When the neon of Tokyo no longer energizes you, it’s a sure sign that you’re in need of a nature escape. And what better place than the riverside village of Nagatoro. Located in the mountains of western Saitama, just two hours from Tokyo, this outdoorsy spot makes for a wonderful day trip or short stay.
In a matter of hours, you’re perfectly situated for hiking, boating and exploring the quaint shopping street.
With raw scenery that changes with the seasons, from cherry blossoms to autumn leaves or verdant green forests, there is a perpetually beautiful backdrop for all your outdoor fun. Here’s what your Nagatoro day trip could look like… follow along with the map here.
Getting to Nagatoro
First thing’s first: take an early train (before 8:00 am) from either Ikebukuro or Ueno Stations. This will have you arriving at Nagatoro Station by 10:00 am. Make a quick stop at the Tourist Information Office for some inspiration.
With all the sitting on the train, you’ll no doubt want to stretch your legs and get the lay of the land. And we know the perfect way: by hiking Mt. Hodo. From Nagatoro Station, head beyond the car park, past some shops and through the giant concrete torii gate. This is the path to Hodosan.
First, enjoy some off-peak Kakigori
After a block or two, you’ll come across Asami Reizou, where you’ll find the best kakigori in town. This traditional shaved ice dessert is like the biggest, fanciest snow cone you ever saw. But a big difference here is the use of natural ice. Pure spring water from Mt. Hodo is collected and frozen, then the blocks are used to make natural ice kakigori.
This results in fluffier, more flavourful (yes, really!) ice, which is gently compacted into a towering dome. Toppings-wise, you can choose from a variety of natural fruit syrups or traditional combinations like matcha (green tea), sweet azuki bean, and black sugar topping.
(You can read the rest of the article at this link. This article was first published by Team JJ on July 20, 2021. Check here for deeper and unique insights into visiting Japan, including wellness, travel, cuisine and more. Find us on Instagram and on Facebook.)