torii on a river bank for an unusually located shrine in Ogawamachi Saitama

This scenic riverside area of Ogawa town is very much off the tourist trail, even though it has been visited by the (former) Emperor and Empress of Japan. Furthermore, it has an unique shrine, that you have to cross the river to get to. It is the Tsuki river, which in recent years isn’t as clean as it used to be, particularly in the Ranzan area. But this section in Ogawa Town is further up the river, that is nearer the source, and is much cleaner. Thus, it is ideal for river play. It is also popular for fishing.

Scenic Riverside Location

We’re talking about “Outdoors in Saitama” on the Facebook page this month. It reminded me to share this stunning area of Ogawamachi (Ogawa Town) that the Imperial family visited in 2014. This agricultural district was also awarded the Emperor’s prize for its organic farming for which Ogawamachi is famous. The award was particularly for their organic festival, which used to be held in this area of the town. The area is Shimosato, which has already featured on this blog. One, for its organic cafe and two, for the former Shimosato School, which is known for its cherry blossoms and for featuring in the Non Non Biyori anime.

Cross the river to get to the shrine

Its not everyday that you have to wade through a river to get to a shrine. I love finding unusual shrines like this. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find the name of the shrine! As you can see in the video above, and in the featured image, the torii (shrine ‘gate’) is on the riverbank. There are stepping stones that lead from the riverbank, but they are under water as you can see in the picture below. Very ghibli-esque! However, the river is only about knee height at this part of the river.

In addition, the path to the shrine once you cross over the river is wild and there are signs up to look out for and be careful of mamushi (poisonous snakes). Furthermore, you have to go up some very steep moss covered steps. (The ones pictured aren’t that mossy, but the ones to get to this point where!) So I would advise that you bring your shoes with you across the river so that you don’t stand on anything barefoot and can climb the staircase safely!

Clear water

Information

The closest landmark on maps, is the stone commemorating the visit of the Emperor and Empress, in Japanese; 天皇皇后両陛下 行幸啓之地 石碑. The shrine is not marked on maps.

Address: Shimozato, Ogawa, Hiki District, Saitama 355-0323. View on Google Maps.

Phone: to Ogawa town hall 0493-72-1221

Hours: 24 hours

Cost: free

There is incredibly no official website for this area and I can’t find a dedicated page on Ogawa Town website. There are a few pages on the town website with the general area mentioned, such as this one.

Access

About an hours walk from Ogawamachi station on the Tobu Tojo Line! By car, the nearest highway exit is Ranzan-Ogawa Interchange. Its about a 15 minute drive.

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