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History of Chichibu

History of Chichibu

Chichibu, a Fascinating Destination in All Seasons

Located in western Saitama, Chichibu is known as a tourist destination with easy access from Tokyo. It is blessed with an abundance of nature, such as lush greenery and pure streams, fascinating visitors with its seasonal, natural attractions including shibazakura (moss pink) in spring at Hitsujiyama Park, outings on the riverside in summer, foliage in autumn and Ashigakubo Icicles in winter.

There are a number of cultural heritage sites with historic value in Chichibu, including wado (Japanese copper) mines , where the first Japanese coins (wado kaichin) were originally minted, and a neighborhood that retains an ambience reminiscent of the post-station town, visited by the many pilgrims traveling to Mitsumine Shrine or Chichibu Pilgrimage Temples, which flourished during the Edo period.

See Three Historic Shrines Known as Famous Power Spots in Chichibu

Chichibu Shrine is known as the home of the Chichibu Night Festival, which is one of the most popular float festivals in Japan, along with the Kyoto Gion Festival and the Hida Takayama Festival. It is one of the oldest shrines in the Kanto area, with a history of over 2,100 years. There are two other famous shrines known as popular power spots in Chichibu—Mitsumine Shrine, which was founded by Yamato-takeru-no-Mikoto in myths and is famous for its shiro-ki-mamori (white good luck charm), and Hodosan Shrine, which attracts 1 million worshippers each year, who are fascinated by the name’s auspicious meaning (Hodosan literally means “go up a treasure mountain”). These three shrines are known as very spiritual and sacred places. See the beautiful interior decorations inside the shrines.

* Mitsumine Shrine has suspended the offering of shiro-ki-mamori, which used to be offered to visitors on the first of every month.

Casual Pilgrimage Circuit Popular among Young Women

There are 34 pilgrimage temples in Chichibu, attracting many pilgrims since the Edo period, and are included in the 100 Japanese Kannon Temples. One circuit of the pilgrimage from the first to the 34th temple is about 100 kilometers. The shorter pilgrimage circuit in Chichibu makes it a popular holy ground among female enthusiasts. Start with any temple in the circuit. Choose your own stamp book to collect red stamps from shrines and temples. Go on a pilgrimage with a philosophical perspective in Chichibu today.

* Rental bicycle is recommended for visiting the pilgrimage temples.

A town of many festive events in Kanto

People host a number of festivals in Chichibu throughout the year. Chichibu Night Festival is the most famous event with a 300 year old history, known as a traditional winter event, hosted by the Chichibu Shrine on the second and third day of each December.

Inside the two ornately decorated floats and the four yatai floats, people play music to the rhythm of taiko drums during the processions around town. Take advantage of the rare and exciting opportunity to enjoy fireworks that light up the night sky in winter and the massive floats being pulled up a hill on the third day of the festival. Please also enjoy watching videos of the Chichibu Night Festival in a small theater at the Chichibu Festival Center, and relax in a hot spring at Seibu Chichibu Ekimae Onsen Matsuri-no yu.