Category Archives: WEST OF FUSSA: Akiruno, Akigawa & Itsukaichi

Suntory Hakushu Distillery

img_2100-2My dad is a big Scotch fan so when my parents came for a visit, we drove them to the Suntory Hakushu Distillery for a tour and whiskey tasting.
The distillery is nestled in the southern Japanese Alps, surrounded by trees and running water. The tour was in Japanese but they provided English audio guides which worked fine. The whiskey tasting that was included in the tour cost (¥1,000/person) was interesting and I found it to be better than the one at their Yamazaki location near Kyoto.

p1030167fThey gave us samples of the white oak cask malt and the lightly peated malt whiskeys they blend to create their Hakushu Single Malt Scotch, which they gave a sample of as well. I didn’t see a tasting room that allowed you to try their other scotches. If you want that, your best bet is their Yamazaki Distillery.

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They had a whiskey museum but it was not in English, a lookout at the top of the museum with a 360 degree view, and a restaurant which had English menus. You do have to call them to make reservations for the tour. The website said we would need reservations for the restaurant but we were able to just walk in after the tour.

p1030132fThey spoke English on the phone and many staff members on site spoke at least some English. The distillery wasn’t hard to find using GPS and is approximately 2 hours by car from Fussa heading west. We took the Ken-O then the Chuo Expressway west and it costed ¥6,140 round trip for tolls on a Tuesday from Hamura. The drive to it was quite scenic as were the grounds of the distillery. The coordinates are: 35.826441, 138.302564. – Laura Nelson, October 2016

Suntory Hakushu Distillery: http://www.suntory.co.jp/factory/hakushu/?fromid=hakushubrandsite_banner
Hours: 9:30am-4:30pm (except New Year’s holiday) ※ Check their website to see the plant shutdown days. (November 11th and 29th are currently scheduled shutdown days, last operating day of 2016 is December 25th)
Phone: 0551-35-2211
Suntory Yamazaki Distillery(in Osaka) : http://www.suntory.co.jp/factory/yamazaki/

Suntory Hakushu Distillery (coordinates: 35.826441, 138.302564)

Kanotoiwa Rock

Kanotoiwa Rock 2Near Hinohara Waterfalls is a beautiful rock cliff, with a narrow gorge cut by a clear mountain stream. You can climb on the rocks along the river and through the gorge on a narrow path beside the swift flowing stream while holding onto a chain. Unless you experience it, you will not know how beautiful it is. It is also a nice quiet place to sit by the river and contemplate, away from the crowds of the city. Getting there is a beautiful drive on narrow road through the woods. While it’s not a trip by itself, it’s a highly recommended side trip when visiting the Hinohara Waterfalls. Brian & Kristen Marriott, Dec 2001.

“Our family enjoys visiting Kanotoiwa Rock in the summer because it’s cool, and the water is refreshing, whether you just dip your toes in or go for a swim. If you DON’T navigate your way up the ladder to the canyon, you can drive/walk through the tunnel and that will lead you to some trails with rock pools of various depths. Bring water shoes if you’re interested in negotiating the rocks.” Linda Bell, July 2014.

Kanotoiwa Rock 1DIRECTIONS: Follow the directions to Hinohara Waterfalls. When you come to the “T” intersection at Motoshuku (19.9 km) turn right. Instead of turning left up the hill towards the waterfall, continue straight for another 3 km (24 km from base), until you come to a small sign pointing towards Kitaki-Gawa just before an arched blue bridge. Turn right, and follow the VERY narrow road along the stream. When you come to a parking lot on the right in 2.3 km, across from restrooms, park your car and continue walking up the road towards the cliff for another 100 meters. Before you cross the bridge, you will see the trail to your left. If you go over a bridge and through a dark, narrow, rocky tunnel, you can park your car on the other side of the gorge and approach it from the upstream side (not recommended). GPS: 35.75500, 139.11346. Updates & photos, Michelle Nexon, March 2014.

