My Tokyo Guide
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Updated: November 29, 2023
Although it sits at the heart of one of the world’s largest metropolitan areas, Tokyo is blessed with abundant nature. The mountains to the west of central Tokyo are perfect for a quick getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city. The Akigawa Valley is a roughly 20-kilometer stretch of the Akigawa River flowing through Akiruno City and Hinohara Village that is a very popular ecotourism destination. This guide will introduce you to an easy cycling route that takes in soothing, picturesque spots in the valley.
The terminus of the JR Itsukaichi Line, Musashi-Itsukaichi Station is your gateway to the Akigawa Valley. It can be reached in about one hour and 15 minutes from Shinjuku Station with a transfer at either Haijima Station or Tachikawa Station. There’s a convenience store and tourist information counter at Musashi-Itsukaichi Station.
To find out about how to enjoy Akigawa River, just cross the street to this outdoor center. Facing Musashi-Itsukaichi Station, Tokyo Ura-Yama Base is a convenient jumping-off point for the Akigawa Valley. Staff here can provide maps and information about the area and rent out standard and electric bicycles (2,500-3,500 yen per day). Camp chairs, vacuum flasks with hot water, and life jackets are also available for rent. Once you have all the gear you need, it’s time to hit the road.
First cycle down to the river and take in your surroundings at Kowada Bridge. This span overlooks a scenic stretch of the Akigawa River with sandbanks for relaxing, barbequing or chilling out in the shallow waters. A narrow road on the north side of the river makes for a perfect cycling path.
This chilled-out fishing ground upstream from central Akiruno provides river trout in a wide, shallow stretch of the Akigawa River. The river here is divided into pools with space for barbequing. For 3,600 yen per person, you can try your luck fishing; a 10-fish limit and other rules apply. Equipment is available for rent or purchase. If you don’t fancy catching your meal, you can tuck into lunch in the dining room (10am-3pm) including kabayaki broiled trout in soy-based sauce, shioyaki grilled trout on skewers; onigiri and ramen are also available.
Perched on the banks of the Akigawa River, this organic factory and shop with outdoor seating specializes in products derived from konjac (konnyaku), aka Amorphophallus konjac or devil’s tongue. The edible underground stem of this flowering perennial is processed into delectable konjac gel using the clear waters of the Akigawa River. Staff at this shop will teach you how to eat all kinds of konjac, such as konjac sashimi and miso dengaku (konjac topped with miso). These fiber-rich, low-calorie snacks might just make you a fan of the devil’s tongue.
For your final stop on this tour, relax with a drink and a snack before catching a train back to central Tokyo. Located in the southern side of the Musashi-Itsukaichi Station building, do-mo factory blan.co is a soothing café offering drinks and munchies from the Akigawa Valley. The menu includes various paninis, hydrangea tea soft cream, ayu rice balls, craft beer and soft drinks. Do-mo factory blan.co also sells ayu oil, ayu furikake (condiment) and hydrangea tea.