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Lake Sayama & Lake Tama Walking and Cycling | Day trips around Tokyo

Travel Japan
Category : Travel Japan未分類
Would you like to spend a peaceful day walking and cycling in a lush natural setting, only a 35-minute train ride away from Tokyo? Sayama Hills, a serene oasis surrounding Lake Sayama and Lake Tama, beckons as a perfect day-trip destination for a tranquil weekend holiday. A leisurely promenade along the lake shore, vast green spaces punctuated by forest parks, and various attractions, including observation decks, temples, shrines, old folk houses, and a bird sanctuary, all conspire to create an atmosphere of calm that will entice you to return for a peaceful weekend retreat. It is also nice to pause at one of the charming cafes or restaurants to wind down for the busy days.

Sayama Hills Outline

Sayama Hills is the area surrounding Lake Sayama and Lake Tama, stretching 11 km from east to west and 4 km from north to south. Nestled on the border between Tokyo and Saitama Prefecture, it is a place teeming with nature that still preserves the scenery of bush and trees, marshes, and Satoyama woodland despite its close proximity to the city.

Lake Tama

Lake Tama

Lake Sayama and Lake Tama are artificial lakes built to secure Tokyo’s water sources. The Sayama Hills region is home to many forest parks primarily used to protect the water sources. The Lake Tama area has six forest parks, while the Lake Sayama area has 59 Totoro Forests, which are preserved by the National Trust and are located within and around the Prefectural Sayama Nature Park. Comprising of those many forests, Sayama Hills is a green space that feels like a natural theme park. You can enjoy different activities throughout the year, like viewing cherry blossoms during spring, admiring autumn leaves, seeing the reflection of Mt. Fuji on the lake in winter, and bird watching.

Explore Sayama Hills!

Sayama Hills offers numerous opportunities for outdoor activities, particularly walking and cycling around Lake Sayama and Lake Tama. The eastern side of the lakes has five train stations, making it easy to start nature walking or cycling from one of them. Walking on unpaved forest paths while admiring peaceful scenery in a forest park is a popular activity.

Sayama Hills Image Map

An image map of Sayama Hills. Refer to the location of pathways and sightseeing areas.

Lakeside Walking

If you’re looking for a pleasant stroll surrounded by greenery and near a peaceful lake, areas “1” or “2” on the map would be an excellent choice. These areas are easily accessible from the nearest station and have special viewpoints, so they are places you want to visit first when you come to Sayama Hills. If your choice is area “1,” start walking from Musashi-Yamato Station. As for area “2,” Seibukyujo-mae Station will be the starting point. Instead of taking a brisk walk for physical exercise, it is more appropriate to take a leisurely stroll to enjoy the view. There are benches and grassy areas available in the nearby park, making it an ideal spot for a picnic.

A view of Lake Tama from the area 1. Sayama Park is about a 3-minute walk from Seibuen-yuenchi Station, but approaching it from Musashi-Yamato Station, walking through a path in the forest can be more enjoyable.

A Scenic viewpoint on Lake Sayama’s lakeside in Area 2, reachable from Seibukyujo-mae Station.
Photo provided by Saitama Prefecture Products & Tourism Association
Reproduction/Reprint prohibited

Nature walking in Forest parks

If you prefer walking in the forest to strolling by the lakeside, the suggestion is one of the parks in areas “3” or “4” on the map above. Sayama Hills is said to be one of the settings for the famous movie “My Neighbor Totoro (Tonarino Totoro).” It remains a nostalgic place where you can still see the natural environment that was well-preserved during life in a Satoyama. For those seeking a break from the urban hustle and bustle, it is a perfect place to enjoy a relaxing walk along the rustic paths. To avoid getting lost in the forest park, check the related information on the web.

Sayama Hills Parks

The Totoro no Furusato Foundation

More exploration by using a shared bicycle

If you want to explore a wider area than walking, why not use a shared bicycle? Bicycle stations near the train station on the eastern side of the lakes provide a convenient way to cycle around Lake Sayama and Tama. As the pathways surrounding the lakes are for both bikers and walkers, they are more suitable for pottering than for cycling workouts. The path alongside the lake is mostly flat, providing a relaxing bike ride experience. Going up hills in the area takes you to scenic viewpoints from their tops. Shared bicycle stations can be found near Seibukyujo-mae Station and Seibuen-yuenchi Station. Keep in mind that the number of shared bicycles is limited, so it’s best to reserve them ahead of time.

Hello Cycling Shared Bicycle Service

If you enjoy mountain cycling, take the route in area “6”. It offers an adventurous ride through an unpaved path in the forest. The manners to enjoy a ride are as follows: Ensure you are on the track, do not enter the habitats of plants and animals, and do not ride on walking paths where bicycles are prohibited. An organization centered on the six municipalities surrounding Sayama Hills provides an informative map called the SAYAMA HILLS CYCLING MAP. Although it is only available in Japanese, it is very useful when cycling and walking, as it shows where public restrooms are, etc.

Sayama Hills Cycling Map

Map in PDF

Where do we have lunch?

Sayama Hills has no restaurants within the forest area, which is comprised of nature reserves. Bring your own lunch if you want to have it in the park. One suggestion is that you get something at a convenience store near Musashi-Yamato Station. Please remember to avoid leaving your trash behind and have a wonderful time enjoying your picnic under the sun!

To find a restaurant, look outside the forest area near Seibu Dome or Seibuen Amusement Park. It will also be a good idea to have lunch at “Chosuichi Toriyama” on the south side of Lake Tama, which is famous for its chicken dishes. (Reservation will be required)

Chosuichi Toriyama (貯水池鳥山)

Getting to Sayama Hills (Lake Sayama and Lake Tama area) from Tokyo

If you are going to the Sayama Hills by train from central Tokyo, take a train on the Seibu Line.
The nature walking areas are best reachable from the train station Musashi-Yamato Station” or “Seibukyujo-mae Station” on the Seibu Line. Remember, there are two Seibu Lines departing from different stations (Seibu Shinjuku Line and Seibu Ikebukuro Line), leading to different stations. Be sure to check which station your train departs from.

To Musashi-Yamato Station:
By the Seibu-Shinjuku Line train Travel time: Approximately 38 minutes
Take the express train from Seibu-Shinjuku Station* (about 30 minutes). Transfer to the Tamako Line at Hagiyama Station (about 6 minutes) to Musashi-Yamato Station.
*No transfers on the express train bound for Lake Tama (frequently runs in the morning and evening on holidays)

To Seibukyujo-mae Station:
By the Seibu Ikebukuro Line train Travel time: 33 to 41 minutes
From Ikebukuro Station, take the Seibu Ikebukuro Line’s express train (about 26 minutes). At Nishi-Tokorozawa Station, transfer to the Seibu-Sayama Line (6 minutes) to Seibukyujo-mae Station.

If you want to go to the amusement park Seibuen Amusement Park on the east side of Lake Tama, the nearest station is Seibuen-yuenchi Station or Seibuen Station.

To Seibuen Amusement Station:
By the Seibu Shinjuku Line train Travel time: 47 minutes to 1 hour
From Seibu-Shinjuku Station, take the express train bound for Tamako. (Usually by way of Tama Station.)

Seibu Railway

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