Life with the Lake, Mountains, and Locals

While the east side of Sagamihara is decidedly urban, venturing west along the Sagami River takes you to Lake Sagami before stretching up into the mountains, making it an attractive place to live as well as visit. You get the draw of modern urban convenience but also have a quick escape to nature and opportunities to experience a rural, more “old school” Japan.


It’s this other Japan that you typically only see from a train window, aka the villages nestled between the mountains (satoyama), that Sagamihara offers you a ticket into with the Fujino Satoyama Experience. It’s a full-day outing but undoubtedly worth it. More on that later!

Sagamihara offers you a menu catering to just about whatever strikes your fancy, with Mt. Jinba serving as an alternative to the ever-popular Mt. Takao, Lake Sagami and the lakeside attractions to spend a relaxing afternoon, or the full-fledged amusement park and recreation complex in the Sagamiko Resort Pleasure Forest. In essence, if you’re looking to spend a day outdoors, Sagamihara has it all so book a rental car and plan away!

But, while Tokyo’s glittering lights, towering buildings, and fancy gadgets usually claim the front page, have you ever wondered what life is like in the hamlets that seem to dot the countryside and you go by on a train or highway? Instead of rattling off internet searches to try and find a blog or video about it, we recommend you try it yourself through the Fujino Satoyama Experience.

In coordination with local residents, the program has you become a resident yourself for a day, giving you a truly engaging ticket to experiencing life as a local, from creating your own bamboo “silverware” to cooking sweet potatoes as the villagers do.

One way to make setting up trips around the area smoother—besides that aforementioned rental car—would be to get local accommodations at the Fujino Workshop for Art. Besides serving as a place to spend the night (in a bed or under the stars), the facility offers all manner of arts and crafts workshops to get that “hands-on” itch scratched.

You can go a little further driving a car, and enjoy nature at the Aonoharanoro Lodge Campsite, which is popular with locals and is often featured on TV dramas or on YouTube.