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Ome - The Perfect Side Trip from Tokyo

Updated on December 14, 2014
Breakfast at Tiffany's Japanese Movie Poster in Ome
Breakfast at Tiffany's Japanese Movie Poster in Ome

Getting Away from the City

Tokyo is a huge city with a limitless amount of things to see and do. I've lived here for over 20 years and I still haven't really done everything the city has to offer. However because of it's huge size, it's hard to truly relax and unwind. In fact I find that I have to get myself out of all the hustle and bustle now and then so I don't explode with exhaustion.

I'm always looking for new places to visit in or near Tokyo. Recently I was at my local bookstore and I stumbled upon a magazine that introduced a city called Ome. Just an hour train ride away from Shinjuku, Ome is a sleepy town that has quite a few attractions that can fill an entire day.

It's full of nostagia and has the atmosphere of Japan in the Showa period. In fact this is one of the selling points of the place. The slow pace and peacefulness of the entire town is something you won't be able to experience in the city.

Today I've decided to visit three separate parts of Ome. They are all within walking distance of each other so it can all be done in about 6 hours. I would also recommend having lunch and perhaps a nice tea break in between.

*Photos taken by myself unless otherwise noted.

Tokyo By Foot

Tokyo: 29 Walks in the World's Most Exciting City
Tokyo: 29 Walks in the World's Most Exciting City

Walking is probably one of the best ways to discover Tokyo. With this book in hand, you'll discover more about the city than you'll ever do taking a tour bus. Get to know Tokyo up close and personal. With 29 walks to choose from, there should be something for everybody.

 

Getting There

Ome Station
Ome Station

If you are a tourist visiting Japan, you'll most likely be using Shinjuku as your starting point. Shinjuku is the city that most tourists imagine Tokyo would be like. Skyscrapers, neon lights and people everywhere. Shinjuku is also the busiest train station in the world!

First thing you need to do is to make sure you are at JR Shinjuku Station. There are so many train lines that utilize Shinjuku so take your time and if you are not sure, just ask one of the train attendants to make sure you are at the right place.

The easiest way to get to Ome is to take the JR Chuo Ome Line from Shinjuku to Ome. There are 26 stops and takes about an hour each way. If you've been in Tokyo for awhile you'll find that an hour commuting from one place to another is nothing as Tokyo is so big to begin with.

If you know a little bit of Japanese, I would suggest that you ask the train conductor for the fastest way to get to Ome. Usually this would include a transfer of trains at some point so it's a tad bit more challenging than the first way. You can usually shave off 10-15 minutes off the commuting time this way.

Arriving in Ome

Ome Station
Ome Station

Once you arrive in Ome, you'll notice the atmosphere has completely changed from the city. Notice the surrounding mountains and rooftops of old houses and buildings as you arrive at Ome station.

The station itself is made to look like how it looked from days gone by. From the waiting room to the old movie posters that decorate the entire station, it sets the tone for your Ome excursion.

Once you walk outside the station, you'll find yourself in the city of Ome. This is as busy as you'll see the city get. Make sure to stop by the tourist information center right outside the station to get a map. You'll need this to get around as there are no huge landmarks.

You'll probably get lost from time to time but that's part of the fun. If you are here during the summer, make sure to buy a bottle of water to keep you hydrated. There are many vending machines and stores around here.

Stroll through Ome City

A cool street map
A cool street map

A Stroll Through Simpler Times

Notice all the old movie posters and signs that dot the entire town. These signs are all hand-painted by a resident artist who used to do that for a living in the olden days. I had such a blast trying to find those that I recognized such as Breakfast at Tiffany's.

I also visited three museums in this area. All three museums are located within close proximity of each other so don't worry. They are also extremely small so it'll only take a fraction of your touring time. I suggest that you do all three as they have a special discount ticket with access to all three for only 700 yen. Akatsuka Fujio Kaikan is a museum dedicated to Akatsuka Fujio (1935-2008), who created the popular manga animation, "Bakabon."

