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North of Tokyo


It is the Saitama and Tochigi prefectures that occupy the north of Tokyo with interesting places, such as Kawagoe, the Chichibu-Tama National Park, and Nikko's temple and shrine centers.


The old town of Kawagoe has a population of approximately 304,000. The warehouse merchant houses, or dozozukuri, are the main attractions in Kawagoe, and have even been made national treasures of Japan. Most of these buildings were built after a disastrous fire in 1893 and now operate as museums. Once the dominant headquarters of the Tendai sect, the Kita-in Temple in Kawagoe is still an impressive sight to behold. To get to Kawagoe, visitors can take the Seibu Shinjuku line from Tokyo's Seibu Shinjuku station, which operates to the Hon-Kawagoe station.

Chichibu-Tama National Park

This national park is divided into the Chichibu and Oku-Tama regions, which are connected by a hiking trail that goes through Mt Mitsumine.

Chichibu Region - Two trails can be found in the Chichibu region. Yokuze station, a mere one stop from Seibu Chichibu station, is the starting point for the shorter walk. The trail will wind as a circuit through Mt Buko-san. Another way of walking through the shorter trail is to go through Hashidate Stalactite Cavern to Urayama-guchi station. The longer walk, on the other hand, starts from Mitsumine-guchi station. This walk connects Chichibu with Oku-Tama, and will pass Mitsumine-jinja Shrine, a 40 minute walk from the station. Founded over 2000 years ago, the shrine has been a favorite mountain retreat for Tendai Buddhist sect members. The long trail will take approximately eight hours to reach Kamozawa, from where buses leave for Oku-Tama station. The Mountain Hut Kumitori San-So on the trail provides accommodation for those who wish to stay over. Other accommodations are also available around the Chichibu region. The fastest and cheapest way of getting to this region is via the Seibu Ikebukuro line from Seibu Ikebukuro station. It usually takes about one hour and 48 minutes to reach the Seibu Chichibu station.

Oku-Tama Region - Not to be defeated, the Oku-Tama region also has equally impressive mountain scenery and good hiking trails. On top of that, this neighboring region has a few attractions of its own. The Ome Railway Park, a 15 minute walk from the Ome station, showcases steam locomotives and a railway museum that displays model trains in the memorial hall. Visitors can also visit Mt Mitake-san here. Buses will take visitors from Mitake station to the Mt Mitake-san cable car, which will bring them close to the summit. Thirty minutes from the cable car stop is the Mitake-jinja Shrine, which is said to date back 1200 years ago. From the Oku-Tama station, one can also visit the nearby Lake Oku-Tama-ko, as well as the Nippara Stalactite Cavern.

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