The city of Chichibu is one of the top tourist destinations to see some of the most breathtaking landscapes, festivals, and shrines of the Saitama Prefecture. It is also home to several hiking trails that range from easy to hard intensities.
Tourism/Travel Guide of Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture, Japan
The Mitsumine Shrine, also referred to as Mitsumine Jinja, can be found at the top of Chichibu’s Mt. Mitsumine. It is known to be one of the most popular places for mountain worship and features a lot of incredibly ornate structures that blend in well with the natural environment.
A triple torii gate called the mitsu-torii is the first thing visitors will be greeted with at the entrance of the shrine. This uniquely designed torii is flanked by equally distinct stone statues that take the form of wolves, instead of the usual foxes or dogs.
One of the things which separates the Mitsumine Shrine from the other Shinto shrines of Japan is its worship of Japanese wolves, which are now considered to be extinct. At the shrine, these animals are regarded as sacred guardians that protect individuals from suffering misfortunes. Tourists can learn more information about Japanese wolves and the shrine’s history at the small treasure hall located left of the mitsu-torii.
Other notable points of interest within the vicinity of the Mitsumine Shrine include a small pavilion that offers breathtaking valley and mountain views, several smaller shrines dedicated to various Shinto gods, and the Mitsumine Jinja Kounkaki, a public onsen (hot spring) that connects the shrine to a ryokan (Japanese-style inn).
Tourists can conveniently reach the forested, shrine grounds by car or bus. Buses that include the Mitsumine Jinja Bus Stop in their daily routes can be found at the Seibu Chichibu Station or the Mitsumineguchi Station.
Alternatively, more adventurous tourists can choose to hike their way up Mount Mitsumine by initially taking a bus going to the Dairin Bus Stop, where the start of the trail to Mitsumine Jinja can be located. It should be noted that the majority of the hiking trail is quite rocky and steep, and usually takes a total of three hours to complete.
Hours: 6:30 AM to 5:00 PM, daily
Admission Fee: 300 yen per person (Mitsumine Shrine Treasure Hall); 600 yen per person (Mitsumine-jinja Kounkaku Hot Spring)
The Chichibu Shrine, or Chichibu Jinja, is believed to date back more than a thousand years ago. It is known for being the main venue of the Chichibu Night Festival, an annual festival of the city, and for housing some of the most ornate buildings in Japan.
Its main hall, in particular, is adorned with a lot of elaborate carvings that were also formed by the same people who decorated the equally stunning Toshogu Shrine of Nikko, Japan. Some details of the main hall include carved monkeys, dragons, and tigers which are all painted in vivid colors.
Tourists can also find other stunning structures at the Chichibu Festival Hall located a few meters away from the Chichibu Shrine. This hall serves as the city’s local museum that showcases a couple of beautifully designed floats and other materials related to Chichibu’s annual festival.
The Chichibu Shrine can be reached by taking a short walk from the Seibu Chichibu Station or the Chichibu Station.
Hours: No closing days/hours; 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM, daily (Chichibu Festival Hall)
Admission Fee: No admission fee for the Chichibu Shrine; 410 yen per person (Chichibu Festival Hall)
Chichibu Night Festival
The Chichibu Night Festival, or known as the Chichibu Yomatsuri by the locals, is an annual event that takes place from December 2 to December 3. It is considered to be among the top three float festivals of Japan, right alongside the Takayama Matsuri and the Gion Matsuri of Kyoto, Japan.
Massive floats decorated with gilded wood carvings, lanterns, and tapestries are paraded on the second day of the festival, with traditional flute and drum music playing in the background. There is also an impressive 2.5-hour fireworks display from 7:30 PM to 10 PM, of the same day, which allows foreign travelers to experience a unique way of celebrating the winter season in Japan.
Tourists do not have to worry about how they can survive the city’s cold winter throughout the festivities as there are plenty of food stalls that sell sweet rice wine (amazake) lined along the city streets.
The Chichibu Night Festival is held right by the Seibu Chichibu and Chichibu Stations.