Villa Delpino – La Cucina Italiana

If you are looking for a another great Italian restaurant, then look no further. Just on the other side of Itsukaiichi, in the Hinohara Village (Mura), right behind the Tofu Donut Shoppe, is the “Villa Delpino” La Cucina Italiana. The main chef speaks English and he provides English menus.  Lunch is ¥1000 +tax, and served between 1100-1700. The Chef serves two special lunches, which come with salad, bread, coffee or tea and main course. Dinner is by reservation only, price varies, and served between 1800-2200, though the Chef will serve earlier if requested and for more than two people.  The restaurant seats 14 people max. They have a great selection of wine.  Phone number: 042-598-1054.  Closed: Wednesdays and Thursdays.  GPS: 35.729805,139.143459.
DIRECTIONS: Take Route 7 West towards Itsukaiichi, go to the end where the Musahi-Itsukaiichi Station is directly in front, turn left on Route 33. Drive until you reach Route 33 and Route 205 “T” intersection, turn right, drive for about 1.5 km. – Fran Sil, April 2013.

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Akigawa Farmers Market

This is a cooperative where different people bring produce every morning. The entrance is in the middle, with the produce section on the left. You’ll find several bins of whatever is in season along with local produce, pickles, radishes, scallions and sweets. Behind the building is a nursery of plants and trees. There are also small barbecue huts behind the building. GPS: 35.72896,139.3075.
DIRECTIONS: Go left out the Fussa Gate onto Route 16.  At the first light, turn right at Tamabashidori Ent.   This road becomes Route 7. Just stay on this road for 3.5 kilometers over two train tracks, three bridges and through the s-curve.  The Akigawa Farmers Center will be on your left.  It is in a long building with multiple peaked roof line located amidst fields. Hours: 9am-5pm (produce section). Telephone: 042-559-1600. Teresa Negley, 1996. Directions updated 2012.

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Two Indoor Playgrounds

1. Aeon Mall outside the East Gate (also called the Diamond City Mall)
Pricey but really fun, this indoor playground is called Børnelund. It features a jumpy raceway, jungle gym with slides descending into a field of plastic balls, a large train table, and different stations with build-it-yourself toys.  With lots of things to climb in, run on, and puzzles to work out, this makes for a very fun outing.  There is also a segregated toddler area for little ones, ages 6 -18 months, including a place to change diapers.  Located on the first floor of the mall, behind the H&M, near a back entrance.  Price is ¥600 for the first 30 minutes for each child, a flat ¥300 for adults, plus ¥100 for each additional 10 minutes for children.  It can add up, but there is also a flat rate of ¥1500 per child for unlimited play. With the unlimited play option you can come and go as you please.  Opens at 10am even during the Christmas season when the mall opens at 9am.  Sarah Straus and Alexandra Winkler, 2012.  Do you like Bornelund and want more??  Try ASOBono in Tokyo or Round 1 in Iruma.
DIRECTIONS: Turn left out of the East Gate. Go 300 meters to the 7-11 and turn right on a narrow road. Go straight for 1 kilometer and turn left onto Route 59. The mall will be on your right at the next traffic light.  Turn right here and left into the parking area.

2. Aeon Mall out the Fussa Gate (Hinode) : Yu Kids Island is less expensive, a bit smaller, but tons of fun all the same.  This indoor playground is about 6km from Fussa Gate. It features many large movable objects – things that rotate around or rock back and forth that kids can climb up or hang from.  There are two balloon stations where kids can hit at balloons being blown around.  This place is the right size to be able to stay in one place and watch your kids play.   I went with kids ages 18 months to 41/2 years and they all had a great time.  Costs a flat ¥600 per child for unlimited play during the week and 60 minutes of play on the weekend.  Note, with the unlimited weekday play you cannot come and go. It is unlimited play until you leave.  It is located on the third floor near the food court with a great kid-size bathroom  right next to it. Open 10am but starts opening early during the Christmas season when the mall opens earlier.  Phone for Hinode Aeon: 042-588-8000. GPS: 35.73349, 139.27547.
DIRECTIONS:  Go straight out Fussa Gate. Cross one set of tracks and stay right at the “Y” split. After you pass over the second set of tracks (with the Fussa train station on your right), make an immediate right where you must (or you will drive the wrong way into a one-way street.)  Then take the next left onto the main street.  The train station is now behind you and this street becomes Route 165. Follow route 165 over the Tama river, and keep going straight.  You will see fuschia Aeon Mall signs directing you.  One warns when you have 3km to go.  And the next, just after the entry to the expressway, will be on the right, telling you to turn left.  Drive a few blocks and you will see the mall at your 2’o’clock position. – Sarah Straus, 2012

