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Tama River Rafting

A day on the water

Flowing from high in the mountains of Yamanashi the Tama River makes its way to the ocean after traversing a nearly 140 kilometer long trail. The last several kilometers of the river is the dividing line between Tokyo and Kanagawa. The river is dammed along the way, forming Lake Okutama, a major source of Tokyo's drinking water.

Many people enjoy a variety of sports, or hiking, or just walking along the river. One of the best places for walking is a section of the river just west of Tokyo. It can be reached by taking the JR Chuo line to Tachikawa and then changing to the Ome line to Sawai station. It's a short walk down to the river from Sawai.

Start your walk by turning right and make your way all the way to the "tsuri-bori" - the concrete pond where you can toss in a line and catch a few trout - for a price, of course. If you prefer real fishing there are plenty of spots along the river where anglers cast their lines for those elusive trout. Remember though, if you want to fish in the river, you need a license which can be purchased at a few places near the river. Cross the road bridge over to the tsuri-bori and do your return walk on the other side where you'll get a bit more of a hiking feeling as you'll have to make your way over a few roots and rocks and a bit of up and down. Be sure to wear shoes with a decent grip.

Check this video to see a few fly fishermen and fisherwomen at "work."
http://youtu.be/CisAMdHaw0g

If you're not the fishing type don't despair. There are plenty of other activities. Like rafting. As you walk towards the tsuri-bori you'll pass a sign for rafting and bouldering safety cushions rentals. Climb the steps and check on tours and prices.

See this short video - looks like fun, doesn't it?!
http://youtu.be/IAESu39dGmA

Don't want to be on the water? Okay, then how about Tree Cruising. These guys at the company, One Nature, will have you swinging from the trees, enjoying the breeze, and a cup of tea while you gaze out over those rafters, kayakers, and fisher people catching (or not catching) all those trout. Cost: 7,000 yen. Reserve by calling 0428-74-9235 or check them out at http://www.tree-cruising.jp (Japanese only, but Google Translate or Bing can take care of that, at least enough so you'll "get it").

Meanwhile, here's a short video of some cruisers.
http://youtu.be/WTNL-4SM4-o

What - still nothing that catches your fancy? Okay, how about something solid. Solid, like in rocks. Like in BIG rocks. Have you ever given bouldering a try? It looks like great preparation for its cousin, rock climbing, so why not give it a try. Remember those bouldering cushions mentioned above? Don't forget to rent those. That ground is might hard when you come tumbling off the boulder.

And, yep, you guessed it - another video to show you how it is done.
http://youtu.be/JLhScDHX1f4

But, if none of those activities is your thing then there's always the walk, and stopping anywhere along the river to enjoy that picnic lunch you brought along (or bought at any convenience store) as you twiddle your toes in the water. And, if you're not a picnicking type there are several restaurants along the river where you can enjoy a variety of nicely prepared foods and drinks.

Whatever you choose to do a day along the Tama River is a fun way to spend a warm and sunny day.

by Joe Peters

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