Akigawa Valley Gorge

What is this place?

akigawa seaside

Running through Akiruno City (あきる野市) in the foothills of Okutama, to the west of Tokyo, the Akigawa River (秋川) and its valley can give you all you need for a quick outdoors escape from the bustle of the city. Dramatic scenery, deep pools and a BBQ spot. If you’re on a limited timeframe you could do a lot worse than come out here for some fresh air and water.

Musashi-Itsukaichi (武蔵五日市) is the go-to jump off point, and though technically a part of 東京都 (Tokyo Metropolis) you won’t find much in the way of facilities on hand, more a quiet, roadside wooden village feeling. The river round here is deep in parts and has some solid rock jumping potential, summertime tubing down the river, and nice pebble banks for picnics.

If you diverge from the river there’s some impressive farmland surrounding: think classic landscaped paddy fields stepping up little hills, with some pleasant Temples and Shrines (see the Gotokuji Temple and Akiru Shrine for some find examples of this).

To top it all, you can warm up after a day in the river with a coniferous tree-top, birds-nest onsen with impressive outdoor baths.


Where is this place?

akigawa shrine

It feels and looks like it’s a world away, yet the best part of the valley - accessed from Musashi-Itsukaichi - is an easy one hour trip from the heart of Tokyo.

From Musashi-Itsukaichi station the Akigawa valley continues for miles, but the main stretch for most visitors is just within a few short kilometres upstream.

If you want to have a quick dip in the shallow water, some tubing, drinks and a barbeque, stay near the station and follow the signs the the barbeque spot called “barbeque land” (バーベキューランド). It’s a five minute walk.

If you are more in the mood for some rock jumping and deeper pools, take a trek alongside the river until you find the right place.

How do I get there?

akigawa station

Musashi-Itsukaichi, the gateway station, is just over an hour from Shinjuku Station on JR Chuo Line and JR Itsukaichi Line, changing at Tachikawa. After that there are regular buses that can take you the short ride further upstream, though for a quick swim or barbeque you don’t need them.

The onsen is about 45 minutes walk from the station or 17 minutes on the bus. Check their website for more details.


Useful bits

akigawa station
One of the best convenient spots is along the main road, around Sawato Bridge (沢戸橋), but it you are patient, and follow the Aki gorge upstream you will find many more little sections with nice pools and rocks. It will be less crowded here too.

There’s a 7/11 right opposite the station and from that it’s an easy, short walk to バーベキューランド. Ten minutes walk from the station, upstream into the town there’s a large supermarket with good ready meals.

Buses back to the train station carry on until at least 10, but it’s not an impossible walk. It may, however be helpful to have a torch/flashlight. Being Japan, the onsen closing time of 10pm is probably connected to the last bus leaving the nearest stop.

akigawa street

The food on offer in the restaurants is the standard Japanese tourist town fare: over a thousand yen sets with soba, tempura, miso soup etc. in quite nice places in quite nice old-style buildings.

Onsen It’s called Seoto-no-Yu.


How would you rate Akigawa as a swimming spot?
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