Hatonosu (鳩ノ巣渓谷) is an unassuming little unmanned stop near the end of the Ome Line, towards the famous outdoor haven surrounding Okutama Station and Okutama-Machi (奥多摩). The station is unremarkable but sweet and rustic, and around it there aren’t many immediate amenities: a nice toilet, a small restaurant and a closed down, showa general store.
However, a short walk from the station takes you to a riverside path leading to a little footbridge over some of the most dramatic and scenic gorges, cliffs and blue river water in the Tokyo region. This is Hatonosu Ravine, and an excellent place for deep water river swimming.
Take a picnic or a barbeque with you and set up for the day, riverside camping is also possible, or those in the mood (and with slightly more of a budget) can warm up in a beautiful and very large onsen complex hidden from the river bay by a pretty forest.
Where is Okutama?
Hatonosu is two stops east of the larger Okutama Station, and about 2 hours from central Tokyo, westbound on JR trains. Near the western boundary of Tokyo Metropolis, the spot is almost in the neighbouring remote, mountainous Yamanashi Prefecture on the map.
It’s an easy trip though with minimal walking once you’ve debarked from the train. From the station to the best bit of river is only about 500 metres, and impossible to miss. Once you head down from the station to the main road walk towards the dark tunnel and turn left towards the river there. There are a couple of paths but the easiest one to navigate is the biggest one, which takes you directly past the onsen, Hatonosu-sou (at the hotel 奥多摩の風 はとのす荘). and towards the stunning rocky scenery and river waters.
Don’t bother trekking for upstream from here for a swim as you’ll get to the Shiromaru Dam (白丸ダム) and its still reservoir waters, which is unsuitable and dangerous for swimming.
How do I get to Okutama?
It’s easy but a little time-consuming to get to Hatonosu from Shinjuku. Take the Chuo Line first to Ome (just over an hour) and then get the smaller and more rustic Ome Line all the way (39 minutes) to Hatonosu (1080 JPY).
Watch out as the Ome Line is significantly less regular than its urban counterparts. You will sometimes have to wait at the station a while, but the staff are usually happy to let you out to wander to the convenience store for refreshments if you need to. .
If you want to eat out in Hatonosu, there are some cafes but opening hours can be unreliable. The Gallery Poppo (ぽぽ) is very near the ravine, and has a friendly owner with recommended coffee and mochi rice cakes you can grill on a tabletop open flame.
The Hatonosu-sou onsen and hotel complex also does some fine looking Japanese foods.