A River in the Japanese Countryside at the Edge of Tokyo
After a year in Japan, I think this day trip to Nagatoro is my favorite. Chichibu,with its temples and hiking trails, is a classic day trip from Tokyo. However, Nagatoro is still an unknow treasure that you must discover ! Spend a day in this remoted valley to be immersed nature !
Nagatoro offers a diversity of activities. You can take an hike along the river to admire the beautiful cliffs that surround the river Ara-kawa. Those cliffs are called “iwadatami“ as it looks like a pile of tatami. The nature there is luxurious, and autumn is recommended to enjoy the leafs turning red and golden. In this Take a traditional Japanese lunch by the river, in this lush environment, that you previously bought in the shopping street of Nagatoro that leads to the river.
In the afternoon, you can take a ride the rapids of the river Ara-kawa in an old fashion Japanese boat. There are three different companies that offers this opportunity. You can find detailed informations at the tourist information center that is located next to Nagatoro train station. The operator’s office are located there as well. There is no need to book tickets the in advance. You can choose between two different courses that both take around 30min. Unfortunatly, we couldn’t try when I was there but I think it’s a must when in Nagatoro !
Just at this entrance of Nagatoro Iwatadami area, you can jump from the cliffs into the river. We had a lot of fun swimming and jumping with locals, and we relaxed there until sunset that offer beautiful lightning.
In the small city of Nagatoro, you can visit the sanctuary of Hodosan (see article) and stroll into the traditional shopping street, from the station that leads to the river. You can try Japanese soba(buckwheat noodles), icecream, traditional snacks and buy souvenirs ! The atmosphere of the street is very typical of what you can find in Japanese coutryside !
Access: from Ikebukuro station, take the Seibu Ikebukuro Line Limited Express to Chichibu (1h23 for 1 500 yen). At Chichibu station, walk 5min to the Ohanabatake Station to take the Chichibu Main Line for Nagatoro (23min for 480 yen).