Translated by Shinji Takaramura
Nagatoro - Enjoy Amazing Natural Scenery And Great Local Food Near Tokyo!
Written by MATCHA-PR
Nagatoro in Saitama is a great spot to view the autumn leaves. A train ride to Nagatoro takes only two hours from Shinjuku. We introduce a one-day plan to enjoy the amazing sights and great local dishes of Nagatoro.
Nagatoro, a town located in the Chichibu district of Saitama prefecture, is a popular sightseeing spot, blessed with beautiful natural scenery and fine cuisine.
Along with the surrounding mountains, Nagatoro has a wide variety of unique landscapes, created by ancient tectonic movements.
The most famous of these is the huge rock formation called Iwadatami along the Arakawa river, which spreads out over a distance of 500 meters and stands eighty meters wide.
In November, many Japanese tourists visit Nagatoromachi to enjoy the picturesque contrast between the bold Iwadatami and the vivid autumn leaves.
It only takes two hours to reach this area when using local railroad lines from Shinjuku, so this town is perfect for either a day trip or a one-night stay.
Sightseeing Information: Nagatoromachi Tourist Association
A Model Route from Tokyo: Enjoying the Autumn Leaves and Fine Food of Nagatoro
9:30 Departing from Shinjuku
There are several ways to access Nagatoro. Our recommendation is to use the JR Shonan-Shinjuku Line bound for Takasaki from Shinjuku Station to JR Kumagaya Station, transfer to the Chichibu Railway bound for Kagemori, then get off at Nagatoro Station. It takes about two hours, and the fare is approximately 2000 yen.
If you are planning to stay in Japan for longer than a week and want to travel around various areas, the Japan Rail Pass, a special ticket issued by JR which can also be used on the JR lines on this route, may be an option to check out.
The steam locomotive Paleo Express, which departs from Kumagaya, runs on weekends, holidays and sometimes on weekdays, so this is another option for those who want to enjoy a leisurely trip.
11:30 Nagatoro Tourist Information Center
After arriving at Nagatoro, visit the tourist information center. The center provides area maps, plus information on other services, such as rental bicycles.
There is a pamphlet stand at the center, and you can also ask the staff for an English map as well.
12:00 The Panoramic View of the Autumn Leaves at Kanaishi Suikan Bridge
Kanaishi Suikan Bridge is located just a ten minute walk from Nagatoro Station. Visitors here can enjoy a panoramic view of the autumn leaves from twenty meters above the river.
If you're riding a bicycle, visit Shiratori Bridge, another viewing spot. Its location can be confirmed on the map handed out at the center.
13:00 Lunch at Takara
For lunch, try Takara, a restaurant located only a minute away from Nagatoro Station.
Buta miso don, cooked with the local specialty Chichibu miso, is one of their most popular dishes.
Takara takes pride in using locally produced ingredients. Buta miso don uses Saitama pork seasoned with homemade miso, roasted over charcoal fire. The fragrant miso and the fresh, juicy pork make this an irresistible dish.
There are also other unique Chichibu dishes, such as miso potato, to savor here as well.
14:00 Nagatoro Valley
After a delicious lunch, how about enjoying Nagatoro White Water Rafting? It's an activity that allows visitors to view both the wild Nagatoro Valley and the autumn leaves.
Purchase your tickets at their sales office, which is located a two minute walk from Nagatoro Station. A shuttle bus will take you to the raft boarding area.
From the boat, Iwadatami, a designated natural monument, can be seen up close. Visitors can enjoy the contrast between the rock surface and the vivid colors of the autumn leaves on this ride.
There are two courses, A and B, to choose from, both of which take about twenty minutes. For an additional fee, visitors can enjoy both routes. If you can understand Japanese, you'll also enjoy listening to the humorous comments of the boatmen as they guide the boat ride.
15:30 Taking a Break at Umedaya
After the boat ride, take a break at Otofudokoro Umedaya, which is a ten minute walk from Nagatoro Station.
Umedaya is a tofu maker, and sells okara doughnuts, which are made from okara (soy pulp), a byproduct of tofu making.
Okara is low in calories and very nutritious, so this doughnut is actually a healthy treat. It is crisp on the outside and spongy inside, and has a faint, soy bean taste.
Umedaya also runs a cafe inside a traditional house, where their tofu lunch served in a tatami room is quite popular with international travelers. If you have the chance, try the tofu dishes.
17:00 The Illuminations at Tsukinoishi Momiji Park
The autumn leaves are at their best from mid to late November.
The trees at Tsukinoishi Momiji Park, a 15-minute walk from Nagatoro Station, will be illuminated during this period, offering a great nighttime view to the visitors.
The trees at Hodosan Jinja Shrine and the Saitama Museum of Natural History will also be illuminated, so don't miss these fantastic sights too.
Staying at a Hot Spring Inn
Nagatoro is a great place to enjoy the radiant autumn colors, whether on a day trip or over a one-night stay.
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