21 of the best things to do in Nagatoro

21 of the best things to do in Nagatoro


2019.08.18

NAVITIME TRAVEL EDITOR

21 of the best things to do in Nagatoro

An easy two-hour train trip from central Tokyo lies the tranquil town of Nagatoro, which nestles in the picturesque mountains of Saitama near Chichibu.

It’s been designated as a natural park, with a scenic river carving through its heart and the rugged peak of Mount Hodosan rising above, as well as beautiful cherry blossoms and autumn leaves.

So why not jump aboard the Paleo Express, the closest operational steam locomotive to the Tokyo metropolitan area, to discover its rich history and unique culture, as well as some of the region’s gourmet specialties.

  • 01

    Take advantage of the excellent access from Tokyo

    From Ikebukuro to Nagatoro

    From Ikebukuro to Nagatoro

    Nagatoro Station is the gateway to Nagatoro and is located along the Chichibu Main Line, which is served by the Chichibu Railway. It’s easily accessible from Tokyo as a day trip, with direct trains departing from Ikebukuro Station along the Chichibu Line at 7:05 am and 8:05 am on weekends and holidays.

    Alternatively, you can travel from Ikebukuro Station to Yorii Station on the Tobu Tojo Line (80 minutes), then transfer to the Chichibu Railway and connect to Nagatoro Station (20 minutes).
    It’s important to be aware that IC cards such as Suica and Pasmo cannot be used on the Chichibu Railway Line.

    Japan Journey Planner / Transit Map

    Nagatoro
    place
    Saitama Pref
  • 02

    Arrive at the nostalgic Nagatoro Station

    Nagatoro Station

    Nagatoro Station

    Nagatoro Station has been serving commuters for more than 100 years, with a charming, wooden building and original windows giving it a distinctly retro feel.
    It was one of the first stations selected for the “Top 100 Stations in the Kanto Region” list, making it a tourist destination in its own right.
    Unique double doors dominate the entrance to the station building while a columnar red post box stands adjacent.

    As you exit the station, stop in at the Nagatoro Tourist Information Center on the right-hand side where you can pick up brochures about what to see in Nagatoro and rent bicycles. Also, you can bring your bicycle with you on the Chichibu Railway on weekdays, without having to fold it.
    Please check the website for more details.

    URL:http://www.chichibu-railway.co.jp/information/cycletrain.html

    Nagatoro
    place
    Saitama Pref
  • 03

    Soak up the valley views on a Nagatoro River rafting trip

    Nagatoro River rafting

    Nagatoro River rafting

    Nagatoro River rafting

    Nagatoro River rafting

    Those looking for a taste of adventure can join a river rafting trip down the Nagatoro River. Operated by skilled boatmen, these fun trips include cruising down calm sections of the river surrounded by beautiful scenery, as well as thrilling sections of river rapids.

    If you select Course A, you’ll encounter the popular torrent spot of “Kotaki no se”, which has been published in various media resources and is also a photogenic rapid to capture.

    Nagatoro River Rafting trips operate from early March through to December while heated kotatsu boat cruises are held during the winter months for a more warming experience.

    Reservations can be made online or you can purchase tickets at rafting offices near Nagatoro Station on the day.

    Nagatoro River White Water Rafting
    place
    Saitama Pref. Chichibugunnagatoromachi Nagatoro 489-2
    phone
    0494660950
    opening-hour
    9:00-16:00*We may suspend op…
  • 04

    Enjoy a variety of river activities

    River activities

    River activities

    River activities

    River activities

    Aside from rafting down the Natagoro River, there are plenty of other ways you can enjoy this natural waterway, including canoeing, kayaking, and SUP (stand up paddleboarding).

    Rentals and guided trips can all be organized at the various operators in Nagatoro, with the option to book online or on the day of arrival.

