Chichibu (秩父市 Chichibu-shi) is a city located in Saitama Prefecture, Japan. As of 1 December 2015[update], the city had an estimated population of 63,358, and a population density of 110 persons per km2. Its total area is 577.83 km2.
View of central Chichibu, from Hitsujiyama Park
Location of Chichibu in Saitama Prefecture
|• Mayor||Kuniyasu Kuki (since April 2009)|
|• Total||577.83 km2 (223.10 sq mi)|
|• Density||110/km2 (300/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+9 (Japan Standard Time)|
|Address||8-15 Kumaki, Chichibu, Saitama 368-8686|
Chichibu was incorporated as a city on April 1, 1950, although the region had already existed for hundreds of years and had developed many local traditions. Since that time, the area of the city has grown through a series of mergers, the most recent in 2005.
Chichibu is in the westernmost part of Saitama. Unlike other parts of the prefecture, it is largely mountainous and the population is concentrated in river terraces along the Arakawa River. It is Saitama's largest municipality in terms of surface area and shares borders with Tokyo, Yamanashi, Nagano and Gunma Prefectures. A large portion of the city belongs to Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park.
Because the region is not suitable for growing rice, many people have depended on sericulture farming. Limestone from Mount Bukō, which rises south of the city center, is another major source of income for the region. The city is shifting its focus toward sightseeing, taking advantages of its rich natural environment and relative closeness to the Tokyo metropolitan area. The city is also famous for its brewing industry.
|Climate data for Chichibu, Saitama|
|Average high °C (°F)||8.6
|Daily mean °C (°F)||0.8
|Average low °C (°F)||−5.5
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||28.2
|Average snowfall cm (inches)||11
|Average relative humidity (%)||63||64||64||68||71||79||81||79||82||80||76||69||73|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||196.6||171.9||188.8||166.4||187.7||111.6||122.6||152.9||95.6||128.5||155.1||187.1||1,864.8|
|Source: NOAA (1961-1990)|
- 708: Deposits of the metal copper are discovered in the region and offered to the Imperial Court. The era name Wadō (和銅, meaning "Japanese copper") is proclaimed in recognition of this welcome event in the initial months of Empress Genmei's reign. The copper is used to mint Wadō Kaihō or Wadō Kaichin, which are amongst the oldest examples of coinage in Japan.-- see image of Wado Kaichin from Japan Mint Museum
- 1884: The Chichibu incident: uprising of impoverished peasants under the influence of the Freedom and People's Rights Movement. Seven are sentenced to death and over 4,000 people punished.
- 1889: Ōmiya Town was founded within Chichibu District, Saitama with the establishment of the municipalities system
- 1914: The Chichibu Railway opened.
- 1916: Ōmiya Town was renamed as Chichibu Town.
- 1950: Chichibu was elevated to city status.
- 1954: Chichibu absorbed the villages of Odamaki, Haraya and Kuna.
- 1957: Chichibu absorbed the villages of Takashino and Ōta.
- 1958: Chichibu absorbed the town of Kagemori.
- 1969: The Seibu Chichibu Line opened.
- 2005: Chichibu absorbed the town of Yoshida, and the villages of Arakawa and Ōtaki (all from Chichibu District).
The local economy of Chichibu remains based on agricultural and forestry, as well as tourism.
Chichibu has 16 elementary schools, nine middle schools and two high schools as well as two special education schools.
Two lines serve the city: the Chichibu Main Line and Seibu Chichibu Line. The Chichibu Railway was constructed along the Arakawa River and first opened in 1914. Seibu Railway reached the city in 1969 and considerably reduced the travel time to Tokyo. It takes approximately one and a half hours to travel from Seibu-Chichibu Station to Ikebukuro Station, one of the major train terminals in Tokyo. These lines carry people as well as limestone from Mount Bukō. The two lines were directly connected on April 1, 1989. Chichibu Railway also operated the Mitsumine Ropeway, which carried passengers visiting Mitsumine Shrine. The ropeway was taken out of service since May 19, 2006, and was officially abandoned on December 1, 2007.
- Seibu Railway – Seibu Chichibu Line
- Chichibu Railway – Chichibu Main Line
Two national roads, Route 140 and 299, serve the city. Route 140 connects the city to its nearest expressway interchange, Hanazono Interchange of the Kan-Etsu Expressway. The city had no road communication to Yamanashi Prefecture due to steep Okuchichibu Mountains, but the opening of the Karisaka Tunnel in 1998 enabled the city to connect to Yamanashi.
Twin towns and sister citiesEdit
- Toshima, Tokyo, since October 14, 1983
- Sanyō-Onoda, Yamaguchi, since May 20, 1996
- Antioch, California, United States, since September 16, 1967
- Gangneung, South Korea, since February 16, 1983
- Linfen, Shanxi Province, China, since October 7, 1988
- Warringah, Australia, since April 26, 1996
- Yasothon, Thailand, since May 6, 1999
On December 3, Chichibu holds an annual night festival(Intangible cultural heritage). It attracts crowds from Chichibu, Saitama prefecture, neighboring Tokyo, and the Kantō region. Kawase matsuri is Chichibu shrine's summer festival. It takes place every July 19 and July 20. Eight groups carrying special dashi floats march along to festival music around the city. Mikoshi (sacred portable shrines) are brought to special places in each neighborhood where they are enshrined. Neighborhood association heads wash the mikoshi in the Arakawa River.
Other attractions of the city include:
In popular mediaEdit
As a picturesque area within fairly easy reach of Tokyo, Chichibu has been much photographed. However, the photography of Chichibu by the Chichibu native Bukō Shimizu (1913–1995) is particularly extensive: Shimizu presented photographs of the mountains, people and customs of Chichibu in numerous books for the Japanese market, starting in 1954.
Possible connection with The MikadoEdit
The city considers itself as the inspiration for Gilbert and Sullivan's 1885 comic opera, The Mikado; the name of the opera's setting, "Titipu", is pronounced "Chichipu" in Japanese. Rokusuke Ei, a popular essayist, was convinced that Chichibu, the site of a peasant uprising in 1884, inspired the author, W. S. Gilbert, to set the opera in Japan. Other Japanese researchers have concluded that Gilbert may simply have heard of Chichibu silk, an important export in the 19th century. A theatre company from Chichibu has presented The Mikado in Japanese in Chichibu and throughout Japan. In August 2006, it travelled with this production to the International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival in Buxton, England.
Notable people from ChichibuEdit
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