The Hitsujiyama Park, also known as the Hitsujiyama Koen, serves as the most visited park in Chichibu, especially from April to May when its fields of pink moss are in full bloom.
These fields can be found in the southernmost section of the Hitsujiyama Park and feature different shades of white, pink, and purple shibazakura (pink moss) flowers that have been creatively arranged to form stunning patterns.
Tourists can easily reach the Hitsujiyama Park by taking a 15-minute walk from the Seibu Chichibu Station.
Hours: No closing days/hours: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM, daily (From April to May)
Admission Fee: No admission fee; 300 yen per person (From April to May)
The Chichibu Distillery was established back in 2008 by Ichiro Akuto, one of the leading national players in the world of Japanese whisky. It is located at the heart of Chichibu City and can easily be accessed by tourists by taking a 25-minute taxi ride from the Chichibu Station.
Some interesting facts about the Chichibu Distillery include:
The distillery’s annual production results in an estimated total of sixty thousand liters of alcohol/malt.
Seventy percent of the distillery’s total sales are local, while the other thirty percent are export.
The Chichibu Distillery mainly makes use of bourbon casks, alongside several new oak, i.e. Mizunara, American, and French, and sherry casks.
The average range of fermentation time for the Chichibu Distillery goes from sixty to eighty hours.
Hours: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM, daily
Address: 49 Midorigaoka, Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture, Japan 368-0067
Must-Try Dishes/Snacks in Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture, Japan
As with other cities of Japan, Chichibu is home to countless restaurants, izakayas (Japanese gastropubs), and food stalls that offer delicious meals and snacks. However, there are a few dishes that are unique to the Saitama Prefecture and can easily be found at Chichibu’s many rest stops.
Miso Potato is a light snack often served on a stick. As implied by its name, its main ingredient is potato which has been lightly breaded and deep fried before being coated with a sweet, miso-based glaze.
Okkirikomi Udon refers to a noodle soup dish that makes use of seasonal vegetables. During the month of November, it is often made using daikon radish, shiitake mushrooms, and carrots.
Waraji Katsu is a kind of rice bowl dish that features a thin cutlet of pork that has been marinated, breaded, then deep fried. Compared to other katsu dishes, the meat of waraji katsu is marinated for a long time, resulting in a strong flavor that rarely requires any complementary dips or sauces.
Weather & Climate of Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture, Japan
Before planning a trip to Chichibu, foreign travelers should note that the city has a humid, subtropical climate, which means particularly cold winters and hot summers. Furthermore, the city is known to experience a significant amount of precipitation throughout the year, most especially from June to October.
The average weather and climate data for the city of Chichibu are as follows:
- January - temperature ranges from -5.5 to 8.6 deg. Celsius, with precipitation and snowfall averaging at 28.2 mm and 11 cm, respectively.
- February - temperature ranges from -4.3 to 8.9 deg. Celsius, with precipitation and snowfall averaging at 39.8 mm and 17 cm, respectively.
- March - temperature ranges from -1.0 to 12.2 deg. Celsius, with precipitation and snowfall averaging at 59.9 mm and 11 cm, respectively.
- April - temperature ranges from 5.5 to 18.2 deg. Celsius, with precipitation and snowfall averaging at 79.3 mm and 2 cm, respectively.
- May - temperature ranges from 10.4 to 22.8 deg. Celsius, with precipitation and snowfall averaging at 98.4 mm and 0 cm, respectively.
- June - temperature ranges from 15.6 to 25 deg. Celsius, with precipitation and snowfall averaging at 153.4 mm and 0 cm, respectively.
- July - temperature ranges from 19.7 to 28.5 deg. Celsius, with precipitation and snowfall averaging at 152.6 mm and 0 cm, respectively.
- August - temperature ranges from 20.8 to 30.5 deg. Celsius, with precipitation and snowfall averaging at 210.4 mm and 0 cm, respectively.