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Hinohara Waterfall (Hossawa-no-taki Waterfall)

Our favorite Sunday drive is into the hills west of the base. In 45 minutes, we are parked and ready to hike up a gradual path to view the Hinohara Waterfalls. We’ve visited the falls in all seasons, and it is spectacular, plunging maybe 80 feet over a wooded cliff into a shallow pool. The waterfall is worth visiting for several reasons. We have taken dozens of photos; the most striking is when it is mostly frozen over in the coldest part of winter. We have also carried a lunch along to eat and watched visitors as they climb. The various levels of dress and skill are entertaining: men in unnecessary hiking gear, young ladies in high heels and miniskirts, mama-sans in their 80’s, and little kids just skipping along. We recommend you wear a comfortable pair of walking shoes. We found the path negotiable but muddy in the fall and slippery because of ice in the winter. As it is a shaded, rocky area, it tends to be cooler than the surrounding countryside, so dress warmly, too. We recommend you time a Sunday drive for the late morning so the sun is high for photographs and the traffic is not jammed up as you come back toward base (usually 3:00 to 5:30 pm). In the summertime, go in late afternoon and take a picnic supper to eat as you take in the view. During your hike back, keep an eye out for the face on the coffee shop’s wall. When you see the face, you will know that you are near the car park. In the fall and winter, reward yourself with a warm drink at the coffee shop, or maybe a cup of soup. The coffee shop also offers a variety of pottery, so you may end up taking home a unique gift.  GPS Coordinates for the parking lot are 35.73004,  139.14119.

While visiting Hinohara Waterfalls, be sure to check out the Kanotoiwa Rock, a side trip worth taking.

Hinohara Falls 1DIRECTIONS: Turn left out the Fussa Gate (0 km) and right at the first light. You are now on Tamabashi Dori, which changes to Itsukaichi-Kaido after you cross the Tama River Bridge (2 km). The road goes in a pretty straight line out to Itsukaichi, the first town in the hills (although it curves left after the bridge and merges right at 7 km). In the middle of Itsukaichi, you come to a “T” intersection in front of the train station (11.2 km). Turn left and continue on through the town. You will see signs showing Hinohara ahead. At the “Y” intersection (15 km), stay to the left. When you come to another “T” intersection at Motoshuku (19.9 km), turn right. In about a 1/2 km, just past a school crossing and opposite a bus turnaround (20.5 km), turn left up a hill just before crossing the first bridge. After going over a narrow bridge, you may park in a small parking area near a rustic coffee shop or continue further up the road to a larger parking area. (Note: the Okutama Nature Map calls this the Hossawanotaki waterfall.) From the lower car park, you will find the path to the waterfall after you walk back across the little bridge and go right. From the higher car park, follow the path that starts by the restrooms and meets the main path up to the waterfall. Once you pass the bathrooms and start heading down the hill you turn right on the very first little bridge path. Make sure you pass by the little ice cream store and you will know you are going the correct way. The easy hike will take maybe 15 minutes. Hinohara Falls 3If you want to hike more, a big map near the restroom shows many other options, or simply start walking up the road from the parking lot. There are forest trails on both sides. Rod & Cheryl Mees. Liz Ruskin updated 2010; photos Sandy Sax, Kelly O’Donnell & Michelle Nexon.


Hachioji

Sightseeing

Takiyama Park

This park, about 30 minutes from Yokota, is an inexpensive getaway. The park has picnic tables and an area large enough for softball. The size of the park is fantastic. It has monuments, a shrine, bridges and a pavilion. There is a soda machine if you get thirsty while trekking through the woods. It is a perfect place to reflect on nature. The park used to be the grounds of a castle.

