This 4th of July weekend we had a break from school and decided to head into the nearby mountains in the Okutama area and test out all of the camping equipment we have bought from REI lately. We first headed up to the Okutama Reservoir and we were pleasantly surprised at the beauty and lack of crowds in the area. There were so many picturesque bridges along the way that I decided not to stop at each one for pictures as to not bore Amber. I will be heading back again on a mission for pictures soon.
We came across some wild monkeys on the side of the road, it was tempting to not put them in the back seat and let them live with us! I don’t know what it is about monkeys, but they are just so cool to see in the wild. We also came across what I believe to be called the Ogochi Shrine which was a short hike on a peninsula rising out of Lake Okutama. It was beautiful and there was not a soul in sight!
We searched up, down, below, and beyond the lake for a place to camp. There was not any shoreline remotely open or flat enough for a tent and all of the developed campgrounds were closed. We ended up having to go back to our apartment at the end of the day. We consulted the googles and headed back up the next day once we found information on a campsite in the town of Kawai. Parking for our car and two persons overnight for ¥3400 total.
The campsite was located underneath a huge cable stayed bridge on the Tama River, right on the rocky shore. We set up camp and took a dip in the frigid waters, which was pretty damn cold despite the heat and humidity during this time of the year. When night rolled around the only other people sleeping in a tent instead of the bungalows in the trees were us, and an American family that had a tent the size of a mansion.
After a muggy night we headed downstream to Mt. Mitake for a day of exploration. We paid ¥1090 a piece for round trip tickets on the cable car that would bypass the long steep road. In about 6 minutes it drops you off a lot higher than were you started at a small village. From there it was a short hike to the Mitake Shrine.
We also hiked to the top of Mt. Otake, visited some waterfalls, and had the obligatory rice balls on a stick which I absolutely love. It was a lot less crowded than nearby Mt. Takao, but it was so humid, the trees and bushes even looked like they were sweating! Oddly enough, this year seems to be a lot less hot and humid compared to our first year here. At the end of the day we were glad to find such a pretty area so close to were we live. But where the hell can we camp!?!?