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Beyond Tokyo’s 23 wards: Exploring west Tokyo and its remote islands

A trip to Tokyo can get crazy—from the brightly lit, confusing parade of neon lights and pedestrian-heavy streets of Kabukicho to Harajuku’s wild fashion and the bustling crowds hurrying across Shibuya’s Scramble Crossing.

These attractions show up on most tourists’ bucket lists, but Japan’s capital city—home to some 14 million people—is even more extensive than you might think. Tokyo truly has it all, with landscapes that include sweeping mountains, lush forests and even subtropical islands.

A view from the top floors of the Tocho, or Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building in Shinjuku—the tallest city hall in the world—won’t reveal it all. However, it does offer sweeping views just beyond the concrete jungle of the city below—a good starting point.

Ready to explore more?

Tama region

Okutama in autumn

The Tama region encompasses all areas of Tokyo west of the 23 wards. Get on a westbound JR Chuo line train at Shinjuku station. It will take you to Takao station, offering convenient access to Mount Takao, a top-rated Tokyo day trip destination. Sure, Mount Takao is already in the mountains, but you aren’t getting away from the Shinjuku crowds yet. 

Change at Tachikawa for the Ome line. That leads you into a much quieter region. Ome is a quaint little town most notable for all the hand-painted classic Hollywood and Japanese movie posters located on almost every corner. These are the work of an Ome-based artist trained in the trade back in the 1960s, the era of Japanese directors like Akira Kurosawa and Seijun Suzuki. 

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