Destinations

OME

A one-hour train ride from Shinjuku takes you to Ome, an area filled with excitement that cannot be experienced in central Tokyo.

+ Strolling around Ome-juku

First, let's gather information at the tourist information counter, found on the right from the south exit of Ome Station. There you can obtain maps and useful pamphlets. The signboards of classic movies from home and abroad panel the street, evoking the nostalgic ambience of the Showa era (1926-1989). Why not see if you can find your favorite movie, a classic that you enjoyed in the theater years ago?

Akatsuka Fujio Kaikan is a museum dedicated to the feat of a cartoonist, Akatsuka Fujio (1935-2008), who created the popular manga, "Tensai Bakabon." The museum, a five-minute walk from the station, displays many things including pictures drawn by Akatsuka's own hand. It also sells cute character goods. The adjacent museum, Showa Retro Shohin Hakubutsukan, displays a replica candy shop, as was often seen on streets during the Showa era. There is also the Showa Gento-kan, exhibiting dioramas recreating various Showa scenes, as well as the movie signboards mentioned above. A single ticket for access to all three museums is sold for 700 yen.

Ome Tetsudo Koen (Railroad Park) is located on the hill stretching from the north side of Ome Station. Many steam locomotives which once ran throughout Japan are displayed outdoors in the park. In addition, the front carriage of the Shinkansen (the bullet train), a symbol of Japanese economic growth, is also on display here - its dynamic form will leave you overwhelmed. You can go inside the carriage, and can even take the driver's seat in the cockpit, which is a very rare opportunity. If you are interested in Japanese railroad history, it is recommended that you also visit the memorial museum, which houses more detailed materials and also runs miniature train models.



+ The origin of the name "Ome," originally meaning 'green plum'

There stands an old plum tree surrounded by stone stakes in Kongo-ji Temple, a 15-minute walk to southwest from Ome Station. This tree is called "the plum of Masakado's oath," and it is believed that the town of Ome was named after this plum.
The famous warrior Taira-no-Masakado (903-940) once visited this place. He planted a plum branch that he had used as a whip for his horse, and made a wish: "If my dream should come true, grow big; otherwise, wither away." The branch took root and became a tree. However, after the summer had passed, the fruits borne on the tree never ripened and remained green on the branches. This is said to be the reason why this area came to be called Ome - green plum. This old tree still exists and bears green plums in the fall. Kongo-ji Temple is also known for its 150-year-old weeping cherry tree.



+Seasonal events

Yoshino Baigo (Plum Village) is the area on the south bank of the Tama River from Hinatawada Station to Futamatao Station, stretching a distance of 4km from east to west. The annual Yoshino Baigo Plum Festival takes place from the end of February through to March 31. This is the largest plum festival in the Kanto (Greater Tokyo) Area and more than 300,000 visitors come here from across Japan. About 25,000 pink and white plum blossoms bloom beautifully, with the fragrance drifting through the air. There are other sightseeing spots such as Ome Kimono Hakubutsukan (Museum) in the neighborhood.

Ome Marathon, held every February, has been a pioneer of citizens' marathon meets since 1967. About 15,000 people, from athletes to ordinary citizens, run through the streets in Ome. Welcoming crowds standing along the street to cheer and shout encouragement to the runners.



+Hands-on art workshops in Ome

Ome is located in the suburbs, far away from central Tokyo, and it is a serene place covered with trees. Many artists have their studios here. They also hold hands-on workshops for crafts such as pottery and glass art, and these workshops are open to the public. Why not join one according to your interests?

Kosoen, the Aizome (Japanese indigo dyeing) studio, has been involved in the dyeing industry since the early Taisho era (1912-1926). The owner renovated an old Japanese farmhouse into a dyeing studio and started to offer hands-on workshops to visitors 20 years ago. Beginners' indigo dyeing classes last one hour (fees apply). You can make your own unique tie-dye handkerchief, which will surely be a good hand-made souvenir. If you want to know more about the art of Japanese indigo dyeing, it would be better that you try a one-day workshop where you can learn about several dyeing techniques.
The studio itself is open to the public for visiting, free of charge. Beautifully dyed bags, T-shirts, sweaters, etc., are on sale in the annexed showroom.

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