    ウォーターパーク長瀞ラフティング
    place
    埼玉県秩父郡皆野町金崎1918-1
    no image
    AmsHouse & Friends Nagatoro Outdoor Tours
    place
    Saitama Pref. Chichibugunnagatoromachi Nakanogami 560
    phone
    0494266906
    opening-hour
    [Apr.-Nov. (morning part)] F…
  • 05

    Walk, shop and eat in the Nagatoro Iwadatami Dori Shopping District

    Iwadatami Dori

    Iwadatami Dori

    Iwadatami Dori

    Iwadatami Dori

    Stretching from Nagatoro Station to the banks of the Arakawa River, the Nagatoro Iwadatami Dori Shopping District centers around a one-kilometer-long street. It’s clustered with souvenir stalls and handicraft stores that you can browse, accompanied by the atmosphere of an old-world townscape.

    Aside from the shopping opportunities, the district is also home to numerous cafes and eateries, including a soba restaurant where you can dine comfortably inside.
    A highlight is Chichibu Local B-class gourmet “miso potato”, which features tempura steamed potato with a sweet miso sauce.

    Iwadatami Dori Shopping District
    place
    Saitama Pref. Chichibugunnagatoromachi Nagatoro
    phone
    0494660307
    opening-hour
    It depends on the store
    Soba Hayashi
    place
    Saitama Chichibu-gun Nagatoromachi Nagatoro 454-1
    phone
    0494660222
  • 06

    Sample Nagatoro's gourmet treats

    Teyaki senbei

    Teyaki senbei

    Marubutsu Nagatoro Raijindo

    Marubutsu Nagatoro Raijindo

    In addition to sit-down eateries, there are also plenty of places selling local snacks, such as Fukuroya whose specialty is sumanju, a large manju (steamed bun) that’s around the size of your palm. It’s filled with plenty of anko (red bean paste) that’s moderately sweet and complements the saltiness of the steamed bun. Be sure to visit early as it sometimes sells out!

    Also not to miss are the teyaki senbei at Marubutsu Nagatoro Raijindo. Their hand-baked senbei (rice crackers) are made by skilled artisans, with a variety of flavors to select from.

    Marubutsu Nagatoro Raijindo
    place
    Saitama Pref. Chichibugunnagatoromachi Nagatoro 806-2
    phone
    0494660017
    opening-hour
    9:00-17:00 (until Sunset dep…
  • 07

    Admire the natural rock formations of Nagatoro Iwadatami

    Nagatoro Iwadatami

    Nagatoro Iwadatami

    Nagatoro Iwadatami

    Nagatoro Iwadatami

    Just five minutes on foot from Nagatoro Station takes you to one of Saitama’s most spectacular natural wonders - Nagatoro Iwadatami. This beautiful gorge features layers of rocks that are reminiscent of stacks of ancient Japanese tatami mats, hence the name Iwadatami (“rock tatami mat”).

    They were formed by the large scale movement of the Earth's crust and are visited by scholars from across Japan, with Nagatoro sometimes referred to as “The window of the Earth”.

    Enjoy a walk along the river banks to admire these layers of flat rock, which have formed natural paths and steps.

    Nagatoro Valley Iwadatami
    place
    Saitama Pref. Chichibugunnagatoromachi Nagatoro
    phone
    0494663311
  • 08

    Relax at a café

    Nagatoro et Galet

    Nagatoro et Galet

    Nagatoro et Galet

    Nagatoro et Galet

    If you need to rest and refuel while exploring Nagatoro, there are numerous cafes where you can grab hot drinks and snacks.

    Enjoy some quiet reading time at the Book Cafe Gallery PNB-1253 or head to Otofudokoro Umedaya, which specializes in okara doughnuts made from soy pulp (a byproduct of tofu production).

    For something savory, don’t miss Nagatoro et Galet, a French-inspired cafe that’s famed for its galettes featuring miso-preserved pork sausage.