DIRECTIONS: Go straight out the Supply Gate. Cross two sets of tracks. At the third light after the second set of tracks turn left (Ushihama Post Office Intersection, Steak House on right). Continue straight on this road for about 1.5km, through four lights. You will pass a Saizeriya and Bamiyan on the left, and a Family Mart and Denny’s on the right. At the 5th light turn right (onto Mutsumi-bashi Dori at the Uchide Koban Intersection). Cross the Tama River on the 4-lane bridge. Continue to the 4th light (counting the light at the end of the bridge) and turn left on a 2-lane road with a bicycle shop on the corner (Ogawa Intersection). Stay on this road for 3km as it crosses a small river and travels along the base of the hills for awhile. Follow the road over a hill and through the woods into the next valley. At the first signal after going over the hill, turn left (Tangimachi 3 Intersection—This road is 411, although it is not marked as such at this intersection). Take the very first left off of this road onto a VERY small road that looks like a driveway less than 100 meters (0.1 km) after you get onto it. It is just past the gas station that sits on the far right corner of the intersection. It will wind up a steep and narrow road into the park. If you come to another signal you have gone too far. Melody Hostetler, Brian Marriott 12/01

Shopping/retail

Hachioji Station Shopping: SOGO Department Store, Virgin CD, Body Shop, Disney Store, Tokyu Square (smaller mall), Tower Records, Crabtree & Evelyn, Crazy Shirts, Nature Trail, Mister Donuts, McDonalds and Subway Sandwiches

Don’t miss the shopping in Hachioji, just 24 minutes and ¥230 yen from Higashi-Fussa station. As you turn right out of the Hachioji Station, you will see the department store SOGO. Go downstairs or use the escalator, turn left and straight ahead is the department store OIOI (MARUI) with a big sign on it saying VIRGIN CD which is located in the basement of the department store. Once you enter the store towards your left you will see the Body Shop on the first floor. Tokyu Square is located directly across from the JR Hachioji Train Station and you will see an advertisement on the front of the building of the Disney Store located on the 3rd floor. Tokyu Square is a very nice, “small mall” type in itself. As you enter Tokyu Square, immediately on your left is Crabtree & Evelyn – Body Shop (personal products shop). Proceed up the escalator and on the second floor is Nature Trail (clothing), and on the third floor two stores away from the Disney Store is Crazy Shirts from Hawaii (mostly T-shirts, sweatshirts, handkerchiefs, golf items; all a bit more expensive than their catalog which you can request and place on-line orders at www.crazyshirts.com). Directly past Tokyu Square or behind it, you will find Tower Records on the 5th floor, where CDs range from ¥1800 yen-¥2300, with the latest single CDs available ranging from ¥600-1000.

TRAIN DIRECTIONS: Take the train from the Higashi-Fussa station and go four stops to Hachioji Station. At Hachioji Station, get off the train and proceed up the steps towards the exit and turn right out of the train station. Kathleen A. Vactor

Restaurants

Hachioji Station Eating

If the shopping at the Hachioji Station wears you out, there are several American-style restaurants to choose from. In Tokyu Station, right across from Nagasakiya is Subway Sandwiches, open 10am-10pm. Several shops down is Mister Donuts open 7am-10pm. McDonalds is also in Hachioji.
TRAIN DIRECTIONS: Take the train from the Higashi-Fussa station and go four stops to the Hachioji Station. At Hachioji Station, get off the train and proceed up the steps towards the exit and turn right out of the train station. To continue to Tokyu Square, exit the department store and go across the street (look for the sign on the outside of the Disney Store). Kathleen A. Vactor

Baghdad Café
Baghdad Cafe is located close to the Hachioji train station. Its décor is somewhat dark and “cozy”—not too large, with tables and chairs scattered in interesting niches around the room and some lights along the walkways under grate-type flooring—with a definite foreign mystique about the place. There were a few gaming tables (roulette, poker, blackjack) but none were used while we were there. The luncheon menu – a.k.a the placemat – had nine entrees with pork, chicken, hamburger, or spaghetti. The ample portions had a slightly spicy flavor, but not overdone. All luncheons were ¥780 and included hot vegetables, salad bar, and either cola, tea or coffee (a refill is ¥300). Beer, wine, and cocktails were ¥380 per glass. The salad bar had a dozen bowls containing fresh fruit, vegetables, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, sauces, and dressings.The dinner menu has an entertaining long narrow black cover, filled with white pages and sketches in black. There is a long list of cocktails, “hors d’oeurves froid”, salads, side dishes, pizza, seafood and pasta. The last two pages showed a picture of a roulette wheel with an explanation of the game along with some poker hands and black jack odds. I imagine dinner time is for adults but the lunch could be a family outing.
TRAIN DIRECTIONS: Go to the Hachioji Station. Exit towards Central Hachioji and turn left, going around the square toward the pedestrian street walkway. Baghdad Cafe is 4 or 5 blocks down on the left. Hours: Lunch 11am-5pm, Dinner starts at 5:30pm. Telephone? Judith McKay, date?

