index_img1.gif CHICHIBU
The Chichibu area, centered on Chichibu City, encompasses one city, five towns and three villages. Known as Saitama Prefecture's foremost sightseeing area, it is home to several unique attractions, many of which are tied to the area's great natural beauty. Among the most popular sights for tourists are Nagatoro and Nihongitouge Pass.

Nagatoro is famous for its Iwadatami ('The Tatami Rocks') and the riverboat ride down Arakawa River, while the Nihongitouge Pass, spanning the towns of Minano and Higashi-Chichibu, is officially recognized by the Environment Agency as one of the few places in Japan where individual stars can be clearly distinguished.

Chichibu is also famed as an ancient soba (buckwheat noodles) producing region. In the fall, the buckwheat fields are covered with small, white flowers that seem to stretch as far as the eye can see. At this time of the year, soba-themed events also come into full swing, including activities at ryokan (traditional Japanese inns) and stores where visitors are taught how to make the soba noodles.

Chichibu tea is another well-known local specialty. The shortened daylight hours, temperature fluctuations and morning fog of this mountain region create prime growing conditions for the tea plants, bringing out the rich flavor and aroma that has made Chichibu tea so famous.

Located only one and a half hours by train from Tokyo, Chichibu is an extremely convenient and popular resort and sightseeing destination. Visitors come from all across Japan, especially during the month of December for the Chichibu Night Festival.