Chichibu trip vol. 2 - Cycling in the Japanese Countryside and Enjoying Local Products



Chichibu trip vol. 2 - Cycling in the Japanese Countryside and Enjoying Local Products


Last time we traveled north-west of Tokyo and made our way to the city of Chichibu in Saitama. After enjoying some shaved ice, local sake, and a river fish lunch in the town of Nagatoro, we're ready to grab a bike and see what the country roads have to offer. 
Join us on our trip as you ride along this quiet piece of Japan. We'll make our way up the mountain trails to see rice fields, temples, and other hidden away gems. 

First, let's grab our bike.

Hitting the Road

Nagatoro Station bicycle rental

Time to get pedaling! You can rent a bike from the tourist information center next to Nagatoro Station. The staff are very friendly and helpful. Choose between regular or electrically assisted bicycle. The path we're introducing is filled with slopes and hills so I recommend the electric bike if you want to be safe.

Make sure you pack some water and start heading south towards Seibu Chichibu station!


Bicycle Rental: Nagatoro Tourist Information Center | 長瀞町観光情報館
Address: 529-1 Nagatoro, Nagatoro-machi, Chichibu-gun, Saitama (MAP)
Bike Rental Prices
2 hours: 300 yen regular / 600 yen electric
4 hours: 500 yen regular / 600 yen electric
8 hours: 1,000 yen regular / 2,000 yen electric
Drop off at a different place: +500 yen regular / +1,000 yen electric
Check the Chichibu Tourism Website for all the places where you can rent and drop off a bike in Chichibu.
Arakawa River, Chichibu

Shortly after leaving, the path takes you across the Arakawa River. Stop and enjoy the gorgeous panorama and cool off in the nice breeze. 
Crossing the small Misawa River
Crossing the small Misawa River

Once you get out of the Nagatoro's central area you’ll be able to travel on smaller roads. Have fun going through the nature and discovering the quiet countryside. 
■Bonus for Advanced Cyclists #1! Minoyama Park
Beautiful in all seasons
Minoyama Park

If you are a seasoned cyclist and would like a challenge you can go up the winding roads to Minoyama Park. The park has an observation deck where you can look down on Chichibu. It's mostly famous for a phenomenon where a sea of low clouds covers the city below.

Minoyama Park | 美の山公園
Address: Minano, Chichibu-gun, Saitama (MAP)
Open 24 hours

■Bonus for Advanced Cyclists #2! Sky of Poppy
From mid-May to early-June

Another nice uphill challenge is getting to this spot where, when in season, millions of poppy flowers form a sea of vermilion. A word of caution, the road is long and steep. If you have a normal bike and aren't well trained it can be very difficult to reach. Of course nothing keeps you from turning back at any time, so go for it if you feel up to the challenge!

Sky of Poppy | 天空のポピー
Address: Sai no Kuni Fureai Bokujo, 2949-1 Misawa, Minano-machi, Chichibu-gun, Saitama (MAP)
Flower blooming season:  mid-May to early-June
Hours: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. (last admission at 4:30 p.m.)
Admission Fee: 300 yen

You'll find many treasures along the way!
A small shrine in the woods
A small shrine in the woods
Rural Chichibu

The journey will take you past old buildings, rural landscapes, and farms. It’s common to see the occasional local tending to the fields. Expect a warm smile and wave as you pass. 



Shimabuji, Buddha statues

Along the way you will find Shimabuji, the first stop of the Chichibu 34 temple pilgrimage. The ancient wooden halls really make you feel the years. Tiny Buddha statues welcome and protect visitors. 


Zukyosan Shimabuji Temple | 誦経山 四萬部寺
Address: 418 Tochiya, Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture (MAP)
Rice fields in Chichibu

Traveling further south you will find yourself cycling along rice fields. Try to conquer the slopes and make your way to the Terasaka Rice Terraces.
Terasaka Rice Terraces
Terasaka Rice Terraces
Terasaka Rice Terraces

Make your way up and reap the rewards of the Terasaka rice fields with Mount Buko in the background. The view is different in every season, but always a stunning sight. Only one more stop left after this and the road is downhill!


