Phlox Subulata of Hitsujiyama Park
Chichibu [秩父] is a city in Saitama_prefecture. Chichibu is a beautiful town about one and a half hours from Tokyo. It is very famous for autumn leaves and the Chichibu Yomatsuri - a night festival that attracts thousands of people from around Japan.
If you are coming from the direction of Hanyu, Kumagaya or Yorii, then the Chibu Railways Chibibu Main Line (秩父鉄道秩父本線) is convenient. You can catch either a local train, which is cheaper or the "Chichibu-ji"express train, which requires you to pay a extra surcharge of 200 yen (100 for children). There is also a "Paleo Express" service operated with the C58 steam locomotive, which requires you to obtain a ticket beforehand which costs 500 yen for non-reserved seats, and 700 yen for reserved seats. These tickets can be bought at the Midori no Madoguchi or the View Plaza on many JR East stations for both reserved and non-reserved seats, and non-reserved seat tickets can also be bought from every station that the SL stops, the Tobu Travel, the JTB and the Kinki-Nippon Tourist, but allows you to experience riding a steam locomotive, and lets you enjoy the scenery of Chichibu.
If you are coming from the direction of Tokyo, then the Seibu Chichibu Line (西武秩父線) from Ikebukuro is a quick way to get to Chichibu. You can catch either a local train, which requires you to change trains at Hanno but is cheaper, or pay the extra surcharge for the Limited Express "Red Arrow (Chichibu-go)", which goes directly to Seibu-Chichibu, is faster and is more comfortable. Catch either of these from Seibu Ikebukuro station, which is accessible from the JR Line Ikebukuro station though the mall/walkway underneath the Tobu and Seibu department stores. If you have time, go though the food hall in the basement of the Seibu department store and grab something to eat on the train - local commuters will often eat their dinner or lunch on the train. Keep in mind that it is only valid on the Limited Express.
- Chichibu Temple Pilgrimage, Chichibu area. In Chichibu and the surrounding area are a circuit of 34 temples, dedicated to Kannon (chinese: Guan Yin) - the goddess of mercy and compassion. These are traditionally visited by walking, but this would take more than a few days. A bicycle is a wonderful way to not only visit some of the temples, but see some of the surrounding area. edit
- Shiba-zakura. Shiba-zakura is a cherry blossom tree that blooms every year at Hitsujiyama-Koen in Chichibu. The best season for Cherry blossom viewing is from the middle of April to the beginning of May. Walking to Hitsujiwama from the Yokoze station on a sunny day is one of many possible courses. It takes twenty or thirty minutes to get to Hitsujiyama-Koen on foot. You can enjoy the beautiful nature of Shiba-zakura as you walk. edit
- Chichibu Yomatsuri (Chichibu Night Festival). One of Japan's most famous festivals, famed for it's fireworks. The festival is held every year on December 2nd and 3rd, with the main parade of floats on the 3rd. edit
- Nagatoro Line-kudari (Nagatoro River Rafting). Sailing down the Arakawa river on a traditional Japanese wooden boat, taking in the beautiful nature of Nagatoro for around 20 minutes for A and B course, 40 minutes for C course, However, the ride may finish faster and become more dynamic if there is more water on the river than usual. The price is 1,550 yen (750 for children) for A and B course, 2,900 yen (1,300 for children) for C course. edit
- Fresh fruits In Chichibu, there are many greenhouses and farms of fruits. You can pick many fruits, grape, strawberry, plum and so on, and you can eat them soon. Fresh fruits are very juicy and sweet. There are plans that you can eat them as much as you like at a lot of farms.
- Oomura (大むら), Miyakawacho 17-3 (Near the Seibu station on Route 299 opposite the hospital.), ☎ 0494-22-4147. 11:30-3:00 5:00-8:00. This is a friendly soba restaurant. They also have very delicious tonkatsu pork cutlets. The Mimosa Salad is very good and has a lot of fried shrimp on it. edit
- Chichibu wine Chichibu wine is famous for Gensaku-jirushi. Gensaku is a name of the first man who brewed it at beginning of Showa. The maker has strained to keep soil of grape field good condition since then. So, natural taste has never changed. Chichibu wine's taste is clear and aftertaste is very good. There are some kinds of Chichibu wine. Gensaku-jirusi wine (red, white and rose) 720ml is ￥1050.