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Treasures near Tokyo


[SPONSORED CONTENT] Both the lush greens of Tama and the pristine blues of Hachijojima offer an entirely different backdrop to the urban hues of Tokyo, and it’s time for you to discover them yourself.

Published on Jan 10, 2018



HEAD FOR THE MOUNTAINS

You may not have heard of Tama, but it’s a rural wonderland with majestic mountains and traditional culture about two hours from either Tokyo station or Shinjuku station on the JR Chuo Line. Among the rivers and mountains, it’s in Tama that you’ll feel the power of nature along walking paths that take in clear streams, surprising waterfalls and mysterious limestone caves. The sheer beauty of the Tama area has the power to overwhelm visitors.

Enjoy the springtime cherry blossoms while cycling along the Tama River, while carpets of tulip fields are also common. Rarer but no less beautiful are white dogtooth violets.

Living in harmony with nature is a Japanese trait, one best seen in this land that is covered with forests that are alive at every turn. There are even “therapy roads” where hikers can enjoy the healing power of Tama’s towering trees. Hot springs, secluded meditation retreats and relaxing at a traditional private home native to this region, are all ways to slow down in Tama.

But don’t forget that nature is meant to be enjoyed as well as appreciated. Canyoning or rafting in the summer months are perfect for more active visitors, so how you enjoy Tama’s wilderness is up to you.

Fresh greens of spring, clear blue skies of summer, autumn vividly changing colors and snowy winter landscapes, this shifting scenery.

Mount Mitake is now a popular spot for mountain climbing. Between April and October, canyoning, or descending a mountain stream simply with the flow of the water is popular. Mountain stream fishing, kayaking, white-water rafting and canoeing are all also very popular, the variety of outdoor activities being suitable for any level of adventure. What each has in common is that allows visitors to interact with the scenic beauty of Tama, its mountains, forests and waterways. At the end of each activity, enjoy a BBQ.

Wasabi is an indication of how pristine the waters of Tama area. The plant, a key to Japanese cuisine, grows here. Both the Tama and Akigawa rivers flow from the mountains here, which explains why the region’s specialty foods include soba noodles, tofu and sake: the preparation of each requires the best quality water. Mountains here act as a natural filtration system but, come springtime, also provide the freshest of vegetables, a fine complement to local flavorful fish.

HACHIJOJIMA, A TOKYO ISLAND

For a real getaway from the mainland of Japan and the bustle of Tokyo, why not head to the tropical paradise of Hachijojima?

Arriving on an overnight ferry, the first thing to do is enjoy the waters of “Hachijo Blue.” The crystal-clear ocean here means you can swim with any number of migratory fish and sea turtles. Back on land, a great way to explore is on a bicycle. Take in the botanical gardens here, roll into small villages but be sure to pedal back to the lava-formed beach for sunset.

The luxuriant forest on the island means meandering trails through tall trees, streams of cool water and more birdsong than you ever imagined. Breathe in the fresh air, whether it’s in the forest or ocean side, and you’ll quickly brush aside the stress of modern life.

Come nightfall, Hachijojima is the best seat in the ocean to absorb a dazzling array of stars that fill the sky. To the naked eye, it’s a stunning sight, but with the help of locals, the cosmos is even more unforgettable.

There’s much more to enjoy. Have you ever walked behind a waterfall, fully immersing yourself in the wonderfully crashing water? On Hachijojima, you’ve got the chance to do just that. After all this activity, treat yourself to a soak in an open-air bath,easing your body and mind into an island mindset.

Afterwards, don’t forget that the central part of the island is home to restaurants, cafes and gift shops well worth a look.

Hachijojima can be reached by air in less than an hour from Tokyo’s Haneda Airport or by large passenger ship from Tokyo’s Takeshiba Passenger Ship Terminal.

For more information, visit tamashima.tokyo/en | tokyotokyo.jp

 

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tama area, japan
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