Terasaka Rice Terraces | 寺坂棚田
Address: 1846 Yokozemachi, Yokoze, Chichibu-gun, Saitama (MAP)
Open 24 hours

Just before our destination of Seibu-Chichibu station is Hitsujiyama Park. From mid-April to early May this park treats you to an awe inspiring display of shibazakura. It's also very beautiful during the cherry blossom season.
Picture courtesy of Saitama Prefecture Tourism Division.
Duplication and reproduction prohibited.


Hitsujiyama Park | 羊山公園
Address: 6360 Omiya, Chichibu-shi, Saitama (MAP)
Hours: normally open 24 hours (8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. shibazakura hill during blooming season)
Free admission (300 yen for shibazakura hill during blooming season)
Access: 15-20 minute walk from Seibu-Chichibu Station

Goal Reached! Time for Some Food and History

Miso potato in Chichibu

After making it all the way from Nagatoro Station to Seibu-Chichibu station you can drop off your bike at the Chichibu Sightseeing Information Center. Now it’s time for a well-earned snack to recover some energy. Miso potato is a common street food in Chichibu. Pieces of potato are fried tempura-style, skewered, and covered in a thick, locally made miso sauce. You can find it in the food court by Seibu-Chichibu Station or at any of the retro stands outside the nearby Ohanabatake Station.

Chichibu Shrine


Chichibu Shrine

Cool down with a stroll through the area before sitting down for dinner. A short walk away is the Chichibu Shrine. Home of the Chichibu Night Festival held in December, this is a revered shrine for the people of Chichibu. Elaborate carvings on the main sanctuary depict many creatures. The ema (wooden plaques where you write your prayers) are also very impressive looking.


Chichibu Shrine | 秩父神社
Address: 1-3 Banbacho, Chichibu-shi, Saitama (MAP)
Access: 3 min. walk from Chichibu Station on the Chichibu Main Line / 15 min. walk from Seibu-Chichibu Station on the Seibu Chichibu Line
Website (Japanese-only):
Hot Spot Chichibu-kan

Take a little rest at the nearby Hot Spot Chichibu-kan. Originally a merchant inn, it has been preserved and turned into a free resting area. You can sit around the irori fireplace and chat with the friendly staff, who is happy to recount the story of the building. There are rental boxes where local artists and artisans can sell their works. It's also a great place for stocking up on some Chichibu foods and snacks.

Miso Potato flavored rusk

Grab some miso potato flavored rusk (200 yen) as a quick snack. 

Hot Spot Chichibu-kan

Some of the local foods offered are Chichibu pudding, Chichibu soba, and other small snacks made with local ingredients.


Hot Spot Chichibu-kan | ほっとすぽっと秩父館
Address: 18-2,Miyagawa-cho,Chichibu-shi,Saitama (MAP)
Hours: 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Access: 3 min. walk from Chichibu Station on the Chichibu Main Line
Musashiya osusume soba set
Osusume set 1,530 yen

Finish the night at Musashiya with some soba noodles. It's said that in Chichibu the land was more suited to buckwheat growth than rice, so soba is a traditional food here. Here you can try some interesting variations of the tsuyu (noodles broth). Choose between a savory duck or a bold sesame. 

From Seibu-Chichibu Station you can get back to the Tokyo area in about 1 hour and 20 minutes.


Musashiya | 武蔵屋
Address: 4-11 Banbacho, Chichibu-shi, Saitama (MAP)
Hours: 11:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Closed on Tuesday
Access: 4 min. walk from Chichibu Station on the Chichibu Main Line / 12 min. walk from Seibu-Chichibu Station on the Seibu Chichibu Line
Website (Japanese-only):



With a bike you can slow down, take the time to observe the world around you and explore alternative roads. You can see so much of the Japanese countryside this way. The roads of Chichibu are never boring with lots of ups and downs, changes of scenery and hidden spots. I definitely recommend this day trip from Tokyo!

*This article is based on a coverage from May 2019.
*Shop hours and prices are subject to change.

About the Author
Laura is an Italian living and working in Tokyo. She loves exploring hidden and unknown places, taking pictures and listening to Punk Rock music. When she’s not busy doing the above, she might enjoy a craft beer or play the sanshin (an Okinawan instrument similar to a shamisen).

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