Want to visit an off-the-beaten-path place in Tokyo and have unique experiences? Let’s take a day trip to Tama from the center of Tokyo to go hiking in the tranquil forest. The Tokyo’s hidden oasis Tama has amazingly rich nature and wild spots for outdoor activities like hiking, surrounded by mountains. Too rich nature to believe there is in Tokyo.
Tama is one of the best areas in Tokyo to explore Tokyo deeper or avoid crowds in the city center. You can get to the hinterland in about 1.5 hours by train from the metropolitan area like Shinjuku Station. And, I have found the unique activity which offers the one and only experience in Tama.
Today, I’d like to tell you about the interesting experience: hiking in the forest and a wasabi farm in Tokyo. Wasabi is one of the essential parts of Japanese food cooking, especially for sushi. An Australian wasabi farmer guided me to the wasabi farm in the forest in Tama, which is one of the best hiking spots in Tokyo!
Hiking in the forest in Tama, Tokyo
David, the name of the guide, came to pick me up at Kawai Station (川井駅) and drove to the entrance of the forest. He taught a variety of things about the forest from the plants to the history there in English while hiking slowly. He was a former journalist in Australia, and now live in Tama farming water-grown wasabi and helping revive the local community. His talking was just interesting and easy to understand about the area.
There were a great number of species of plants in the forest such as Japanese wisteria, hinoki cypress, silver vine, etc. After 20–30 mins walking, we arrived at his wasabi farm halfway up the hill. Stone walls stood around the farm which was also surrounded with nets to prevent animals like deers and monkeys from damaging the farm.
The whole forest was not maintained well, however, the David’s wasabi farm was kept cleanly cultivated. Wasabi needs around 1.5 years to grow up, and he harvested a wasabi for me which he had grown up for two years carefully. We washed the wasabi in the pond and stripped it with blade made of a deer’s horn.
Finally, it was time to try the fresh wasabi! Surprisingly, David provided me with gorgeous roast beef to eat with wasabi. We grated the wasabi with a wasabi grater which was made from sharkskin. The grated wasabi went really well with the roast beef. It had very nice taste and smell and I put much wasabi on the beef, which stimulated my nose but that was nice.
After satisfying our hunger, we split the root of the wasabi we harvested into some and planted them again. I was surprised that cropped wasabi roots can be used for the next planting. And then, we finished hiking and said goodbye.
David was really kind and friendly, and I felt heartwarming as if I visited my grandfather in the countryside. I enjoyed the nostalgic, relaxing hiking tour, spending time away from the hustle and bustle of the city. It was also the unique Japanese food experience to have the fresh wasabi. We cannot have that special experience in central Tokyo.
One of the most attractive things on a trip is encountering nice people who live in the local place, personally. So, this hiking tour with David gave me the one and only memory, and I hope I will visit him again when my planting wasabi grows up. Thank you very much for your providing that nice time, David. There are numerous exciting outdoor activities in Tama, but a laid-back attraction like this is also recommended.
▽Book the David’s wasabi farm hiking tour for a half day online!▽
▽You can book another special tour by David for a day▽
This wasabi farm hiking tour starts from the afternoon, so how about adding the other activity to your plan in the morning!! I chose this one for the morning.
▽My recommended activity is canyoning!▽
How to Get to Kori Station, Tama from Shinjuku Station
Kawai Station (川井駅) is the nearest station for the canyoning tour, which it takes around 1.5 hours to get to from Shinjuku Station (新宿駅).
1. Take Chuo Line bound for Ome Station (青梅駅) from Shinjuku Station.
2. Change trains to Ome Line bound for Okutama Station, and then get off Kawai Station .
Keep in mind that Tokyo has that tranquil spot away from the busy city area. Let’s extend your Tokyo trip a little further. For more info about traveling Tokyo, you might also like these article below.