Sawara, “Small Edo” in Chiba Prefecture where is also a region of river with romantic atmosphere.
Sawara（さわら） is located in Chiba Prefecture about 70 kilometers from the heart of Tokyo, 50 kilometers from central Chiba City, and 15 kilometers from Narita International Airport. The port town was built along with Ōno River which is stems from the largest river in Japan Tonegawa River （とねがわ）. The streets near Ōno River and Katori remain much as they were in the Edo period where contains large group of historic buildings.
In December 1996, Sawara was selected as a goverment-designated important traditional building group preservation district where is the first in Kanto area. Most importantly, not only the buildings were well-preserved, Sawara is characteried by the streetscape that still many family businesses passed down from ancient times since Edo period. Therefore also called here “small Edo”. The beautiful green surrounding and curved Ōno River with vintage and historic buildings and shops, created a beautiful region of rivers. People also called here as “Japanese Venice”, just as gorgeous as Suzhou Prefecture of People's republic of China.
Following the steps of ancients, join boat tours at Sawara.
One of the must-do list at Sawara is to join boat tours in Ōno River. Enjoy the scenery of the narrow canal and the traditional town on the boat, you will feel relaxed and forget all stress. The sightseeing boats will pass through stone bridges which people built it purposely for agriculture use, and you might see water flowing down from the bridge every 30 minutes. All these facilities were developed since long time ago, so visitors are easy to see people's live style from ancients.
Stone bridge for water supply
Walking along the street besides Ōno River is like taking a trip back in time.
There are various shops and historical buildings from Edo period beside Ōno River. Kurazou, wooden architecture, old soysauce shop, and many other traditional Japanese shops, these historical streets will bring you back as you are walking a street back in time. Following, we are going to introduce you some representitive buildings which were selected as a goverment-designated important traditional building group preservation district.
Shoubun-Dou built in 1880, and is a book store from Edo Period. The main prop is zelkova, 2 layers of windows with door of clay paint, and threefold doors gives fire prevention, the construction was called Dozou （どぞう）. The massive building was built as an old style warehouse with fire prevention and burglarproof function. The signboard attracts attention of dragon's sculpture.
Nakamura-ya is a traditional dry food shop which established in 1892. The building was used latest fire prevention technology at that time. The depth of the wall is 45 centimeters. The business is continually run currently, and you are invited to have a free coffee at the 2nd floor with antique environment if spend more than 200 yen at the shop.
Old branch of Mitsubishi Bank which was establishedin 1914. It is a European-style building of two stories in Chiba Prefecutre, and the brick imported from Britain with corridor in the second floor surroundings. It is 20 years late compare with Mitsubishi first branch where located in Marunouchi Building.
Historic house of Inoh Tadataka
The main building was designed and built in 1793. Currently is a museum opens to public, with free of admission. According to some rumor that Inoh Tadataka started to live here sine age of 50.
Inoh Tadataka (1745 – 1818) is a great man in Japan, he spent about 17 years to surveyed map of Japan since 1800 to 1816. An accurate Japanese map was completed by him, walked distance approximately 35,000 kilometers. If you have chance to come Sawara, please don't miss the chance to visit Historic house of Inoh Tadataka.
Katori Shrine which built 2600 ago
The shrine built 2,600 years ago, and is the one of the ancient important shrine. Katori Shrine is the oldest shrine in Sawara and is one of the prestigious shrines in Japan in the same way as Kashima Shrine in Ibaraki Prefecture. There are about 400 branch shrines across the country, and here is the head of shrine. There is a 1,000-year-old large fir in Katori Shrine, and also is a place famous for cherry blossoms at Spring season.
Sawara, “Small Edo” in Chiba Prefecture where is also a region of river with romantic atmosphere. It takes less than 2 hours from Tokyo, so you should also come here have a look if you have chance to come to Tokyo.
Address: Sawara, Katori-shi, Chiba Prefecture. Access: Take Narita Line from JR Chiba Station to Kashima Shrine direction, and get off at Sawara Station, 1 minute walk.