Supporting the largest hydroelectric power station in Japan, Okutadami is a man-made lake containing 600 million tons of water. Also known as Ginzan or Silver Lake, its backstory is fascinating, as a disused silver mine and village from the 18th century lie at its watery base.
Reach Okutadami by train, then by bus or taxi.
By train from Tokyo, take the Joetsu Shinkansen to Urasa Station. Then take the local train to Koide Station. The Minami-Echigo Kanko Bus bound for "Okutadami Dam via Silver Line" completes your journey.
By car it's about 50 minutes away from Koide Interchange on the Kanetsu Expressway.
Most visitors head to Okutadami during autumn, when seasonal foliage covering the surrounding mountains is at its vibrant finest. Sightseeing boat tours are offered from the Okutadami dam to Ozeguchi from May to November; factor about 40 minutes for the journey.
Some mornings, you can see clouds sliding off mountains like a waterfall. This natural phenomenon can only be seen at this very spot in Japan.
Combine your visit to Okutadami with one to Mt. Komagatake or Mt. Hakkaisan, a sacred mountain worshipped by locals. Hot spring resorts such as Tochiomata and Komanoyu also popular, while Okutadami Maruyama is popular for its snow sports in winter.