Akigawa Valley, a nature-rich countryside just one hour away from Central Tokyo
Akigawa Valley or Akigawa Keikoku 秋川渓谷 is a nature-rich countryside just one-hour away by train from Central Tokyo, still, retains a serene atmosphere. Musashi Itsukaichi Station is a starting point for many pleasant rambles around the valley, abounds with things to do and see that includes camping, fishing, Onsen hot springs and visiting historic temples off the beaten path.
Start walking from a train station on the Itsukaichi-sen Line
Lies in the west Tokyo, Akigawa Valley is a 20km-long valley along the Akigawa River known as one of the best destinations for outdoor enthusiasts within easy access from Central Tokyo. There are various walking routes along the river, in the mountains, takes from 2 hours to 6 hours. Those walking routes start from train stations on the Itsukaichi-sen Line 五日市線 and the starting point for popular routes is JR Musashi Itsukaichi Station 武藏五日市駅. The buses taking in destinations around Akigawa Valley are also served from the bus terminal at Musashi Itsukaichi Station.
A tourist information office is at Musashi Itsukaichi Station where touring maps and brochures are available. You should get one of the maps before starting a walk. Walking map is also downloadable from the website of Akiruno City Tourist Association. http://www.akirunokanko.com/ (Japanese website.
Autumn is the best time of year to visit Akigawa Valley
The best season to walk around Akigawa Valley must be autumn. In late November it is nice walking along the river and see the autumn leaves under the serene sky. On the path leading up to the hill you will see historic temples and shrines nestled in the forest, the scenery makes you forget you are in a part of busy Tokyo.
The Akigawa River
Kotoku-ji Temple 広徳寺
Founded in 1373, this temple has old trees designated as a natural monument by Tokyo Metropolitan Government. In late November, golden leaves of the gingko trees fascinate visitors. Kotokuji Temple stands on a hill, about 30 minutes walk from Musashi Itsukaichi Station.
A road off the Hinohara Kaido Way.
Take one of these small roads for walking as Hinohara Kaido Way is rather busy with cars passing by.
There are good camping sites around the Akigawa River.
Keep in mind that the river could flood or be muddy after rain.
Viewing the river down from Ishibune-bashi Bridge
The Jyurigi Bus Stop十里木バス停, about 15-min by bus from Musashi Itsukaichi Station, is located in the area having attractions such as BBQ sites or camping site, and Ishibune-bashi Bridge 石舟橋, the feature of Akigawa Vally lies there. This 96m-long, suspension bridge leads to Seoto-no-yu Onsen known for smooth hot spring water. As the Seoto-no-yu Onsen is so popular that it gets extremely crowded on holidays, it is better to avoid weekends and the busy time (3:00PM-5:00PM) if possible. Seoto-no-yu Onsen is about 10 minutes away on foot from Jyurigi Bus Stop. A shuttle bus is also served between Seoto-no-yu and Musashi Itsukaichi Station, but it runs every one hour or less. Check the timetable at the bus stop.
The Akigawa Valley
Getting to Akigawa Valley
To find how to get to Akigawa Valley area from Central Tokyo, see this page:
Mt.Mitake, Oume town and Akigawa Valley area
Akigawa Valley Information by Akiruno Tourism Association (Japanese website)
Nishitokyobus (Japanese website)
Seotonoyu Onsen (Japanese website)
Google Maps : Musashi Itsukaichi Station