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Sagamiko

Sagamiko is a picturesque little town next to a lake in the mountains west of Tokyo, not far from the popular daytrip destination of Mount Takao.

Sagamiko
  • Sagamiko

    Sagamiko

    Sagamiko used to be a popular recreation spot during the bubble era, but these days the number of visitors is limited. The first thing that greets you once leaving the station is a small tourist office, a handful of generic restaurants and an old style kissaten with retro furnishing.

    Sagamiko

    Sagamiko

    However, do not let the somewhat bland first impression put you off, Sagamiko does indeed have an ace up its sleeve. If you walk down to the lake, you will find a handful of old game-centres where time has stood still since the first half of the 1990s.

    Sagamiko

    Sagamiko

    If you are interested in old school arcade games and/or more traditional amusement park games like shooting or smart-ball (the spiritual predecessor to modern day Pachinko), Sagamiko is what we would consider a must-visit. We do not know of many other places where you still can find a working version of the first “Print Club” machine. The one that became the start of the still ongoing Purikura-craze.

    Sagamiko

    Sagamiko

    Dotting the shoreline is also a handful of charming restaurants, ice cream shops and a tiny ryokan that still seems open for business. The mandatory rent-a-swan-boat shops are also to be found, of course.

    Sagamiko

    Sagamiko

  • The lake itself has an interesting story too. Modern day Sagamiko is actually a relatively new place, as the town is the result of the construction of the Sagami Dam in the 1940s. About 200 households had to move to higher ground when the entire valley below was flooded. Some of these household strongly opposed the construction of the dam, and even managed to delay the construction by a few years. However, the demand for power during the Second World War was so strong that the last families had to be relocated by force. Some of the current shop owners are descendants to those families. If you are interested, they might be happy to tell you more about the history of their town.

    Sagamiko

    Sagamiko

    Sagamiko is also worth visiting if you are interested in urban exploration or abandoned places in general. There is an abandoned bowling alley near the lake that might intrigue certain people. The inside still seem to be intact, when we visited we could see several old arcade machines inside through one of the cracked windows. Apparently, the owner of the bowling alley ended up in financial difficulties, and suddenly “just disappeared” sometime around 2010. Since then the space has been left unattended.

    Sagamiko

    Sagamiko

    Further away from the town centre there is also a huge pink love hotel overlooking the lake. Apparently, this is was also abandoned many years ago, and is a popular spot amongst urban explorers.

    On the other side of town lies the big amusement park with the somewhat questionable name “Sagamiko Resort Pleasure Forest” (http://www.sagamiko-resort.jp/). It is still in operation and a popular spot both during the summer (for its many rides and barbecue restaurants) and during the winter for its big illumination, supposedly the biggest one in the entire Kanto region.

    Sagamiko

    Sagamiko

    Sagamiko is located about one hour from Shinjuku via the JR Chuo line. You need to transfer to a local train at Takao station and continue your trip for one stop to reach the lake. The fact that it is fairly close to central Tokyo, yet has a vibe and atmosphere that is miles apart from the city makes it a place that many visitors return to over and over again.

    Posts by Said Karlsson

    Lake Sagami
    Address
    Kanagawa Pref. Sagamiharashi Midori-ku Yose
    Phone
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