My trip to Moegi no Yu was a last minute diversion on my way home from Tsuru Tsuru Onsen. There was still another couple of hours of sunshine left and it was an area beckoning me as I hadn’t visited before. Overall, I wasn’t disappointed as the scenery along the way was spectacular but the unfortunately the crowds at Moegi no Yu were overwhelming.
From Musashi Itsukaichi station, it was another 90 minutes by train with a change of trains at Hajima.
I arrived at Okutama at around 4:30pm. As soon as I exited the station I could tell it was a Mecca for hikers. There were groups of hikers everywhere and food stalls set up tempting the visitors with local delicacies. It reminded me of Takao san which is also a very crowded and popular place for hikers, so it reaffirmed my love for the Akigawa Valley as my favourite nature retreat without the crowds.
Moegi no Yu
Moegi no Yu is a 10 minute walk from the station. I quickly walked up the road in the fading afternoon light, hoping to see some autumn leaves along the way. I found them!
Just before I got to the entrance of Moegi no Yu there was also a very picturesque bridge, called Moegibashi, spanning the Tama river.
After the slight diversion along the way, I found Moegi no Yu, along with the hundreds of other people who had the same idea! It was definitely peak hour for the many day trippers or people who had set up camp along the river for the long weekend.
As I saw the huge line at the entrance, I was quite close to doing a u-turn and heading back to the station. Ironically though, I found myself ushered to the front of the queue, as it was only the men’s bath that had a wait! Apparently there was “space” left for the ladies.
Well “space” in Japan is relative. The ladies bathroom was very crowded and there was not much room to change in the locker room. As I entered the bathroom, I also discovered that all of the showering area was full, so I headed outside toward the rotenburo, and the outside showering area was also full! It was the first time I have ever had to stand there naked with a little towel, queueing for a shower. Not necessarily an experience I would like to repeat!
I finally got my shower, and then only had a very quick dip in the onsen as I really don’t like the crowds, especially with a communal bath when you are dodging other naked bodies! It brought back memories of my Golden Week bath experience!
I escaped Moegi no Yu as quickly as possible and filled my lungs with the fresh evening air as I wandered back to the station to head back to Tokyo.
Looking back at the day, I was really glad to have taken the diversion on my way home. Despite the crowds at Moegi no Yu, I had been seduced by the incredible mountain scenery and determined to come back next weekend to find an onsen experience in this spectacular natural environment without the crowds!
From Shinjuku take the Chuo line to Tachikawa and change to the Ome line to Okutama. Total travel time on the Chuo Line Ome Special Rapid is 1 hour and 38 minutes.