34 Kannon Temples
Densely wooded, dotted with old farmhouses and veined with streams, the Chichibu-Tama National Park is Saitama's green backyard. The park is famed for the Chichibu Pilgrimage of 34 temples scattered among arboretums of pine and cedar. Most visitors begin their visit in the town of Chichibu, and it's worth exploring the temples and quaint streets with their early 20th- century buildings as well as sampling the tasty local soba. The pilgrimage proper starts at Shimabuji (30min by bus from Seibu Chichibu stn) and ends at Suisenji Temple. If you're not up to the full journey, head to the onsen town of Araki, which lies between the third and fourth temples. From here you can hop over to Kinshoji temple and take in the 1,319 statues of Buddha that date to the 17th century before returning for a soak.