    NAGATORO et GALET
    place
    Saitama Pref. Chichibugunnagatoromachi Nagatoro 447
    phone
    0494660637
    opening-hour
    10:00-17:00
    Omamefudokoro Umedaya
    place
    Saitama Pref. Chichibugunnagatoromachi Nagatoro 268
    phone
    0494664883
    opening-hour
    [Lunch] 11:30-14:00[Store] 1…
    Book‧Cafe‧Gallery PNB1253
    place
    Saitama Chichibu-gun Minanomachi Shimotano 1253-1
    phone
    0494626323
  • 09

    Coincide your visit with the changing autumn leaves or cherry blossoms

    Autumn leaves

    Autumn leaves

    Cherry blossoms

    Cherry blossoms

    As its name suggests, admiring the autumn leaves is the main activity in Momiji Park, which is just five minutes’ walk from Nagatoro Station. It’s the most famous “momijigari” spot in Nagatoro and during the autumn season, the leaves are beautifully illuminated at night.

    Nagatoro has also been selected as one of Japan's “Top 100 Cherry Blossom Viewing Sites”, with over 3,000 cherry trees planted around the town. They bloom between late March and late April, with three peak times for viewing throughout the season due to the different varieties.

    Highlights include the 2.5-kilometer-long Kita Sakura Dori and Minami Sakura Dori, which is a popular location for photographing the steam locomotive framed by cherry blossom trees along the approach to Hodosan Shrine.

    Tsuki no Ishi Momiji Park
    place
    Saitama Chichibu-gun Nagatoromachi Nagatoro
  • 10

    Ride the Paleo Express steam locomotive

    Paleo Express steam locomotive

    Paleo Express steam locomotive

    Paleo Express steam locomotive

    Paleo Express steam locomotive

    The Paleo Express is the closest operational steam locomotive to the Tokyo metropolitan area and has been selected as one of Japan’s “100 Local Lines” .

    It offers magnificent views of the Chichibu Mountains as it makes the journey from Kumagaya Station, with large windows so passengers can enjoy the passing countryside.

    The Paleo Express only runs on weekends and holidays, so check the schedule to make sure it’s operating during your visit.

    We recommend that you opt for one of the non-reserved seats in the car behind the locomotive for the best views of its top.

    If you’re not riding the Paleo Express, you can photograph the train as it makes its way over the Oyahanabashi Bridge.

    URL:http://www.chichibu-railway.co.jp/en/#paleo

    Paleo Express steam locomotive

    Paleo Express steam locomotive

    秩父鉄道・SL「パレオエクスプレス」
    place
    埼玉県熊谷市
    no image
  • 11

    Photograph the Michelin-one-star Hodosan Shrine

    Hodosan Shrine

    Hodosan Shrine

    Hodosan Shrine

    Hodosan Shrine

    Awarded one star in the Michelin Green Guide Japan, the Hodosan Chichibu is one of the Chichibu Sansha (“Three Famous Shrines of Chichibu”) and is just a 10-minute walk from the station. It’s fronted by a large torii gate and framed by beautiful cherry blossom trees that ignite during the spring.

    Aside from 20 architectural highlights, visitors come to admire its elaborate sculptures designed to ward off troubles from fire and theft, protect the home, as well as to seek prosperity in business.

    If you visit during the autumn (particularly from mid-late November), you can experience the autumn illuminated leaf color.

    Hodosan-jinja Shrine
    place
    Saitama Pref. Chichibugunnagatoromachi Nagatoro 1828
    phone
    0494660084
    opening-hour
    [The summer season (Apr.-Sep…
  • 12

    Try Japan's best shaved ice shop - Asamireizou

    Asamireizou

    Asamireizou

    If you’re a fan of shaved ice or visiting during the hot, summer months, then make a point of visiting Asamireizou.

    This long-established shaved ice shop uses only natural ice and has garnered a reputation amongst shaved ice fans for being the best in Japan!

    Many people travel from outside the prefecture just to try this sweet treat, with its delicious taste and homemade syrups having been commented on by many media sources.
    While Asamireizou’s shaved ices are not to be missed, you should be prepared for long queues if you’re here in the summer!

