Tokyo Walks: Along the Tamagawa Josui

A Nature Fix Without Leaving the City

With Tokyo in the grip of the worst June heatwave since 1875 means hiking nearer to the city will have to take a back seat thanks to the searing sun, sky-high temps, and pea-soup humidity. As I write, central Tokyo has had five consecutive days of 35 degrees a record for June and Isesaki City in Gunma Prefecture, north of Tokyo just logged 40 degrees a second time. The most sensible place to be living at the moment would seem to be Wakkanai with temps topping out in the high teens.

Thankfully for those of us living in Western Tokyo getting our nature fix isn’t all that difficult. A good place to start is amongst the verdant vegetation that tracks the Tamagawa Josui 玉川上水 that runs from Hamura City to Yotsuya. The roughly 43-kilometre aqueduct that draws water from the Tama River was the handiwork of the Tamagawa brothers who helped construct it way back in 1653. At the time Edo was suffering from a shortage of drinking water hence it’s expedient completion in only 18 months. This past week before work, I’ve been getting up early to breathe in some slightly cooler air, take a few pics and enjoy one of the better sides about living in this megacity.



Approximate Course of the Tamagawa Josui

  • David,
    Didn’t know this one — thanks ! what part did you do ? (where are the photos from?)
    In May, I started from Hamura Tamagawa Brothers statue, along the Tama River 50km course (not good now — too hot).
    These long flat courses, big miles, are useful to test out where hot spots / blisters develop etc

    • I have updated the map at the bottom. The section covered on this walk is indicated by the blue line. Funny you should mention about checking for blisters as I have been doing exactly that with some Salomon’s I recently picked up.

      • I’ve walked very long until I develop hot spots / blisters. After knowing this, I’m now pre-taping the areas and seeing what works with tape.
        Leukotape P is what most thru hikers use. It’s expensive, but stays on when wet. It has zinc oxide which made my skin a bit irritated. I’m now trying KT tape, and duct tape.

      • Another alternative which I swear by is Tegaderm Film and always carry a few with me as they weigh next to nothing. I even did a review on it some years back here. The HP (Holding Power) version is best though for whatever reason isn’t available OTC.

  • Thanks for this.

    I have a friend who lives in the area and has been looking for good places to walk/run.

  • Awesome. I’ve been searching in vain for a long flat forested trail for actual ‘trail running’. Not power hiking vertical trails when my intention was running. And over 40K! Thanks, David!

    • No worries, Brian. It’s great when you discover the perfect trail that aligns with what you’re looking for.