Summerland

Roughly eight kilometers from Yokota is the land of perpetual summer: Summerland. It is a mix of a theme park, swimming pool, game room and restaurants. You can spend a gloomy, gray day inside and enjoy the wave pool, large and small water slides and numerous rides underneath the heated dome. In the summer months, an outdoor “Adventure Lagoon,” water slides and amusement rides are available.  There are various price ranges.  The cost is cheaper off-season when just the indoor pools are open, March – May and October-November.  The pools close December-February. If you only want to swim you’ll just need to buy the regular pass not the more expensive free pass.  The full price list and opening hours are here.  Parking is ¥1200.  There are restaurants on the premises, but you can bring your own lunch or a cooler.  No tattoos; so if you have them find a swimsuit to cover them.  You can also rent a locker in the changing area. Nearby is Akigawa Nature Park, which charges a modest admission fee.  Summerland phone:  042-558-6511. www.summerland.co.jp/english/. GPS for Summerland parking lot: 35.71826,139.27707. Check here for more information on their tattoo policy.  – Photos by Michelle Nexon 2013, updated Sarah Straus, 2014.

Comments by Sarah Straus, March 2014: I’ve taken my family to Summerland during the spring three years in a row.  We started going when the kids were ages 2 and 4 and our last year they were ages 4 and 6.  These are great ages for the indoor pools at Summerland.  In my opinion the best time to go is early March because the warm humid air under the dome feels so great after a cold, dry winter.  This year we went on Sunday March 2nd.  I thought it would be crowded but it wasn’t!  It was perfect.  Last year we went on a weekday during the first week in March and it was so quiet. We had the place to ourselves and loved it.  I have a few tips: 1: Bring a tarp and arrive when it opens to snag your spot.  Open times vary, so check their webpage.  2: Your towels and food will likely be OK unattended, but take advantage of the coin locker located next to the wave pool for wallets and phones.  You’ll get your ¥100 back.  3. Bring your own food. There are restaurants in Summerland and you can even buy beer, but the food is not great… you’ll be better off feeding your kids PBJ’s and juice boxes in my opinion.  4. Bring your floaties… inner tubes are so fun when the big waves begin on the hour.   5. Don’t miss the grotto rain storm in the basement level which occurs 30 minutes into each hour.  It is so fun and a great place to warm up because there are several large hot tubs.
DIRECTIONS: There’s a map on the Summerland website that includes Yokota Air Base, but it may be hard to follow. See our map below.


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Akiruno, Akigawa and Itsukaichi

These all could be updated… want to take an entry… add photos and turn it into its own post?  Go for it!  Email the updates to: editor@yokotatravel.com.

Ninomiya Shrine
This shrine was established over 800 years ago and was first used by farmers to pray for good weather and to give thanks for a good harvest. Today it is used primarily by resident merchants in the surrounding community. It is also known for its Ginger Festival on September 9 (go to in the festival section for more information).
DIRECTIONS:From Fussa Station, take a train toward Tachikawa but get off at Haijima, a four-minute ride. Transfer to the Itsukaichi Line. Ride another seven minutes and get off at Higashi-Akiru Station. The shrine is a four-minute walk from here. Need walking direction from station.

