Okutama

Lake Okutama and Dam, Sarah StrausOkutama 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.

Hatonosu-Kobashi Bridge
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

View Larger Map

More Photos
Cross this red bridge on Route 411, then go through the tunnel.  On the far side find a place to park for the Pontoon Bridge.

 

These two child-friendly exhibits can be found in the museum by the Okutama dam.

 

 

 

 

This photo was taken from the narrow three story observation tower/museum on Okutama dam.

3 Responses to Okutama

  1. Matthew Mancill

    We spent the day exploring this area today. The lake is pretty low right now, not sure if it is that way in anticipation of the rainy season though. The drive was really nice and little to no traffic. We began by playing in the Tama river at the base of the Hatonosu-kobasu bridge. Then we drove to the lake, stopping every now and then to take pictures. The suspension bridge was taken apart and closed due to the water level being so low. Hopefully we will find time to head back up there one day when the bridge is open. To top the day off, we hit the roller slide at the small town just past the lake. Well worth the drive and a great way to spend a day.

  2. We went and had a nice time, a lot of people could be seen hiking. On the way back we stopped at Hatonosu-Kobashi Bridge. It was too late to see and we turned off outside the tunnel and we found a great little coffee shop. The owner is a wood smith and we had to use an itranslate app to communicate but he was very friendly and a great moment enjoying the culture. We look forward to returning to see the trails at the bridge.

  3. We took the cub scouts from Pack 49 out to Okutama Dam on Saturday, 23 November 2013. They were able to roam freely about the museum, after which we had a nice picnic lunch under the pavillion that faces the lake. The area is beautiful right now with all the fall leaves in full bloom. Following lunch, we met up with our Japanese brother scouts, Kiyose 3 and went on a hike across the barrel bridge. The boys especially liked the hike because they were able to see monkeys freely roaming about the hills. We then went further up the road to Yama no Furusato Mura where we camped for the night. The camp site is beautiful! The weather was clear but it did get down to freezing, much to the delight of the boys! During the night we could hear the monkeys roaming around the area. We had such a great time there!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.