Sayama Hills Loop Hike

Hiked on Jun 16, 2020


Saitama Prefectural Nature Park – Noyamakita-Rokudoyama Park

  Duration: 4 hours
  Distance: 12.9 km
  Elevation change: 60 metres
  Highest point: 172 metres
  Start: Seibu-Kyujo-mae Station
  Finish: Seibu-Kyujo-mae Station
  Difficulty:   ▅▅▅▅▅▅▅▅▅▅  
  Map: Tokyo Metropolitan Park in Sayama Hills



A Green Oasis in Tokyo’s Outer Suburbs

I’ll go out on a limb and say this is possibly the best 4-hour hike within 30 km of downtown Tokyo. The Sayama Hills measure 11 km lengthwise and 4 km across making it one of the most important natural environments in the Tokyo Metropolis. I’ve done the hike twice, most recently this past week during a brief interlude of sunny skies. It loops counterclockwise beginning and ending at Seibu-Kyujo-mae Station next to the Seibu Lions baseball stadium in Tokorozawa, Saitama. Access to the station is by either the Seibu Sayama Line from Nishi-Tokorozawa or via the rubber-tyred and aptly nicknamed Leo Liner from Seibu-Yuenchi.

After exiting the station head towards the Family Mart, cross and follow the road downhill. Turn left at the first street and snake your way around to the Saitama Prefectural Nature Park 県立狭山自然公園 which encompasses the embankment of the Yamaguchi Reservoir aka Sayama Lake. The far end of the dam wall is a good spot to view Fujisan and adjoins a small grassy park dotted with picnic tables. Continue through the park until you reach a minor road. Follow this road uphill as it hugs the northern perimeter of Sayama Lake. A little way along you’ll pass a tiny shrine and a gate closed to vehicles daily between 09:30-16:00.

This side of the lake sees far fewer visitors, apart from the odd mountain biker and amateur birder. Most of the hike until this point is a mixture of sealed and gravel roads but gradually narrows to a vehicular trail as you approach the ‘nature walk’ junction. This section of vehicular trail is around 2 kilometres in length, fenced on both sides, gated, and restricted to walkers. The surrounding mixed species-woodland is managed by the Tokyo Bureau of Waterworks as a water catchment. Around the halfway point finds the Nawatake Bridge 縄竹橋 which crosses the crystal-clear Kanahori Stream 金堀沢. In 2003 the original bamboo bridge was demolished and replaced with a less appealing concrete one.

The southern end of the nature walk borders the Noyamakita-Rokudoyama Park, one of the largest parks run by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. Exit the gate turn left and follow a popular walking path which eventually leads back to Tama Lake. After 10 minutes you’ll reach an open three-way intersection known as Yakiba 焼場 meaning crematory where a Roku-jizo 六地蔵 memorialises local residents who died during a dysentery epidemic in 1897. A little further along there are several inviting rest spots with rough-hewn benches along with a children adventure playground and the nearby Katakuri onsen.

Once you reach route 55 turn left and it’s a 3.5 km walk back to Seibu-Kyujo-mae Station. If you have time check out the vivid red Yamaguchi Kannon especially in the spring as there are several cherry blossoms scattered amid the temple grounds.


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  • Hi, David.
    Could stay home no more after so much rain and went to try this one. The gate right at the end of the lake is now closed (could not follow your course around, might be a seasonal thing) so one either goes all the way to the end of Saitama Forest and back or cut through it upwards and back to Sayama reservoir, which is what I did. Took me 4 hours stopping here and there to see the insects (bucketloads of snails) and some birds, one of which I had never seen before. It rained non-stop and My feet are cold and numb but it was a good walk. Buying you a Ko Fi today.

    • Hi Francisco, you’re right, this rain we’ve been having has been rather ceaseless. Even so it always feels good venturing out even if you end up half soaked. Quite possibly it’s a seasonal thing with them locking the gate at the end of the lake though I suspect they lock it when there’s a chance of flooding. But to lock it at one end and not the other doesn’t make much sense or at least have a sign to that effect. Sounds like you enjoyed yourself and thanks a lot for the coffee!

  • I wanted to reach out with my thanks for creating such a great website in English on hiking around Tokyo! I did one this hike and it was really lovely. Quiet and beautiful. I really appreciate the time and energy it took for you to highlight this lovely area – one I would have missed otherwise. Many thanks again!