木曜日, 1月 31st, 2013...8:46 am

Guide to Chichibu and Nagatoro

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Guide to Chichibu and Nagatoro
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How many of you have felt like taking a stroll in a town filled with Japanese traditions? This is a guide to Chichibu in Saitama, abundant in nature and history. Chichibu and Nagatoro are both located in the north-western area of Saitama and there are many mountains and rivers, as well as historic buildings such as shrines. It takes 1 hour 20 minutes on the limited express to go to Chichibu on the Seibu Ikebukuro line from Ikebukuro station.

First, Hodosan shrine in Nagatoro.

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When Prince Yamato Takeru no Mikoto arrived here in the Archaean era, he fell victim to a mountain fire. A mountain dog – also a god protecting this area – extinguished the fire and saved him from the flames.

From then on they worshipped this god, “the savior of fires”, and this marked the establishment of Hodosan shrine. The literal meaning of Hodosan is “to climb a mountain of treasure” and so many people visit this shrine to pray.

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A cool breeze runs through the grounds of the shrine surrounded by trees and nature and you feel as though time has slowed down. A teaching of Hodosan is for the mind to pray.

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Visitors pray for peace, and praying in front of the temple in a natural environment purifies the mind and soul.

After praying at Hodosan, you can go down the river on a small raft, a specialty of Nagatoro. You can enjoy the gentle flow of the river with the occasional rush of excitement, and view the rocks which are a national treasure.

In the summer, many people of all ages ride the raft.

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The boatman is full of energy, adding to the enjoyment.

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The boat travels slowly with the current and you can feel a gentle and cooling breeze.

In the horizon, you can see Chichibu railway bridge. You can also view steam trains running across.

The boat drifts along the water.

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Suddenly the boat is caught in a strong current.
There are several small waterfalls and you can experience the thrill of boating.

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After the sudden rush, the scenery of rocks spread out before you. You can see interestingly shaped rocks, such as the one in the photograph where the rocks form to look like a turtle.

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You can feel the zephyr as the boat gently makes its way down stream.

Here is the view of the rocks visible from the boat.

You can enjoy the wonders of nature.

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The boats embarked on the shore

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The beautiful view of the river and nature.

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Another boat slowly makes its way down the river.

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The people in the boat wave, looking as though they are enjoying themselves.

After the boat trip, there’s a short walk to Nagatoro station on the Chichibu line.

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Nagatoro station is also the stop for the steam train Paleo Express, which you can sometimes see when it arrives.

The country station is slightly old-fashioned and the mountain scenery is very beautiful. This station is nominated as one of the hundred stations to visit in Kanto.

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The inside of the station is also very atmospheric and feels very local.

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Here is the train arriving.

The Chichibu line is a local railway line connecting Hanyu to Mitsumineguchi, located deep in the mountains of Chichibu.

You can take a short break to taste one of Chichibu’s signature food – soba.
Chichibu is popular for harvesting soba and you can see many soba fields.

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We arrived at Musashiya, which serves Chichibu soba.This is a famous restaurant for soba and the restaurant is very traditional.It’s a two minute walk from Chichibu station.

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The soba is made by hand and the smell really helps to calm the mind.You can also drink soba-yu (the water the soba was boiled in) after your meal which tastes just as good.

After eating soba and exiting the restaurant, you can see the Chichibu line.

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