then a quick left onto the continuation of Kumagawa Dori, a tiny street, no wider than an alley. This will take you back to the big street, Mutusumi-bashi Dori, which is, like Itsukaichi Doir, labeled Rt. 7 on maps. Cross this road and continue along Kumagawa Dori. Keep going straight until you reach a four-way intersection of streets no bigger than the one you’re on. Turn left, so that you’re walking down the alley that has a metal fence running along the right-hand side.  You will soon reach Kumagawa Shrine, a unique animal temple. The day we were there, they had live raccoons, a goat, cranes, a dog, and a large cage full of parakeets. There are signs that say “Don’t Touch the Animals.” This is also the site of a very nice shrine sale, held on the second Sunday of every month.

Back to Base
Tired? OK, let’s get you home. Exit the temple grounds and continue going north on the road you came in on. When it ends, turn right and cross Shin Okutama Kaido. Keep going along this small residential street until you come to a 4-way intersection with a light. Turn left here. Follow this road as it crosses a set of track, curves to the right and then crosses another set of tracks. Stay on it, across a third set of tracks until you reach Route 16 and the Yokota fence. Turn left to get to the Supply Gate. Michele Kreuziger 2007. Directions updated 2012.

I followed and updated directions in late 2010. No animals at the temple on my visit, perhaps due to the cold. Liz Ruskin

Uncovering hidden Fussa: The Tama River walking tour

Start at the Supply Gate and walk straight across Route 16. Continue to follow Itsukaichi Kaido Avenue. The entrance to the first site on our tour, the City Tea House, will appear on the second block on the left side of the street. You are looking for a small wooded area with a stone path. Opposite of this wooded area you will see the Civic Center (auditorium), a large red brick building. There is an over-the street walkway to take you from one side to the other. Follow the stone path to see a bamboo fenced area, where you’ll find the City Tea House. (The Tea House is available for rent but you must make reservations 6 months in advance.) Walk around and up the hill past the Tea House, turning right at the top, taking you to the rear of the Fussa Library. The entrance is around the building to the right, directly behind the Tea House. (The library is open 10am -8pm Tuesday-Friday, 10am – 5pm Sat-Sun, closed Mondays (Tuesdays if Monday is a Japanese holiday; www.city.fussa.tokyo.jp/englishguide/88vtda000000fzsq-att/88vtda000000fzuc.pdf) Next, follow the stone path back to the main street or take a shortcut by taking the path to the left of the Tea House. The next left will lead to a small bridge and waterfall, and an opening in the wall on the right to the library parking lot. Whether you exit through the parking lot or take the stone path, walk back to the main road Itsukaichi Kaido/Route 7).
Continue (left) west on the main road (Itsukaichi Kaido Avenue); your first chance to stop for a snack is past the library at the Jonathan’s Restaurant on the left (the same side you should be on).
Stay straight and cross a bridge decorated with artwork tiles of fireflies. Continue walking straight. Turn left onto Okutama Kaido, and move to the right side of the road. You should see a sign in Japanese for the bike path to the Firefly Park (Hotaru Park). If you feel adventurous, you can take the tiny dirt path zigzagging down the hill. The entrance to this path is directly across from Gray Shining Hills Apartment House. If you are less adventurous, continue past Okutama Kaido for one more long downhill block; the next main street is Denen. Turn right, the park is on the corner. This park has a fish pond, fountain, and a greenhouse where firefly larva are grown. There are also
bathrooms.
To continue your walk, pass the greenhouse exit onto the street, and turn left. Go under the railroad tracks, cross to the right side of the street. There will be a playground directly after the train overpass on the right. Walk through the playground to the small roadway that runs along the bottom of the tracks with a fence along the right side of the road. Walk along the fence line until you come to the river (dead end). Follow the road as it turns into a raised path (biking/walking) lined with cherry trees. You will be turning left. This is a beautiful walk in the spring, the city is on your left, and the Tama River is on your right. About half way down the path on the left side is another playground
and Meishin-shita Park. The path will end at Mutsumi Bashi Bridge. If you go under the bridge you will be at a large picnic area called Minami Park. If you wish to barbecue or play tennis, you will need a permit, obtained in the log cabin park office by the entrance.
To continue your walk, exit the park and turn right onto the main street, Mutsumi-bashi Dori; you will be on the right side. The first right will be a diagonal right. There will be a green sign, an old walking tour sign (8 – Park 9 Temple 10 – Haijima Station). Take a sharp right and follow the road as it winds its way past beautiful homes and the Senjuin Temple.
At the intersection with Kumagawa Dori, there will be a stone monument on the corner. Turn right. On the left, there is a black-timbered property; this is the Sake Brewery Tama-Jiman. Walk straight through the intersection and turn left on Kumagawa Dori; you will reach a “Y” in the road—go left and then walk down a small street (as wide as an alley). You will pass an auto dealer on your left. Continue straight until you reach Kumagawa Shrine. Continue out the gate, along the same little street you started on. You will come to a “T” intersection; go left onto Shimizuzaka Dori, then right back onto Kumagawa Dori. You will have reached a really unique animal temple. The day we were there, they had live raccoons, a goat, cranes, a dog, and a large cage full of parakeets. There are signs that say “Don’t Touch the Animals.”
If you are tired at this point, you can go directly back to base past the temple following the road (it curves to the right). You will come to a “T” intersection. Turn left. After half a block, you will come to a “Y” intersection. Take the right fork (Shin Okutama-Kaido Avenue); cross the JR train tracks (Kumagawa Station at the first right). Continue walking straight for three more blocks to get back to the main road (Itsukaichi-Kaido Avenue). Turn right and the road will lead to the Supply Gate. Michele Kreuziger 2007

Rain Chains

Have you been eyeing those decorative rain chains hanging
off the corners of temples and other buildings and want one
for your home? This is the place to find it. It is actually a
hardware store.
DIRECTIONS: Exit out the Supply Gate. Go straight.
Pass over the railroad tracks and the blue walkway overhead.
After the blue walkway take your second right. It is Toshokan
dori. (This street parallels one block over from the railroad
tracks on your left. NOT the same tracks mentioned above.)
Go past the second light (Fussasancho W.) Take the second
street after this intersection and turn to your left. (You will
notice street mirrors on either side of the street.) The hardware
store is on your left. It looks more like an open air
market than a store front. No one speaks English, but when an
American walks up they usually say “Rain Chain?” You nod
and they should return with one for you to choose from. The
prices range from ¥15,000 – 20,000. Dawn Leach, 2002