Ninomiya Shrine Museum

Thirteen thousand years ago people settled the area now known as Akigawa City and this area has been inhabited ever since. The fertile triangle created by the confluence of the Hirai and Aki rivers with the Tama river, a ten minute drive from Yokota, has yielded many archaeological finds from the Paleolithic Era to modern times. A sample of these artifacts is available for viewing at the Ninomiya Shrine Museum. The museum, opened in 1990, is located on the grounds of the Ninomiya Shrine and is open Friday – Sunday from 10am to 4pm. To find the museum, follow the path around the right side of the shrine through an area of smaller monuments including a red torii gate. The museum is divided into three areas. The doors open into a central room where visitors are greeted and literature displayed. Maps on the wall, although annotated in Japanese only, will give you an idea of the areas where artifacts have been excavated. Proceed from this room to the display room on the right. The display room is set up to be viewed from the left where a model of a Jomon period (10,000 BC to 300 BC) hunter-gatherer dwelling is displayed. If you have visited American Indian museums, you may see a similarity to the dwellings and life-styles of prehistoric Eastern American Indians. The third large section of the museum is a working archaeological lab where pot shards and other finds are painstakingly pieced together under the guidance of Masanori Narusako Sensei. This area is not open to visitors. While at the museum, don’t forget to pick up a copy of Exploring Akigawa City. This map is written in English and shows hiking trails, shrines, archaeological digs and other points of interest in the area.
DRIVING DIRECTIONS: Turn left out the Fussa Gate and then turn right at the first light. You are now on Tamabashi Dori, which changes to Itsukaichi-Kaido after you cross the Tama River Bridge (2km from the Fussa Gate). Just after you cross the river, the road doglegs to the left, then to the right. The second light after the doglegs will be labeled Route 168 to “Ninomiyajinja.” Go straight, but slow WAY down, because you will be turning into the first tiny street past the light. It looks almost like a driveway. Go up the hill and park at the end of the street in the lot in front of the torii gates. The museum is on the left of the torii gates. The shrine is through the torii gates in front of you. This is only about a 15-minute drive. Marja A. Weaver, date?

–Cross-ref Tsuru Tsuru Onsen

Akigawa River
If you like to paddle in a rocky stream, float along in a rented boat or on an inner tube, or just people watch, consider the Akigawa River. It is about 25 minutes from Yokota. The most famous spot in Akigawa is Summerland, but upstream from there you will find access to the river and even some fishing spots.
DIRECTIONS: Turn left out the Fussa Gate onto Highway 16. Set odometer to zero. Go to the first signal light and turn right. This road is marked “Tamabashi Dori.” Go through Fussa, across two sets of tracks. The road will go downhill and cross the Tama River. Keep to the main road as it bends going up a hill. You will come out on level ground on the other side of the river and then the road will be “Itsukaichi Kaido.” Fresh farm produce is sold along this road in the summer. At 5.1km you will come to a light with the sign, “Akigawa Shiyakusho.” Keep going straight. The light at 5.5km is the turn for Summerland (the cross street is Rt. 411, so you would take a left if going to Summerland). Keep straight for Akigawa. You are getting into the country now and can see the mountains. The road will widen at 7.8km and there will be a map of the district on the roadside at 8km. From now on, you can turn left down almost any side road and reach the river. The light at 8.8km marks the left turn that will take you to a private beach. On a near right corner, up high, there is a large pink, red and white sign with a flower on it and an arrow pointing to Ozawa, a nearby store. The name under the light there is Yamada. Turn left here and follow the road downhill and across the Akigawa River. Just across the bridge on the left is a little shop/restaurant through which you have to pass to get to the beach. You can park up the hill to the right for a fee. (¥500). The little shop “Sansuiso” sells drinks and snacks but no western food. The shop is open year round, except rainy days 8am-5pm. There is a small entrance fee. You can also rent a “teppan” (large griddle for outdoor cooking) and buy charcoal. There are old toilets and running water. You can also rent small rowboats. Mosquitoes are bad in this area in the summer season so be sure to bring insect repellent. Claire Scriba, date?

Fishing in Akigawa
Even trout fisherman can find a way to ply their sport while they are in Japan. The nearest fishing hole is the Akigawa River, which is full of rainbow trout. The Japanese government owns all the streams and landowners along the way can open their portion to fisherman. They raise trout and release them into the stream, usually between 9am and 1pm. Fish of different sizes can be caught and some are pretty big. You can fish all day for about ¥3000 and there is a 10 fish limit. The fee does not include equipment but you can rent a bamboo pole for about ¥300. You can buy bait for about ¥400. Outdoor Recreation offers fishing equipment rental and they can provide you with the current laws regarding fishing and other useful information. Sunday is the busiest day because the Japanese are off work, so going on a week day would be best. With the exception of the fly fishing area, the trout camps are open year round.
DIRECTIONS: Go out the Supply Gate and go straight. You will cross over 2 sets of railroad tracks. At 1.4km, turn right onto Denen-Dori. There will be a large, four-corner pedestrian overpass at this intersection. Go 1.3km to the “T” intersection and turn left. Go 2.6km and at the top of the hill, turn right. When you come to a fork in the road, bear right. Go about half km to the light. There is a gas station on your left. Go straight through the intersection. Follow the road about 5km and you will come to another “T” intersection; turn left. After about 2km you will cross railroad tracks. Shortly after that, you will see a big sign, in English, for the “Akigawa Trout Fishing Camp.” Keep to the right. About 2km after the sign, you will come to a light; turn right. You will soon see the big Welcome sign to Akigawa. Sondra Halweg and Rosandra Corea, date?