The museum is a five-minute walk from the station and displays many things including pictures drawn by the artist himself. There is also a small store selling Bakabon souvenirs and more. Showa Retro Shohin Hakubutsukan can be found right next door and has displays of an old candy shop, often seen on streets during the Showa era. One minute away, you'll find the Showa Gento-kan, exhibiting dioramas that recreate scenes from the Showa period, as well as the movie signboards.

Lunch At a Quaint Hideaway

Delicious Curry Rice
Delicious Curry Rice

After the three museums we were starting to get hungry so we decided to have lunch at "Natsue no tobira" ( The door to summer). We found this quaint restaurant that was tucked away between the station and the mountains. It was such a cute and cozy place that I could have stayed there all day with a nice book. We sat by the window overlooking the train tracks.

The restaurant serves a very good curry rice. The lunch set comes with a side salad and drink. The place also serves a small selection of cakes and drinks.

Natsue no Tobira Coffee Shop

The restaurant looking from the other side of the train tracks leading up to the mountains.
The restaurant looking from the other side of the train tracks leading up to the mountains.

Hiking for an Hour or Two

The next thing on the agenda was a short mini hike up the mountain that's right behind Ome station. We basically exited the coffee shop after lunch and walked up the mountain that was literally right there. We went up as high as we desired and then took a small trail through the forest back down which lead us to a lovely temple.

If you wanted to, you could do a major hike by taking one of the numerous hiking trails in this area. On this particular day, it was too hot and humid and we wanted to see other things in the area as well. Plus I hear there is the occasional snake encounter in these part of the woods.

Hiking up the small mountain of Ome

This is as high as we went
This is as high as we went
Lush greenery all around
Lush greenery all around
On the way down, we stumble upon this torii gate
On the way down, we stumble upon this torii gate

Here's a Video of our Hike up Ome Hills

Down to the River

The final stop on the itinerary was a visit to the Tama River. I really had no expectations for this part of the tour as it's just a river really. However this became the highlight of my visit. Once we found the river, we were greeted with crystal clear water, stunning views and people having barbecues, fathers fishing and teenagers swimming in the cool water.

I couldn't resist and I ended up taking my shoes off to get into the cool and refreshing water of the Tama River.

Tama River

Crystal clear water
Crystal clear water
I coudn't resist!
I coudn't resist!
I could stay here all day
I could stay here all day
A hand-painted billboard in Ome
A hand-painted billboard in Ome

Did reading this lens make you want to visit Japan?

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Other Hubs You Might Enjoy

If you enjoyed this page, you might also enjoy these articles on Japan.

Please drop by my food and travel blog over at TabiEats for more food, travel and fun stories.

Have you ever visited Japan? Please let me know what you thought of this hub. Thanks for visiting!

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    • tazzytamar profile image

      Anna 2 years ago from chichester

      I've always wanted to visit Japan and Ome sounds wonderful! I'll definitely add it to my list of places to see!

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @MariannesWhims: Thank you for visiting. I'm so glad you enjoyed the trip.

    • MariannesWhims profile image

      Marianne Gardner 3 years ago from Pacific NW, USA

      No, haven't been to Japan. Your lens was relaxing just reading it and viewing the scenery and posters. Ome looks slow-passed from a forgotten era. A breath of fresh air escaping the hustle of the Big City. I'd have loved the quaint lunch spot, mini hike, and river.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @Aladdins Cave: Thanks so much Aladdins!

    • Aladdins Cave profile image

      Aladdins Cave 3 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      Nice lens again. I'm going to pin it as well. Hope it works. No idea what I'm doing.

      Cheers from DOWNUNDER

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @wildbluefrontier: Oh yes, this place is such a different place from Tokyo yet near enough to go whenever I feel like it.