    Asami Reizo Hodosan Trail Shop
    place
    Saitama Pref. Chichibugunnagatoromachi Nagatoro 781-4
    phone
    0494661885
    opening-hour
    10:00-17:00
  • 13

    Marvel at the starry sky

    Marvel at the starry sky

    Marvel at the starry sky

    Far from the light pollution of Tokyo, the region surrounding Nagatoro is renowned for its stargazing, particularly during the winter months.
    Once the sun sets, you can gaze up at millions of stars shining brightly above, with a clear view of the Milky Way also common.

    Nagatoro
    place
    Saitama Pref
  • 14

    Experience Nagatoro’s traditional festivals

    Nagatoro’s traditional festivals

    Nagatoro’s traditional festivals

    Nagatoro’s traditional festivals

    Nagatoro’s traditional festivals

    Like many of Japan’s towns and cities, Nagatoro loves festivals and numerous celebrations take place throughout the year.

    The most famous of these is the Chichibu Yomatsuri (“Chichibu Night Festival”), which is one of the top three float festivals in Japan and has been designated as National Important Intangible Folk Cultural Property.

    Other highlights on the yearly calendar include the Nagatoro Fire Festival and the Daruma Ichi (“Daruma Doll Festival”). Also worth visiting is the summer Funadama Festival when around 1,000 lanterns float down the Arakawa River and fireworks are released from the bank opposite Nagatoro Iwadatami.

    Read more
    Chichibu Matsuri
    Japan is famous for its festivals, with almost every town, city and district holding events for all the community to participate in every year. ” …

    Nagatoro’s traditional festivals

    Nagatoro’s traditional festivals

    Nagatoro Valley Iwadatami
    place
    Saitama Pref. Chichibugunnagatoromachi Nagatoro
    phone
    0494663311
  • 15

    Camp surrounded by nature

    Camp surrounded

    Camp surrounded

    Camp surrounded

    Camp surrounded

    If you love being immersed in the great outdoors, then why not camp during your stay in Nagatoro.

    Around 20 minutes by car from the Kanetsu Expressway and Hanazono Interchange is the Nagatoro Auto Camp, a family-friendly campground that offers a perfect retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life. It’s situated on the banks of the Arakawa River, with tent sites, cabins, and popular train carriage cabins available, as well as scenic views of Houraijima Park.

    Nagatoro Auto Camp Site
    place
    Saitama Pref. Chichibugunnagatoromachi Ido 559-1
    phone
    0494660640
    opening-hour
    [Reception]8:30-17:30[Phone …
  • 16

    Make your own soba noodles

    Make your own soba noodles

    Make your own soba noodles

     Tempura Soba

     Tempura Soba

    Nagatoro’s restaurants are famed for their use of local produce, including delicious soba noodles made in Chichibu. But if you’re not satisfied with just eating them, why not participate in a traditional soba-making experience to create your own.

    These thin, brown noodles are made from buckwheat and served in a variety of ways. Nagatoro specializes in soba; a set will typically come with deep-fried vegetables or fresh fish served with soba noodles.

    Nagatoro Furusawaen
    place
    Saitama Pref. Chichibugunnagatoromachi Ido 511-1
    phone
    0494663511
    opening-hour
    10:00-17:00 (reservation req…
  • 17

    Enjoy the superb views on the Hodosan Ropeway

    Enjoy the superb views on the Hodosan Ropeway

    Enjoy the superb views on the Hodosan Ropeway

    Enjoy the superb views on the Hodosan Ropeway

    Enjoy the superb views on the Hodosan Ropeway

    For some of the best views in Nagatoro, ride the Hodosan Ropeway to the Hodosan Shrine Okumiya on the summit of Mount Hodo, with the main shrine located at its base. The journey takes around five minutes and the ropeway is famed for having the oldest aerial lift cabins still in use in the Kanto region.

    Only two access the summit every hour but the wait is worth it, with outstanding views during all four seasons.

    Aside from the shrine, the summit is also home to a plum garden, a wintersweet garden, and a small zoo.