- September - temperature ranges from 16.8 to 25.2 deg. Celsius, with precipitation and snowfall averaging at 205.2 mm and 0 cm, respectively.
- October - temperature ranges from 9.4 to 20 deg. Celsius, with precipitation and snowfall averaging at 129.9 mm and 0 cm, respectively.
- November - temperature ranges from 2.6 to 15.6 deg. Celsius, with precipitation and snowfall averaging at 56.9 mm and 0 cm, respectively.
- December - temperature ranges from -3.1 to 11.2 deg. Celsius, with precipitation and snowfall averaging at 24.3 mm and 3 cm, respectively.
Map & Access to Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture, Japan
Tourists coming from Tokyo can reach Chichibu by initially taking the shinkansen or a local train to Kumagaya then transferring to the Chichibu Railway.
A one-way trip on the shinkansen costs about 3,500 yen per person and takes about 35 minutes from one point to the other. Catching a train at the JR Tokyo Station, on the other hand, costs about 1,140 yen per person and takes 70 minutes of travel time to reach Kumagaya.
The city of Chichibu can then be reached in about 70 more minutes through the Chichibu Railway, which costs about 860 yen per person, one-way.
Alternatively, tourists can also take a direct, limited express train known as the Red Arrow to the Seibu Chichibu Station from the Ikebukuro Station of Tokyo, Japan. This option costs about 1,480 yen per person, one-way, and takes 80-100 minutes from end to end. Booking seats are required and may be done through the Seibu Railway website.
Hotels and other Lodging in Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture, Japan
There are relatively few accommodation options available in the Chichibu area so tourists should make sure to book well before their trip. Some of the highly recommended places include:
Rating: 7.7 out of 10
Access: 26 kilometers away from Ome; 42 kilometers away from Hachioji; 79 kilometers away from the Tokyo Haneda International Airport
Address: 1294-1 Yamada, Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture, Japan 368-0004
Hotel Route-Inn Chichibu
Rating: 7.7 out of 10
Access: 3-minute walk away from the Seibu Chichibu Station; 5-minute car ride away from the Chichibu Shrine; 10-minute car ride away from the Chichibu Muse Park
Address: 2-3-18 Nosaka, Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture, Japan 368-0033
Rating: 8.2 out of 10
Access: 43 kilometers away from Tokorozawa; 45 kilometers away from Hachioji
Address: 813 Kuroya, Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture, Japan 368-0001
Resort Hotel Beyer
Rating: 8.3 out of 10
Access: 47 kilometers away from Tokorozawa; 50 kilometers away from Karuizawa
Address: 483-2 Shimoyoshida, Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture, Japan 369-1503
Daiichi Hotel Chichibu
Rating: 8.75 out of 10
Access: 26 kilometers away from Ome; 42 kilometers away from Hachioji
Address: 5-1 Miyakawa, Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture, Japan 368-0046
Rating: 9 out of 10
Access: 42 kilometers away from Hachioji
Address: 637-2 Kuna, Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture, Japan 368-0053
Guest House B&B Nihon 1 Shuu
Rating: 7.9 out of 10
Access: 43 kilometers away from Tokorozawa; 44 kilometers away from Hachioji
Address: 357-1 Oonohara, Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture, Japan 368-0005
Rating: 7.5 out of 10
Access: 27 kilometers away from Ome; 41 kilometers away from Hachioji; 46 kilometers away from Tokorozawa
Address: 282 Arakawa Onohara, Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture, Japan 369-1804
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
Access: 5-minute walk away from the Kowaishi Bus Stop; 10-minute bus ride away from the Mitsumineguchi Station; 35-minute bus ride away from the Seibu Chichibu Station; 3-hour train ride away from the Ikebukuro Station of Tokyo, Japan
Address: 138-1 Ohtaki, Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture, Japan 369-1901
Rating: 8.8 out of 10
Access: 43 kilometers away from Hachioji; 46 kilometers away from Tokorozawa
Address: 2048 Arakawa Niegawa, Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture, Japan 369-1911