    • wildbluefrontier profile image

      Nathan M 3 years ago from Tucson

      Looks like a neat place.. I'm sure it's a great departure from Tokyo.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @captainj88: Glad you think so leah. I hope to write about more interesting places for everyone to read. Thanks for reading!

    • captainj88 profile image

      Leah J. Hileman 3 years ago from East Berlin, PA, USA

      Japan is on my Top Five list of places to see before I die. This is an interesting town!

    • profile image

      ChocolateLily 3 years ago

      @smine27: Will do!

    • MarathonRunning profile image

      Martina 3 years ago from Croatia, Europe

      Great Lens & great pictures!

      The idea of visiting Japan is an absolute delight for me. I have this wish to walk around Tokyo for quite now. Maybe, someday when the cherries will be in bloom :)

      This place is also adorable and you presented it so good.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @VinnWong: Thank you Vinn for your nice comment.

    • VinnWong profile image

      VinnWong 3 years ago

      I just love your travel guides smine27. Thank you for writing this.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @LoriBeninger: That is so sweet of you! I hope your nephew enjoys Ome.

    • LoriBeninger profile image

      LoriBeninger 3 years ago

      My nephew is currently living and going to school in Tokyo. I've passed this beautifully crafted lens onto him as he enjoys exploring. He loves Japan. I enjoyed this emmensely.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @WriterJanis2: Thank you. I really wasn't expecting to see such a beautiful river. It really is beautiful.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 3 years ago

      The river looks so beautiful.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @jennabeezer: Thank you so much for your kind words. Finding unexpected surprises are always one of the highlights of my life. Cheers!

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @josietook: Thanks so much for your kind comment. Cheers!

    • profile image

      jennabeezer 3 years ago

      Ome looks like a wonderful place. I would certainly prefer the quieter areas of Japan to the hustle and bustle of the big cities. The Tama River looks like a spot I would really enjoy as well. I love it when the highlights of your trip are unexpected like that. Nice job!

    • josietook profile image

      josietook 3 years ago

      Great lens!!

    • profile image

      ChocolateLily 3 years ago

      I have never been to Japan, but it's been near the top of my husband's and my list for several years. Don't know if we will ever be able to afford it, so reading this lens was a nice little pretend trip!

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @archetekt lm: Japan awaits your visit! Hmmm...I'm not sure which is closer, perhaps the Philippines.

    • archetekt lm profile image

      archetekt lm 3 years ago

      No I've never visited Japan but would love to someday. The closest I've been was to the Philippine islands or Hawaii not sure which is closer.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @Minoru10: Thanks Minoru. appreciate it.

    • Minoru10 profile image

      Michael Yoshinaka 3 years ago from Honolulu, Hawaii

      Best lens yet !!!

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @TipsForMoms: yes, that tonkatsu restaurant is one of the oldest restaurants in Ome.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @Namsak: Hello kasman. Thanks so much for your comments.

    • TipsForMoms profile image

      TipsForMoms 3 years ago

      Your photos bring back nostalgia big time! Tokyo drives me crazy but I love those quaint little towns. I have to Ome on my "To Visiti" list. (Loved the Tonkatsu sign.)

    • profile image

      Namsak 3 years ago

      I have never been to Japand but this lens makes me want to go - one day, maybe.

    • smine27 profile image
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      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @Susan Zutautas: Japan awaits your visit Susan. :)

    • smine27 profile image
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      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @VinnWong: Thank you Vinn. I really appreciate your comments.

    • Susan Zutautas profile image

      Susan Zutautas 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I've never been to Japan but would love to visit one day.

    • VinnWong profile image

      VinnWong 3 years ago

      Hi smine27. I absolutely loved reading this lens. It was a really clear and precise lens with very informative detail. I felt like I have experienced the place after reading your lens. Thank you!

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @lesliesinclair: Thanks so much for your comments Papier. Yeah, I used a photo app to make the pictures look vintage. :)

    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 3 years ago

      I've never been there, but have enjoyed your tour and all the photos - they look like vintage works.