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Travel Magazine

A Scenic Mountain Get Away Day Trip from Tokyo,Nagatoro


Hi! I am Matthew Komljenovic, I study at Saitama University and love to travel, and make friends.


Visiting Japan, it’s quite easy to forget that Japan is a mountainous country. In fact around 73% of Japan is part of a mountain region. Watching Japanese movies or anime, there are often scenes set in the mountains, with traditional buildings and farms, but where is it that you can find a setting like this in real life? And more importantly, one that’s close to Tokyo.

 Visiting the main cities of Japan, it is difficult to find somewhere to see real nature, as most of the parks and rivers in main cities are artificial. This thought led me to Western Saitama, in search of rural Japan which was not just farmland. I discovered a local tourist attraction in Nagatoro, a beautiful riverside village buried within the mountains.


Nagataro is a very small town around 2 hours from Tokyo, in western Saitama. The Arakawa River runs alongside Nagatoro from there all the way to Tokyo. As Nagatoro is quite isolated, and population is small, there isn’t much human activity in the area. This means that the river and forests surrounding Nagatoro still retain all of their natural beauty. Nagatoro is mostly known for its river boat cruises along the Arakawa River, which attract several locals.


Official site

Nagatoro River Boating

The boat cruise is an excellent place to experience the nature of mountain-region Japan as it allows you to see naturally formed Schist rock surfaces, clean spring water and beautiful trees which change with season. The river itself also changes color during different times and seasons, so going there twice, you’ll have two different experiences. There are three options with the boat ride. Course B which runs from Iwadatami Rock (Very close to Nagatoro Station), Northwards for 15 minutes, Course A which runs from further up the river, finishing at Iwadatami Rock, and course A + B which runs the whole length. There are free shuttles buses which run from each point, so there’s no need to worry about ending up in the wrong place. The boat ride involves some water splashing, so be prepared to get wet, and be careful with your electronics.


Nagatoro River Boating Admission Fee
Course A: 2000 yen – 2200 yen
*Children (3 years old and older):1000 yen – 1100 yen
Course B: 2000 yen – 2200 yen
*Child (3 years old and older):1000 yen – 1100 yen
*Admission fee varies depending on the season.
Opening 9:00AM – 4:00PM Weekdays and Weekends
Address 489-2 Nagatoro, Nagatoro-machi, Chichibu-gun, Saitama-ken 369-1305
Official site

Mt. Hodo, Hodosan

Admission Fee Free
Address 489-2 Nagatoro, Nagatoro-machi, Chichibu-gun, Saitama-ken 369-1305


A short 15 minute walk away from Nagatoro Station, where the Boat Ride finishes up is Mount Hodo, a great place to spend the rest of the day if you have time. Mount Hodo is a relatively easy hike (about an hour) with great views of the mountain range. Although not as tall as its surrounding neighbours, the peak of Hodo still allows you to get a good scene of mountain-region japan. For those that prefer not to hike, there is a cable car option for 500 yen one way. Once at the top, there are many places to take pictures and a resting area with great ice cream. Further along the path, there are two paths. One leads to a mini-zoo.

Hodosan ZOO

Hodosan ZOO which as the name states, is quite small. Animals include goats, rabbits, monkeys, deer, tanuki and pigs. The mini zoo isn’t special compared to other zoos, but for a cheap price and nice view of Nagatoro, it’s worth a visit.


Hodosan ZOO Admission Fee
Adult: 500Yen
*Child (3 years old and older): 250Yen
Opening hours: 10:00-16:00
Address 2209-6 Nagatoro, Nagatoro-machi, Chichibu-gun, Saitama-ken 369-1305
Official site

Seibu-chichibu Ekimae Onsen Matsurinoyu Hot Spring

A 20 minute train ride away is Chichibu. Chichibu is renowned for its numerous onsens in natural settings, and I had the opportunity to visit one. Directly in front of Seibu-Chichibu station, there is a very large onsen. I like to describe it as the Ikea of onsens. A small fee of 980 yen will grant you access to four or five onsen pools, an outdoor hot spring bed, sauna, and a tv-couch lounge area. Although I wasn’t allowed to take pictures inside, I managed to take a picture of the lounge area, as you can see above, features lay back couches with television. After having a bath, there is a large cafeteria area with many restaurants and a bar. I had the miso ramen broth which was good enough for me to leave a google review.

Seibu-chichibu Ekimae Onsen Matsurinoyu Hot Spring
Admission Fee:1100 Yen(Weekdays), 1380 Yen(Weekend/Holidays)
*Child: 700 Yen(Weekdays etc.), 800 Yen(Weekend/Holidays etc.)
Opening 10am – 11pm
Address 1-1-16-15, Nosakamachi, Chichibu-shi, Saitama
Official site

How to get there:

The easiest way in my opinion is from to catch the Red Arrow (Ikebukuro Line) to Seibu-Chichibu station from Ikebukuro Station. Once at Seibu-Chichibu station, purchasing a Chichibu railway pass will allow you to make multiple return trips in the area. Because there are so many things to do in the Chichibu precinct, I recommend this option. Once arriving at Seibu-Chichibu Station, you are already in the Chichibu area, so if interested you could rent a bicycle or a car for a day. To get to Nagatoro by train, catch the chichibu railway (also called Paleo Express) to the station just 20 minutes away.

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