A mountain day getaway.
A morning on the river, viewing the trees as a boatman guides the traditional wooden raft down still waters. Handmade soba for lunch, cold and refreshing with tempura on the side. In the afternoon, a trip on the ropeway up to Mt. Hodo to see beautiful flowers with the sublime backdrop of the Chichibu mountains. There are few better ways to spend a day trip out of Tokyo than in Nagatoro, Saitama.
Nagatoro is one of the rare spots of actual nature near Tokyo – not a park or some other “green space” but a real retreat into the mountains, where you can enjoy boat tours, white water rafting, camping, hiking, paragliding and more.
No matter the season, there is always something to do.
Azaleas brighten the town in the spring, while you can cool down in the summer by going up the mountain. See the autumn foliage reflected in the calm river, or enjoy a splash of color in the winter with wintersweet flowers and plum blossoms.
March has a fire festival where monks walk over fire for good luck, while August attracts the crowds with a lantern boat festival that lights up the night.
There are also indoor activities you can try like glasswork or pottery making throughout town. The Nagatoromachi Tourist Association provides information on different things to do in the area, or you can pick up a pamphlet at the tourist information center right outside Nagatoro Station.
Get a great view from the Mt. Hodo Ropeway on the side of Mt. Hodo, which reaches 497 meters above sea level. It costs 820 yen (410 for children) round trip or 480 yen (240) one way if you feel like hiking down the mountain. At the top, you’ll find beautiful scenery as well as a small zoo – perfect for children.
You can also ride the Paleo Express – a steam locomotive that chugs its way through picturesque Chichibu on weekends and public holidays, stopping at Nagatoro along the way.