Chichibu is where cement manufacturing developed and had a prosperous silk fabric industry. In the early 20th century, many silk shops lined Kuromon and Kaitsugisho Streets and some still remain. Recently, Chichibu has claimed fame as the setting of anime film “We Still Don’t Know the Name of the Flower We Saw That Day,” and many anime lovers visit this “sacred place.”
In Hitsujiyama Park, more than 400,000 pink moss flowers bloom from mid April to early May.
From Seibu Chichibu Station, stroll down Banba Street with its many retro-styled cafes, tobacco stores, and meat stress and you will come to Chichibu Shrine. It was built more than 2,000 years ago. Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate, donated the current buildings in 1592. Elaborate carvings, such as the guardian “Tsunagi no Ryu” (chained dragon) and “Hokushin no Fukuro” (North Star owl) endowing success in academics are a must-see. Chichibu Yomatsuri (night festival) takes place every December. Gorgeous floats are dynamically dashed up a steep slope for the highlight of the festival. Chichibu Matsuri Kaikan (festival hall) displays pictures, videos and artifacts of the festival.
Chichibu Muse Park is a place for sports and nature, and especially in spring and autumn when the flowers are beautiful.
Chichibu, designated a Japan Geo Park in 2011, is great for nature hiking. Both serious mountain climbing on Mt. Buko or the Shomaru-toge Pass depicted in the TV anime program “Initial D” and easy walking trails are available. Rental bikes are available at Chichibu Kanko Johokan (tourist information center) near Seibu Chichibu Station, so cycling is also an option. A cycling map is available at the information center. Why not challenge the hike to Mitsumine Shrine, located at 1,100 meters above sea level and famous for wolf worship and the mysterious Lake Chichibu?
Thanks to the unique basin climate and the clear water of the Ara-kawa River, buckwheat noodles are delicious in Chichibu. Snacks called “kojuhan” are unique to the area and often eaten by the locals. “Miso potato” is potatoes fried with miso paste and “tansan manju” is a steamed bun made with baking soda. Pork in miso sauce and large cutlets called “waraji-katsu” are also local taste treats. Confectionaries using maple syrup from the maple trees in the Chichibu mountains is a nice souvenir.
Ikebukuro Sta. -> 78 min by limited express “Red Arrow” on the Seibu Ikebukukro/Chichibu lines -> Seibu Chichibu Sta.
Seibu Chichibu Nakmise Street with restaurants and souvenir shops is in the station.