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Photo By: PIXTA/ denkei
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Chichibu Shrine

Chichibu Shrine is filled with a legacy of beautiful architecture and history.

By Abhijit Sen

Chichibu Shrine is a tangible cultural property of Saitama Prefecture and home of Chichibu Yomatsuri, one of Japan’s three major Hikiyama festivals, along with Kyoto’s Gion Festival and Hida Takayama Festival.

Chichibu Shrine is an architectural sight and an important cultural and historical aspect of the Kanto region.

Shrine Background

chichibu shrine

Photo by: PIXTA/ denkei It is one of the three main shrines in the region.

Chichibu Shrine is one of the oldest shrines in Japan with a history of 2,000 years. This beautiful Japanese Shinto shrine is located at the center of Chichibu city of Saitama Prefecture. It is one of the three main shrines or Chichibu Sanja in the Chichibu region.

During ancient times this shrine occupied a vast area in the forest of this mountainous region, over time the surroundings have changed a lot, but the calm and peaceful atmosphere has remained the same. It is said that visiting this shrine brings many blessings including family peace and prosperity and academic and work success.

Chichibu shrine was founded by the 10th generation of Kanemiko Yachi, but the old shrine building was burnt down during the war of 1569. The existing shrine building was built by Lord Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1592 and it was designated as a national Tangible Cultural Property.

Ancient Accents

chichibu shrine

Photo by: PIXTA/ denkei How many animals can you spot?

The striking colorful wood carving on the wall of this Gongen Zukuri-styled temple made it more interesting. Master craftsman Hidari Jingoro designed those auspicious wood carvings for the enshrined deity, and the royal family, the most famous of which is the child-rearing tiger, three good luck monkeys, and a tethered dragon.

Chichibu shrine’s three monkeys are known as the three energetic monkeys who “see well, listen well, and speak well.” The baby-rearing tiger that can be seen on the front left side of the shrine was carved to protect the dignity of Prince Ieyasu and the enshrined deity. In this case, the tigress can be seen strangely carved as a leopard as it is thought that since tigers are not native to Japan and the artist had never seen a tigress before, the leopard may have been mistaken for a tigress.

Shrine Festivals

chichibu shrine

Photo by: Abhijit Sen A 300 year old festival.

The Chichibu Yomatsuri or Chichibu Night Festival is the grand festival of the Chichibu shrine as well as an important event of Saitama prefecture. It started around 300 years ago during the Edo period and is known as one of Japan’s three major float festivals, along with the Kyoto Gion Festival and the Hida Takayama Festival.

The main attractions of the festival are the paper lanterns (called bonbori ) which decorate the floats magnificently, the Kagura dance (a Shinto dance) performed throughout the day and last but not the least, the night sky filled with colorful fireworks. The festival, which takes place in the first week of December, has been designated as an Important Intangible Folk Cultural Asset of Japan.

Things To Know

Chichibu Festival Hall

On the opposite side of the road is the Chichibu Festival Hall, which is worth a visit. Visiting this museum will give you a deeper understanding of the Chichibu Night Festival and other local events.

Two exquisitely decorated floats are housed in the exhibition hall where a light and sound show is held that revives the Chichibu night festival and gives visitors a highlight of the famous event.


Chichibu Shrine

Free to enter and the shrine is open from 8:30 A.M.–5 P.M.

Chichibu Festival Hall

It costs ¥500 for adults and ¥100 for children (elementary and junior high school students)

From April to November it is open from 9 A.M.–5 P.M.

From December to March it is open from 10 A.M.–5 P.M.

The last entry is from 4:30 P.M. 


How To Get There


By train

From Ikebukuro station: When using the Seibu Ikebukuro Line Limited Express Red Arrow, all seats are reserved and there is no need to transfer. Approximately 80 minutes.

From Takasaki station: Transfer to Chichibu Railway from JR Kumagaya station. From there it’s a three-minute walk from Chichibu Railway Chichibu station or a 15-minute walk from Seibu Chichibu station on the Seibu Chichibu Line.

Where To Stay

NIPPONIA Chichibu Shrine Town
  • 17-5 Miyakawacho, Chichibu-shi, Saitama, 368-0046 Japan
  • ¥23,845 - ¥28,595
  • 4.17/5 (50 reviews)
  • 0.1 km
Classic & Modern Self-styled Hotel Banba Osone
  • 19-2 Bambamachi, Chichibu-shi, Saitama, 368-0041 Japan
  • ¥18,975 - ¥21,505
  • 0.4 km
Hotel Route-Inn Seibu Chichibu Ekimae
  • 2-3-18 Nosakamachi, Chichibu-shi, Saitama, 368-0033 Japan
  • ¥7,700 - ¥20,600
  • 3.92/5 (744 reviews)
  • 1.0 km
Natural Farm City Noen Hotel
  • 5911-1 Omiya, Chichibu-shi, Saitama, 368-0023 Japan
  • ¥13,200 - ¥20,075
  • 1.1 km
Ryokan Hiyoshi
  • 2-8-34 Nosakamachi, Chichibu-shi, Saitama, 368-0033 Japan
  • ¥7,150 - ¥24,200
  • 4.75/5 (268 reviews)
  • 1.4 km

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