The awesome thing about staying in Tokyo is that you could stay for an entire month and never run out of things to do and see. The first time I went to Japan, I stayed in Tokyo for about 5 days, but this last trip, we stayed up north in Akabane for our thirteen days (with a Fukuoka excursion in there for two).
I knew that we would be taking day trips, I had so much I wanted to see and as usual, didn’t get to see anywhere near as much as I wanted to. Though one of our nearly half day trips, we never had to leave Tokyo.
Todoroki Valley is a spot I’d heard about long before my second trip to Japan and I knew I had to make the stop there on my second go. All of the photos I saw made it look like you were out on some mountain escape, but apparently just a short train ride out of central Tokyo. Shrines, old tombs, a river, bridges, gardens and more – I knew I would enjoy this day and I was certainly right.
Getting there wasn’t hard at all, the train was pretty straightforward from Shinjuku. To get there, take the Tokyu Oimachi Line to Todoroki Station. It’s a smaller platform in an adorable little area with a few shops. After exiting the platform, just take a left outta there and head up the street. I have no idea what official direction it was, but after turning left, you’ll want to cross the street soon after as you continue heading that way. The entrance will be on your right and we almost missed it because it wasn’t exactly grand, so just be on the lookout as you head up. It wasn’t very far at all.
We stopped at a cute little grocery store just before getting there and bought ourselves a picnic lunch. As I almost always recommend when going somewhere outdoors in Japan… well, pack yourself a dang picnic and enjoy. And as always, when packing a picnic, make sure you have an empty sack to store your garbage until you find one.
If you peek down the turns and you see this red bridge (though you’ll be up there at the bridge crossing level) you’ll know you’re there:
You see that orange hose hanging down? Yeah, there was some weird construction going on when we visited, but it was only right at the entrance, and after a moment of walking along the river, we couldn’t hear or see any of it and were transported into some lovely tranquility with the running water and breeze through the many trees.
The first part of the walk is a lot of riverside pathways, some wooden planks along the way that take you closer to the river. It gave such a contrasting, peaceful feeling to the hustle and bustle of the busy Tokyo areas we’d been visiting.
Some of the things you’ll see along the way: Old tombs, shrines, mossy water features, a garden and even a temple. Just take every turn you can and there is so much for you to see. There was one shrine in particular that seemed like it might have been for good luck studying, and it was a bit out of the way (last photo on this page). We started feeling like maybe we were walking where we weren’t supposed to because it was extremely quiet and didn’t look as visited, but I’m glad we kept walking because it was pretty cool.
I’m going to give you a photo dump of some of the cool things to see along the way:
When you get further in, there will be a garden on the right side of the river (again I’m sorry, I’m not sure what direction we were facing, so I’m just going off of the way in which we entered) there will be a little garden you can enter with different flowers and a water feature, though there wasn’t much water when we were there in April. There are stairs along the garden and when you get to the top, you can get that coveted stamp that you visited, as well as some free water.
There was also a little park at the top, no playground, just grass, flowers and a few benches. There was also a bathroom there (as well as one along the river), so this is a good spot to picnic and if you get messy like we ended up doing, you can at least wash your hands.
There was a road just outside the park, and I assume you can get back to that red bridge and make your way to the train station, but we opted to go back down the stairs and walk along the river again to get back to the train station. I’m glad we did because the river seemed a bit fuller and I didn’t want to leave the peaceful feeling quite yet.
And again, just a short walk back to the train station and we officially wrapped up our half day trip to Todoroki Valley. You can definitely do this in less time than we did, but we love exploring and checking out all of the things there are to see, and taking all of those turns to see what lurks beyond them.
Todoroki Valley is an excellent little getaway and I highly recommend it if you are looking for somewhere closer by, but want the feeling you’re much further away!
Have you been to Todoroki Valley? What did you like most about it?