Shopping/retail

Akiruno Rupia & Tokyu
The Akiruno Rupia is a small mall next to the Tokyu Department Store in Akigawa. It contains gift shops, boutiques, and restaurants, including the sandwich chain Subway. On the second floor is a covered walkway to the four-story Tokyu next door. Tokyu has a supermarket section with a bakery nearby on the ground floor. There are also cosmetics, accessories, handbags, and shoe sections surrounding an open area with benches. Mens’ and Ladies’ wear are on the second floor with children’s clothing, housewares, furniture, and appliances on the third floor.
DIRECTIONS: Go left out the Fussa Gate and turn right at the next light. Cross two railroad tracks, pass a 7-11 store on the left, and cross two bridges. You’ll be on the road to Itsukaichi. As you cross the river, there’s a sign for Honda. Hours: 10am-8pm, closed Wednesdays. Telephone: 042-550-0109/Tokyu

Akigawa Farmers Center

Restaurants

Haijima – Bamboo House
Owners Sue and Tatsuaki Ichikawa have been serving homemade noodles at this location for twenty years. The building is spacious, with four seating areas holding approximately 50 customers. One section has tables and chairs (for 14 customers); the other three raised tatami sections have cushions and low tables. Although English isn’t spoken, Americans are warmly welcomed and the menu is in both Japanese and English. Although udon and soba noodles (served hot or cold) are the specialty of the house, tempura and rice dishes are also available. Meal prices range from ¥650 to ¥1000 for either lunch or dinner. Because there are only two parking spaces at the restaurant and the street is narrow and filled with parked bicycles, driving is not recommended.
DIRECTIONS: Take the Itsukaichi Line from Platform 1 at Haijima Station two stops to Higashiakiru. It’s a four-minute ride and costs ¥l50. As you exit the Higashiakiru Station, turn left over the tracks (past lots of bicycles). It is the second building on your left. Hours: 11am-3pm, Tuesday through Friday, 11am-8pm on Saturday and Sunday, and closed on Monday. Telephone? Sally Mayberry, date?

Hinohara – Black Tea House
The Black Tea House, or Kurochaya, about a 40 minute (13km) drive from Yokota on Itsukaichi Kaido, is a wonderful restaurant of traditional construction next to a river among bamboo groves. It’s where you may want to take visitors from abroad if they cannot visit Kyoto or Nikko (there’s lots of tatami, wood, and sliding doors). Although the meals are expensive, they seem worth it and you get plenty of food (some of it just for the brave). Multi-course meals of barbecue-it-yourself beef or chicken plus in-season vegetables were offered for ¥4,500 to ¥7,500 at lunch time. Plum brandy is included in the meal along with fruit and a sweet. Arrive early enough to roam the grounds and enjoy the gazebo, waterwheel, river and trees. Once inside, each party has a private room with a deck-like balcony, overlooking the beautiful surroundings. Reservations in English are accepted.
DIRECTIONS: Turn left out the Fussa Gate, then right at the first light. Go over the river and past Route 411 (Akikawa Kaido) toward Hinohara. About 2km after the Itsukaichi Station sign, past the police station on the right, turn left at the Ko-Nakano intersection (gas station on right). The restaurant is down the “block” on the left (the main parking lot is down through a steep and narrow ramp. You may also park back in the corner lot, on the right). Hours: 11am-8pm except Tuesdays and Japanese holidays. Telephone: format?96-0129. Karen Ozment, Teresa K. Negley, date?