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 The small city of Chichibu is deeply forested and surrounded by mountains that extend as far as the eye can see. It's close enough to Tokyo for a day trip. Its hot springs as well as Nagatoro Gorge are well-known attractions, and the Chichibu Yomatsuri (Night Festival) has been designated as Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO.
 Off the beaten path from these tourist attractions, check out matohu's Chichibu recommendations below!

Palm of the Hand Traveler’s Journal—Chichibu City Palm of the Hand Traveler’s Journal—Chichibu City
Natural maple syrup from the forest of Chichibu Natural maple syrup from the forest of Chichibu

1. Natural maple syrup from the forest of Chichibu

 Sap from wild maple trees in the forest is collected in winter and boiled down to make maple syrup. This syrup is then sold at a shop called Maple Base and served together with pancakes. A portion of the sales is donated to forest conservation, to thin cedar trees and plant maples to create a healthy and vibrant forest for the future.
 This is one of the actions to create a sustainable forest that Aiko Ihara is pursuing. The forest's bounty was concentrated in the syrup's rich flavor!

Mitsumine-jinja Shrine Mitsumine-jinja Shrine

2. Mitsumine-jinja Shrine

 Mitsumine-jinja Shrine is an hour's drive from Chichibu City. It's well-known for being a shrine that worships wolves, and stone wolf statues greet visitors at its entrance. The shrine was originally a sacred site of shugendo, or mountain asceticism. The main shrine building is a gorgeous example of the syncretistic fusion of Shintoism and Buddhism reminiscent of Nikko Toshogu Shrine. Visiting Yohaiden at the shrine is a must. This building offers a stunning panoramic view of the mountains and Chichibu City as well as Oku-no-in temple in the distance.

Paris Shokudo Paris Shokudo

3. Paris Shokudo

 Chichibu City is home to many retro buildings from the Meiji, Taisho and early Showa periods with architecture that was modern in its day. Of them, Paris Shokudo (diner) deserves special mention! Built in 1927, it is designated a Tangible Cultural Property by the Japanese government. Once a stylish café, today it is a diner serving Japanese-style Western dishes. The rice omelet (omurice) and the deep-fried pork cutlet over rice with sauce (sauce katsu-don) are particularly good. Its pronunciation of “Paris" as “Parī" with a long “i" sound is also adorable.