Akigawa Valley

Japanese people flock to areas with seasonal beauty on weekends and holidays and the Akigawa Valley is no exception. It offers a pleasant, natural respite year-round from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo and is only an hour away.

Like a gateway to many of Akiruno’s draws, key places to visit and see are along the Aki River that forms the valley or nestled among the nearby mountains, including an ancient tree-lined temple, a skybridge, camp sites aplenty, gently flowing streams, and especially in the autumn, gorgeously colored leaves everywhere.

No matter your style of enjoying the outdoors, something is sure to strike your fancy and arriving at the valley feels like stepping into a quieter world, full of beauty and tranquility.

Ishibune-bashi Bridge

One of the most recognizable spots in the Akigawa Valley is the Ishibune-bashi Bridge. This 96-meter suspended skybridge offers a panoramic view of the Aki River flowing below and the picturesque scenery around you. This makes it a great place to stop for photos any time of the year, whether it’s the lush green of spring and summer, the reds and oranges autumn, or the glistening white of winter.

On top of that, it forms part of the path toward the Seoto-no-Yu Spa, so it would be ideal to enjoy both while you’re in the area. A nice walk, a nice view, and a nice hot soak sound like ingredients for a perfect one-day getaway.

Akigawa-bashi Bridge River Park BBQ Land

You get two for one with a visit to this riverside park area a quick walk across the river from Musashi-Itsukaichi Station. Enjoy the big open sky and gorgeous greenery all around and take a quick dip in the river flowing past. Then light the charcoal, grill a juicy steak and some veggies, and wash it down with something ice-cold to drink.

Sounds great, right? Enjoying something familiar but doing it with Japanese ingredients would be another cool memory to make during your stay. But then again, lugging all the stuff for a BBQ takes too much time, planning, and effort, so maybe skip on that... No need to, though. The Park provides all the outdoor tools and comforts you need, from the grills and cooking utensils to tents and canopies. Be sure to have a translation app on hand to make procurement smoother! You just need to procure the goods to grill, and local supermarkets will be more than willing to help your mission for noms.

So all you need to do is show up ready for a great time. It’s a super popular spot in the summertime and it’s first-come, first-served, so come early!

Akigawa International Trout Fishing Ground

An angler is an angler wherever they go and there are a lot of fun places to scratch your fishing itch along the Aki River. The Akigawa International Trout Fishing Ground is surrounded by lush, green scenery, setting the perfect mood for some fishing.

Four areas are available for fishing, but it’s the bait fishing area that draws the most interest. Rent a rod, buy some bait, and it’s off to cast your line into the clear waters.

There are guidance pamphlets available in English and the staff are all friendly, but everything explained and listed is in Japanese, so we recommend bringing someone who understands the language or using a translator app.

Once you’ve got a trout on the line, enjoy the thrill of reeling it in and securing a catch! Then, bring the trout you’ve caught (up to 10!) over to the BBQ.

The management offers all kinds of equipment and supplies for rental as well as all the ingredients for a typical Japanese barbeque, but you’re also welcome to bring your own fixings and spices. So fry up your catch over the fire and dig into a crispy, super-fresh trout delicacy!

If you aren’t feeling up to roasting fish yourself, there is a restaurant on-site that features broiled trout (naturally) lathered with their special sauce over rice with a side of miso soup. You can opt for the fried version if you prefer—you likely won’t be disappointed by either—and other everyday Japanese eats.

Tokura Shiroyama Terrace

Individual visitors are welcome to visit the restaurant and various galleries, but overnight stays, etc., are open only to groups of 15 or more.

Tokura Elementary School closed its doors in 2013 after 139 years of history but was renovated and re-opened in 2016 as the “Tokura Shiroyama Terrace,” complete with a café, rooms for overnight stays, and bathing facilities.

Visitors are welcome to browse the classrooms that have been converted to suit different purposes and to showcase local activities and events.

The café features an outdoor terrace and offers a range of light meals using locally grown vegetables that are particularly nostalgia-inducing for many Japanese people, especially the kyushoku (school lunch) most Japanese children grow up eating every day.

The Terrace is often used to host school clubs, groups, company excursions and the like, but also functions as a gallery for local artwork and offers hands-on experiences like vegetable harvesting, group training seminars, arts and crafts, and culinary workshops.

Though now a center for community engagement, the Terrace still offers visitors a chance to see the halls hundreds of Japanese kids in Akiruno grew up in.

Shiroyama Mountain Climb

This is one of the courses available at the Tokura Shiroyama Terrace and is open only to groups of 15 or more. The guides only speak Japanese so we recommend bringing someone who understands the language or using a translator app.

Standing 434 meters tall, Mt. Shiroyama (lit. “castle mountain”) is a local symbol of Akiruno and was once the location of Tokura Castle in the days of samurai, shoguns, and ninja.

Given its relatively low elevation, it doesn’t present a challenging hike and can be summited in about 30 minutes. The local guide will take your group across mountain streams and along mountain paths in a journey that’s sure to bring out some of your adventurous spirit as you work your way up.

If it’s a clear day, you get excellent views at the top of not just Akiruno below, but also of the Tokyo skyline off in the distance.


Stepping through the front entrance to Kurochaya teleports you back in time, with moss-covered roofs, arching trees, and stone pathways and steps aplenty.

The original structure is an incredible 250-year-old house, but has been beautifully designed and re-purposed, peeking out from under the cover of trees.

Kurochaya provides full-course meals that adhere to the Japanese values of presentation, incorporation of the seasons, and local ingredients. Each comes with a colorful assortment of dishes that are a feast for the eyes as well as for the stomach, with one of the biggest highlights being Akigawa Beef—raised right in Akiruno and Tokyo’s only brand of Japanese Black wagyu.

Wall-sized windows provide an unobstructed view of the gorgeous greenery around as your steak is cooked over the charcoal or on a hot plate per your choice.

The sights, smells, and flavors combine to produce a fantastic luxury Japanese dining experience. However, if you wish to stop by for a more casual visit, Kurochaya also has an outdoor terrace café with a top-notch view overlooking the Aki River. It’s a great place to take a breather (and have some matcha shaved ice!) on a warm summer’s day.