Okutama Lake and Dam
If you’re looking for a relaxing afternoon in the mountains, then Lake Okutama is for you. Surrounded by hills, the lake is a reservoir providing water and electricity for Tokyo. Take a walk across the massive dam and enjoy the museums. Spring usually arrives at Lake Okutama about mid-April. In the summertime, driving in the mountains provides welcome relief from the heat. For New England-style color, take the trip in autumn. Should you decide to brave the elements in the winter months, take tire chains and be prepared for icy roads. In addition to simply enjoying the beauty of the area and the walk across the dam, there are two free museums on location that are worth checking out. There is one tiny museum on the dam itself located in the second of two towers rising above the walkway. It is open 10am-4pm. Enter and climb two flights of stairs to find windows that allow you to safely look down the back side of the dam. There is also a scale model of the lake and dam area on the second floor. The second museum is larger, just opposite the parking lot. In addition to information about the dam there are two great exhibits for small kids, a 3-d movie, a small gift shop, an information kiosk, bathrooms and restaurant. Ordering in the restaurant is easier if you ask a waiter to help you order from the ticket machine. The restaurant is child-friendly. The museum is open 9:30am-5pm, closed Wed. To park right next to the dam and museum for free, follow the directions below to Route 411. When you near the dam on your left, turn onto Route 205 and follow the road a short distance to the dam. It is about a 90 minute drive from Fussa. GPS for parking lot: 35.79230,139.04755. If this lot is full there are several other larger parking lots a bit further down the road. – Sarah Straus, 2012. Original post for Okutama Lake by Corrie Huggins, Teresa Negley and Susie Shaw.
Pontoon Bridge across Okutama Lake
We did not make it onto this floating bridge that spans a section of the lake, but it looked amazing from the road. It closes when the lake is low.
This makes for a short, fun stop on your way to Lake Okutama. Located just off 411 in Hatonosu, find this suspension bridge over the Tamagawa River. It provides a nice photo opportunity, especially as the seasons change. Pull off the road just before the tunnel exiting Hatonosu on your way to Okutama Town. Find a place to park along the road and walk down and to your left to find the trail. There are bathrooms at the trailhead. GPS 35.81382,139.12799.
Nippara Limestone Caverns
There is a separate entry for Nippara Limestone Caverns. Parking for the caves is located approximately 10.5 kilometers up the road from Okutama Town. From Route 411 in Okutama Town, turn onto Nippara Kaido. Follow this winding paved road that ends in the parking lot for the caves. GPS coordinates: 35.85518,139.04089.
More Tourist Information
For more ideas of what to do in this area pick up the Ohtama Guide from the Yujo Center or once on the road try the Okutama Visitor Center near the Okutama Train Station. For hikers, pick up a trail map at the visitor center for a donation. The map is waterproof and shows all the trails in the Okkutama region. GPS 35.80859, 139.09763. If you go someplace different or have something to add to what has been written here already, please report back!
DIRECTIONS Exit the Passenger Terminal Gate and turn right onto Route 16. In 2.5 kilometers turn left onto Route 5. Follow Route 5 all the way to the end after 7.8 kilometers, where it dead-ends into Route 411. Turn right onto Route 411. All of the sites listed above are either on, or just off route 411.
Interested in an alternate route? Where Route 5 dead-ends at Route 411, turn left onto Route 411 and then turn right onto Route 45. Route 45 parallels Route 411 on the south side of the river and joins Route 411 before Okutama. This is a more scenic route with fewer towns and traffic. You will see more cyclist on this route as well as the turn off for Mt. Mitake, the Ome River Walk and Yoshino Baigo.
Map to Okutama Lake parking near the dam
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