The Afternoon in Chichibu

Chichibu may be famous for their matsuri and Shibazakura, but there is much more to this region.

Even if just around the train station.

On my way back from Hitsuji-yama Park, I had a little time to wander. I discovered a city surrounded by mountains, filled with interesting temples and local shops. The streets were quiet but full of charm.

The temple I stumbled upon was Nosaka-ji (野坂寺), which is the twelfth temple in the Chichibu 34 sacred temple pilgrimage. This temple may be one of my all time favorites because it was so quirky.

Right at the entrance, you come face to face with a lovely Azukari Kannon (預かり観音), a Kannon that will gather your worries, anger, sickness, and whatever else may be burdening you. There is also a gorgeous wood carving of the Mountain God. I won’t mention everything but there was just a lot of interesting things to see, you’ll have to go discover for yourself.

A piece of advice. If you ever discover a temple with a cemetery on the side of a mountain, climb to the highest grave. You won’t regret it. I loved seeing the view from above. My ancestors on both my parents sides have a great view from the family grave, which we took full advantage of this new years. I’m sure they won’t mind sharing a view with you for a while, especially if they haven’t had visitors in a while.

I passed by a beautiful shelf of white wisteria (which I didn’t even know existed), a large elementary school with a great view of Mount Buko, and retro shops that were so cute that I had to stop and snap photos of.

Then I discovered an amazing local bakery, where I ended up buying much more than I could eat. The bakery prides itself in using natural yeast, domestic flour and other organic produce. If you, unlike me, have self restraint and only get one thing, I would suggest the Aosa Bagel. I didn’t even know this existed but it was delicious!

I’m already looking forward to my next time in Chichibu. x

Have you been to Chichibu? Isn’t it charming?
2-12-25 Nosaka-machi Chichibu-shi, Saitama JAPAN
1-18-12 Nosaka-machi Chichibu-shi, Saitama JAPAN
TEL: 0494 25 7373
HOURS: 10:00am-6:30pm (Closed Tuesdays/Fridays)

11 thoughts on “The Afternoon in Chichibu”

  1. This was a real fun post to explore.

    Your timing was so good with the wisteria blooming. I like how the buds remained pink but the petals were so soft white.

    At the wooden Kannon sculpture I kept wondering about that right, center, left stuff. And then suddenly, “Aha!” There are three faces!

    The front-on temple architecture photos look like they are out of a photo book.

    The faces of the Jizō statues (red caps and bibs) are so cute.

    I understand that there is a newer version of the Cleaning Pis which can be seen here.

    Those funky little shops on Sai-Kai Highway give off a retro mood. You have a great eye. I would probably walk right by with hardly a glance. From the photos I thought Japan, in places, still looked as it did in 1985 during my home stay. But, of course, time goes on as the nearby Hotel Route-Inn shows.

    This is a wild guess but I wonder if that bit of white with the blue stripe at the far left edge near the standing pipe at the top of the bedding-shop photo could be a kind of a guardrail for the Seibu Train Line overpass.

    That Black Rabbit bakery is such a find. It looks great! And that Aosa Bagel. Yum. I couldn’t read so well but is that seaweed and gouda cheese in (on) there? Maybe I should double that to yum yum. Thanks for the recommendation.


  2. Chichibu is (as you probably know!) my favourite hiking spot. I'm gradually doing all the pilgrimage temples, but haven't been to this one yet. Clearly a serious oversight! 🙂


  3. Looks like a lovely walk.

    The bakery looks good too, although I would hate to learn what a non natural yeast is… … Although I'm sure you mean there is no Baking Powder. I like yeast a lot now, but that is for a different reason. Makes a lot of good alcohol. 😉


  4. Natural Yeast

    Baking Bread Without Commercial Yeast

    (Click on above)

    Speaking of fermenting, I’ve been fermenting fruit juices with ginger bug.

    Do you know how grapes have a kind of white not-quite powder on the outside of the skins? That is natural yeast. Just exactly the kind of yeast needed to ferment grapes into wine. You might say that every grape is its own natural winery. So, organic ginger has a similar kind of yeast. I went through the process above in the ginger bug link and added a ladle full to fruit juice in a gallon jar. For maybe a couple years year now I just add more fruit juice when the jar gets low. It does ferment into alcohol. I think fruit juice is expensive in Japan. If you are fermenting rice or other grains that might be less expensive.

    Are there beer kits in Japan?


  5. Looks interesting. Never tried natural sodas but recently read about them. Might need to look into it more.

    As for grapes and natural yeast in general, while yeast doesn't produce sour flavours, bacteria does. Without a really clean environment, the sugars also attract bacteria. I don't know much about wine, but I can see how the white powder on the grapes are yeast. Sounds lovely, but natural yeasts are very fickle. Hard to predict the flavour and varies based on region, a LOT from what I have read.

    I've been reading a lot about alcohol, for fun, but it is hard to do in Japan. You can buy beer kits and such but it is a grey area for sure. For beer, if you drink a Saison, it is generally fermented with the top open so that natural yeast can enter the fermentation process. It is risky as bacteria enters as well, which is why it can have a slightly sour flavour to it.

    Rice is cheaper in general but not that much cheaper. Yeast itself is the hardest thing to buy and I heard there is only one small town where you are allowed to make sake at home. All other places are not allowed.

    I'm suddenly in need of a good drink. 😀


  6. I love this time of year because there are so many flowers blooming, your're bound to have good timing with one thing or another!

    I'm not exactly sure if the Seibu Line overpass was in the picture but there was one. The Hitsujiyama park is located right above it. I view from the Red Arrow (limited express) was pretty fantastic, too 🙂

    And yes, there was cheese on the aosa bagel! Double delicious!


  7. Good point, Dru. I feel like the bakery meant that they make the yeast themselves. Instead of buying it. Is that possible? I have no knowledge of yeast, to be honest.

    Both you and Tall Gary seem to know quite a bit on yeast. Very interesting! 😀


  8. Just checked Google Maps. It’s the Seibu Chichibu Line overpassing there. It looks like the Seibu Ikebukuro Line becomes Seibu Chichibu at Agano, but I really wouldn’t know.


  9. Yes, you can make, or even harvest, your own yeast. It does take a little skill but it isn't supposed to be too hard. Just tricky to be natural.

    Honestly, for a small shop, it is easier to just buy yeast. Making it yourself is time consuming and requires a lot of space to make the same variety or your food/drink can have different tastes.


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