Nagatoro – A rare spot of nature
Located in Western Saitama, around 2 hours from Tokyo, lies Nagatoro. A scenic mountain getaway with a wide variety of landscapes to enjoy. Whilst beautiful in all seasons, Nagatoro is exceptionally colourful during the Autumn months.
From Shinjuku in Tokyo, Nagatoro can be reached in around 2 hours via local trains. If you set off early, you can enjoy a full day of activities with minimal spending on travel. Depart from the Seibu-Shinjuku station and head towards Seibu-Chichibu. The Japan Rail Pass, can also be used, for tourists that have more time.
Retreat into the mountains.
Once you have arrived in Nagatoro, head towards the impressive rock formation known as Iwadatami. The Iwadatami rocks are set beside the reflective Arakawa river, splashed with a backdrop of bright autumnal foliage. Beautiful wooden boats can be seen peacefully transporting visitors along to admire the natural sights. A wooden boat ride is a cultural experience unique to Japan and is a must for any visitor to Nagatoro.
Around 15 minutes walk from Nagatoro station is the impressive Mt. Hodo. A short 1-hour hike brings you to wonderful scenic views of the foliage and greenery. If hiking isn’t your thing, don’t worry, you can take a cable car to the top for a small fee.
Another stop not to be missed is Hodosan Shrine as it is famed for its beautiful sculptures. The shrine even received a Michelin Star in the Green Guide. Steeped in history, Hodosan is 1900 years old. The entrance is lined with colourful trees, perfect for photo opportunities.
A bite to eat
Whilst walking through the very small town of Nagatoro you will find an array of souvenirs shops, street food vendors, and cosy restaurants. The rural atmosphere of the town is completely different from the bustle of Tokyo. Why not soak it all in and try a few local dishes.
Snacks include miso fried potato, miso konnyaku jelly and Shioyaki, a fish that is salted and threaded on the skewer to look like it’s swimming. There are also plenty of restaurants to stop by for lunch and grab some of Japan’s more traditional dishes such as soba, tonkatsu and udon.
Finishing off the day in style
After a long day of exploring, treat yourself to 6 different kinds of baths at the Seibu-chichibu Ekimae Onsen Matsurinoyu Hot Spring before your train home.
The all providing complex boasts a choice of 6 indoor and outdoor baths, sauna, massage area and food court. You can rent comfortable spa style clothes to wander around in after your bath, should you choose to stay longer. After soaking in style, you can pick up any souvenirs you might want from the in-complex shop and head for your train ride back to the Capital.
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