Asakawa River and the Mukojima Canal
Are you a dreamer? In Japan, your first dream of the new year, hatsu-yume, was traditionally thought to set the stage for the months to come. While making sense of dreams can be a challenge, there are certain symbols that signal good fortune is on the way, such as hawks and eggplants. Overall, the best thing you can dream about is… Mount Fuji! Finding the mountain in your dreams is easier said than done, though. Luckily, we can cheat and have a look at the real deal right here in Hino from a number of spots along the Asakawa River.
One of these spots is the Fureai Bridge. Throughout the winter, when the sky is crisp and clear, you can get a great view of Mount Fuji’s distinctive snow-white peaks. Regardless of the season, though, you can also watch the sunlit glitter of water flowing down the Asakawa River. Asakawa, which means “shallow river,” meanders its way lazily through western Tokyo to merge into the larger Tama River. Here in Hino, the river is a popular spot for families to spend an aquatic afternoon, and the area under the Fureai Bridge plays host to the Ayu Sweetfish Festival in the summer.
Just past the bridge, you can find the Mukojima Canal. This charming little canal carries water from the Asakawa River past one of Hino’s elementary schools, passing through this patch of woods along the way. Believe it or not, these woods were actually once a plain old concrete dike! Years back, the concrete was replaced with trees and greenery to support local wildlife, which now flourishes in this haven tucked between streets and suburban buildings.
The Mukojima Canal is a great spot for birdwatching in Hino. You’ll be able to find familiar faces like sparrows, and if you’re lucky, you can see some less common birds like kingfishers. If you keep your eyes peeled, you should also be able to track down one of my personal favorites – ducks! With the clear, see-through water, you can watch their little webbed feet pedal as they mosey around the canal.
While you’re there, if you follow any of the walking paths along the canal, you’ll be hard-put to miss the waterwheel positioned in the stream. The waterwheel wasn't in operation the day I visited, but gives the little rest area beside it a storybook feel nonetheless with its wooden spokes shading the old-timey stone walls along the banks. Come spring, the trees hanging over the water will come back to life, brightening the sky with new leaves and birdcalls.
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Industry and Sports Department, City Promotion Division
Phone (Direct Line): 042-514-8098
Phone (City Hall): 042-585-1111
Address: Hino City Hall, 3th Floor
1-12-1 Shinmei, Hino, Tokyo 191-8686
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