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.