Distance: 13.1 km
Elevation change: 63 metres
Highest point: 158 metres
Start: Musashi-Yamato Station (Seibu Tamako Line)
Finish: Musashi-Yamato Station
Map: Tokyo Metropolitan Park in Sayama Hills
While artificial lakes are prevalent throughout Japan ones that contain cycling paths encompassing their length and breadth are not. Enter Tama Lake 多摩湖 located in Higashiyamato City in the western end of Tokyo and accessible from Tamako Station 多摩湖駅 on the Seibu Tamako Line. Since moving to west Tokyo four years ago I have made regular visits to the area also know as the Sayama Kyuryo 狭山丘陵. Besides the 11.2km bicycle path encircling the lake, the parkland’s are quite expansive with enough secluded locations to enjoy some quiet time. The area is also renowned for mountain biking especially around the less visited Sayama Lake 狭山湖 where there are an assortment of single tracks to explore. I intended to delve into this at a later time as it is one of the few good mountain biking locales I have discovered near Tokyo.
Some of the noteworthy attractions include the Seibu Yuenchi Amusement Park 西武園ゆうえんち an ageing facility that has certainly seen better days. Most of it’s declining array of attractions date back to the early 1980s and with a 3,200 yen entry fee its not particularly cheap either. It’s piece de resistance is the 80 metre high gyro tower which resembles a giant cork screw providing visitors a panoramic view from the top before plunging them back to the earthly world below. The other major attraction is the giant Seibu Dome built in 1979 and is unusual for the fact it lacks a wall behind the stands so that air circulates into the field. The Seibu Dome is a major landmark with it’s glistening dome roof often spotted from the tops of nearby mountains.
Yesterday after having a relaxing picnic lunch at Sayama Park we took a leisurely pedal around the lake stopping to grab some pics at the lustrous orange Yamaguchi Kannon 山口観音 and checking out assorted spring flowers coming into bloom. Surprising for Golden Week the crowds weren’t too omnipresent which made for an enjoyable day outing.