金曜日, 2月 1st, 2013...9:27 am

Guide to Chichibu and Nagatoro Part 2

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Guide to Chichibu and Nagatoro Part 2
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The Paleo Express is a steam train which used to run across the north-east of Japan and was reintroduced 25 years ago. This is the closest place from Tokyo in order to experience the steam train and is the only train of its kind running in the 21st century. It was named after the dinosaur which used to roam around the Chichibu area 20 million years ago.

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The train arrives blowing its whistle.

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It’s dynamic to view the train up-close and it feels just like the dinosaur it was named after.

You can really feel the strength of the train which passes through the mountains.

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The train sweeping past.

After viewing the train, you can head to Chichibu shrine.

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Every December, there is a traditional festival called Chichibu Night Festival which many people come to visit.

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In the past, Chichibu was known as the country of Chichibu and the shrine was built for worshipping its god.

This shrine has a long history of about 2000 years protecting Chichibu.

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It’s a god dedicated to education and health.There are also amulets and wooden plaques related to the god.

Leaving the shrine, you can go further into the mountains.

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Next you can find Mitsumineguchi station.
This is the last stop on the Chichibu line and is nominated to be included in the top 100 stations of Kanto, just as Nagatoro was.

It’s quaint and feels very much like a rural station.

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This is the turntable for the steam train. It rotates the train round after climbing the mountain so it can go back down again.

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There is also a train park next to the station with old-style trains on display. The trains remain exactly the way it used to be and is a must go for anyone who loves trains.

After seeing the local station and the trains, you can walk deeper into the mountains.

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The last place we visited was Mitsumine shrine.
It’s one of the three shrines to visit in Chichibu along with Hodosan and Chichibu shrines, and is known as the place to heal your mind.

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The mountains are over 1000m above sea level and the shrine is located in the depths of the mountains.

The mountain scenery is breathtaking as you make your way to the temple.
Also the air is very clean and it’s cool even in the summer because of the height.

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The three tori of Mitsumine shrine.
There are two small toriis on either side of the main torii.

Long ago, there used to be a mountain dog, a messenger of the gods, in the area which is why there are statues of dogs beside the torii.

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This is the road leading up to the shrine.
Some of its appeal is to hear the birds chirping in the forest and breathing the clean air.

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This gate is known as Zuijinmon and was built about 400 years ago.

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Here we climb the steps near the gate.

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You can find a place called Youhaiden. This is the only place from inside the shrine where you can admire the scenery. The view is extremely beautiful and you can really feel yourself at peace as you gaze down.
You can gain power from this place, known for its healing effects.

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This is the statue of Yamato Takeru no Mikoto associated with Chichibu and a familiar figure of Hodosan. He established shrines in Japan and the large statue almost looks as though he is watching over us.

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This is the altar of Mistumine shrine. It’s one of the three main shrines of Chichibu and the building conveys its history.

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There are words on the tori, praying for world peace.

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The decorations on the altar are several thousand years old. It’s beautifully made using vivid colors.

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The statude of the mountain dog from the story behind Mitsumine shrine.The firm stance of the dog in front of the shrine gives it character.

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Thousands of people visit and pray at this shrine every year.
Celebrations are also held to pray for good luck in the following year.

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Another beauty of Mitsumine shrine is the nature.There are large trees and green leaves on the shrine grounds.
It’s very peaceful and the air is clear.Time has passed for nature together with the history of Chichibu and you can’t help but feel as though you are being healed.

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The final scene after Mitsumine shrine was Bukohzan.
This is one of the famous mountains of Japan and a symbol of Chichibu.The sunset reflected in the mountain is very beautiful.

We hope you enjoyed the guide to Chichibu. It’s a famous place filled with nature and tradition, and a place to visit if you have the chance.

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