Monday, November 24, 2008


I once had a business trip to Costa Rica. In the capital city of San Jose, I found a brochure for a day trip where you could ride a bus from the east coast of the country to the west, while stopping at a live volcano and a spot in the rain forest along the way, all within about 10 hours. I didn't have time to go on the trip, but I'd love to go back to try it.

(Dam from the visitor center, barely visible from the water side)

Tokyo is a lot like San Jose in that respect, but with a lot more anime DVDs in the mix.

(View of the lake, from the middle of the dam wall)

We decided to jump on the train from the apartment and rode it out 30 minutes to Tachikawa, where we switched lines. We rode the new train another 30 minutes then switched again. At the second platform, I discovered the grime-covered advertisement of Mysterious Akko-chan requesting passengers to visit the shop around the corner. We rode the third train out to the end of the line, then took a bus out for another 30 minutes.

(Another view of the hills surrounding the lake)

Thus it was that we arrived at Oome, and the dam that supplies water to Tokyo. There's a hiking trail at the other end of the dam that goes out 12 kilometers, ending on the other side of the lake at a bus stop. If you want, you can hike back on the other side of the lake to make it a full 20 kilometer round trip. We got to the lake at 4 PM, so there wasn't time to make the hike. Plus, there was a stiff wind coming off the lake at about 45 degrees F, and we weren't dressed for the weather. Maybe next time.

(Clouds. Clear skies, but cold and windy)

We went out to the lake to look at the Fall colors, but most of the leaves hadn't turned yet. Still, it was a nice trip, and I ended up getting up into the hills just outside Tokyo for a view that I hadn't realized was so close to hand. Plus, the round-trip fare was less than $20, so it was a cheap excursion that I plan on repeating when things warm up again next Spring. One of the people we met at the bus stop was from Sweden. He had a full backpack and a camera kit with tripod. He'd been out to the park before for weekend camping trips and nature photography. Maybe I'll meet him again when I come out for my hike.

(View back towards the visitor center, from the road on the dam wall)

(View of down-river side of dam, from the road on the wall)

(Akko-chan billboard, grimy, but still in use)

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