My Tokyo Guide
See something interesting? Click on the heart button in the article to add a page from this site to My Favorites.
Main content starts here.
Updated: November 29, 2023
This walk follows the route of the Tamagawa Josui, an old 43-kilometer-long aqueduct which was constructed to alleviate the shortage of drinking water in Edo (the old name for the Tokyo). It was built by the Tokugawa Shogunate in 1653 to supply water for drinking, fire-fighting, and irrigation from the Tama River to the capital and surrounding farm villages.
This walk will help you gain a greater understanding of the important relationship between the capital city and water. You can also enjoy locally-brewed sake that uses water from the area.
Start your walk at Hamura Station, which is served by the JR Ome Line.
Hamura Jinya was established as a camp and guard station to manage the Tamagawa Josui Aqueduct and the Hamura Intake Weir. Shogunate officials and water guards from the local area worked here, and you can still see the thatched roof gate.
The site of Hamura Jinya is now the Hamura Intake Weir Management Office of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Bureau of Waterworks, which still manages the Hamura Intake Weir.
Tamagawasui Shrine is located next to the site of Hamura Jinya. It was built from 1652-1654 by Tamagawa Shoemon and Tamagawa Seiwemon. People have come here to pray for the safe construction of the Tamagawa Josui Aqueduct and recognize the importance of water.
The Hamura Intake Weir is located about 54 kilometers upstream from the estuary of Tama River. It was completed in 1653, as the intake point for the Tamagawa Josui Aqueduct.
It is a rare combination of a “Fixed Weir” and a “Nagewatashi Weir.” When the Tama River rises to a certain water level, the Nagewatashi beam is lifted up, allowing the dam to break off downstream.
Two brothers, Shoemon and Seiwemon, who were instrumental in the construction of the aqueduct, were awarded the surname Tamagawa in honor of their achievement. You can see their statue by the Hamura Intake Weir.
The weir was remodeled and expanded in 1900 and 1924.
The Hamura Folk Museum is made up of four sections: "With the Tama River," "Protecting the Tamagawa Aqueduct," "From Rural Village to City," and "The World of Kaizan Nakazato." Here you can learn more about the Tama River and the local area, the history and workings of the aqueduct, and Kaizan Nakazato, a novelist born in Hamura.
There is also an outdoor exhibition area. The former Shimoda Family Residence, built in 1847, is one of the buildings displayed in the open air. The residence and its collection of over 1,000 well-preserved folk tools are designated as Important Tangible Folk Cultural Properties.
*Please check the official website for the latest information, including opening hours.
After a short walk you will come to Shinbori Bridge. The current bridge was completed in 1986.
The view from the bridge of Tamagawa Josui was selected by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government as one of the “One Hundred Views of New Tokyo.” There are beautiful zelkova and sawtooth oak trees covering the water on both banks. To the west of the bridge you can see Konpira Daigongen Hill. In June you might be lucky enough to see fireflies dancing across the scene.
Tamura Sake Brewery, established in 1822, is located on the banks of the Tamagawa Josui. The scenic brewery with its white plaster walls and wooden façade has been carefully preserved over the years, and the site has five Registered Tangible Cultural Properties including the sake brewery, the water mill, and the stone wall. The Maegura (former storehouse) is used to display sake for sale. You can also see the well, used to draw up underground water for brewing, and the giant zelkova tree in the private residence of the brewery’s proprietor.
Of course, no visit is complete without taking the chance to sample some of the brewery’s signature sake “Kasen,” carefully crafted with local Chichibu-Okutama water.
*Brewery tours are available, except in December and January, but please note that reservations are required (by website or phone, one week to three months prior to the desired date).
Finish your walk at Fussa Station on the JR Ome Line (about 10 minutes on foot).