    URL:http://www.chichibu-railway.co.jp/en/nagatoro.html#n02

    Hodosan Ropeway Rest House
    place
    Saitama Chichibu-gun Nagatoromachi Nagatoro 2595-1
    phone
    0494660382
  • 18

    Explore the mysterious, scarecrow-filled village of Kakashi no Sato

    Filled village of Kakashi no Sato

    Filled village of Kakashi no Sato

    Filled village of Kakashi no Sato

    Filled village of Kakashi no Sato

    Near the terminus of the Chichibu Railway at Mitsumineguchi Station is the historic post town of Kakashi no Sato (“Scarecrow Village”).

    The first scarecrow was erected around 15 years ago to protect Ayano Tsukimi’s vegetable garden. Now there are dozens of scarecrows dotted throughout the village, many of which are based on current or former residents.

    While the living population of Kakashi no Sato has declined since the local school was closed a few years ago, the scarecrows are effectively re-populating it…and making it a somewhat quirky tourist attraction!

    Mitsumineguchi
    place
    Saitama Pref
  • 19

    Visit the Former Arai Family Residence

    Former Arai Family Residence

    Former Arai Family Residence

    History buffs should make a point of visiting this National Important Cultural Property, which is just eight minutes’ walk from Nagatoro Station.

    Take a step back in time to the Edo period to explore what was once the residence of the village headman, with the building comprising layers of chestnut boards and a shingled roof.

    It now operates as a museum detailing the local history and lifestyle of local sericulture (silkworm) farmers.

    Former Arai Family Residence
    place
    Saitama Pref. Chichibugunnagatoromachi Nagatoro 1164
    phone
    0494660297
    opening-hour
    9:00-17:00[Oct.-Mar.] 9:00-1…
  • 20

    Take a step back in time at the Saitama Museum of Natural History

    Saitama Museum of Natural History

    Saitama Museum of Natural History

    Saitama Museum of Natural History

    Saitama Museum of Natural History

    Just a four-minute walk from the Chichibu Railway’s Kami-Nagatoro Station is the Saitama Museum of Natural History, which details the 300 million year history of the region.
    Aside from precious fossils and a large diorama of Saitama’s prehistoric forests, the museum also features exhibitions showcasing the living creatures and minerals found in the Saitama Chichibu area.

    URL:http://www.shizen.spec.ed.jp/?page_id=477

    Saitama Museum of Natural History
    place
    Saitama Pref. Chichibugunnagatoromachi Nagatoro 1417-1
    phone
    0494660404
    opening-hour
    9:00-16:30(Latest entry16:00…
  • 21

    Enjoy a soak at the Matsuri no Yu onsen

    Matsuri no Yu onsen

    Matsuri no Yu onsen

    Matsuri no Yu onsen

    Matsuri no Yu onsen

    Before leaving the Nagatoro region, head to Chichibu to bathe in the Matsuri no Yu onsen, which is situated adjacent to Seibu Chichibu Station.
    It’s been described as an “onsen theme park”, with a large number of different hot spring baths, as well as a shopping area where you can purchase local specialties and souvenirs, plus a food court.

    Relax in one of the male or female-only baths that are supplied with natural water that’s infused with sodium chloride.
    A highlight is the second-floor hanamiyu (“flower viewing baths”), which are popular during the cherry blossom season.


    Read more
    Seibu Chichibu Eki Mae Onsen – Matsuri no Yu
    For visitors arriving at Seibu Chichibu station in Saitama Prefecture, there is a new onsen attraction just outside the train station which promises an enjoyable and relaxing day out for people of all ages. ” …

    Matsuri no Yu onsen

    Matsuri no Yu onsen

    Matsuri no Yu onsen

    Matsuri no Yu onsen

    Seibu Chichibu ekimae Onsen Matsuri no Yu
    place
    Saitama Pref. Chichibushi Nosakamachi 1-16-15
    phone
    0494227111
    opening-hour
    [Monday-Thursday/SundayPubli…

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