Chichibu, Saitama

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This article is about the city in Saitama Prefecture. For the brother of Emperor Hirohito, see Prince Chichibu.
Chichibu
秩父市
City
Chichibu Night Traditional Festival
Chichibu Night Traditional Festival
Flag of Chichibu
Flag
Location of Chichibu in Saitama Prefecture
Location of Chichibu in Saitama Prefecture
Chichibu is located in Japan
Chichibu
Chichibu
Location in Japan
Coordinates: 36°0′N 139°5′E / 36.000°N 139.083°E / 36.000; 139.083Coordinates: 36°0′N 139°5′E / 36.000°N 139.083°E / 36.000; 139.083
Country Japan
Region Kantō
Prefecture Saitama Prefecture
Government
 • Mayor Kuniyasu Kuki (since April 2009)
Area
 • Total 577.69 km2 (223.05 sq mi)
Population (April 1, 2011)
 • Total 68,701
 • Density 120/km2 (310/sq mi)
Time zone Japan Standard Time (UTC+9)
Symbols
- Tree Kaede
- Flower Shiba-zakura
- Bird Blue-and-White Flycatcher
Address 8-15 Kumaki, Chichibu, Saitama
368-8686
Phone number 0494-22-2211
Website www.city.chichibu.saitama.jp

Chichibu (秩父市 Chichibu-shi?) is a city located in Saitama Prefecture, Japan.

As of April 1, 2011, the city has an estimated population of 68,701, with 26,230 households and a population density of 120 persons per km². The total area is 577.69 km².

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.

Geography[edit]

Oku-Chichibu ("interior Chichibu") Mountains

The city 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.[1]

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[edit]

Chichibu has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa) with hot summers and cold winters. Precipitation is significant throughout the year, but is heaviest from June to October.

Climate data for Chichibu, Saitama
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 8.6
(47.5)
8.9
(48)
12.2
(54)
18.2
(64.8)
22.8
(73)
25.0
(77)
28.5
(83.3)
30.5
(86.9)
25.2
(77.4)
20.0
(68)
15.6
(60.1)
11.2
(52.2)
18.89
(66.02)
Daily mean °C (°F) 0.8
(33.4)
1.8
(35.2)
5.3
(41.5)
11.6
(52.9)
16.5
(61.7)
20.0
(68)
23.6
(74.5)
25.0
(77)
20.5
(68.9)
14.1
(57.4)
8.3
(46.9)
3.0
(37.4)
12.54
(54.57)
Average low °C (°F) −5.5
(22.1)
−4.3
(24.3)
−1.0
(30.2)
5.5
(41.9)
10.4
(50.7)
15.6
(60.1)
19.7
(67.5)
20.8
(69.4)
16.8
(62.2)
9.4
(48.9)
2.6
(36.7)
−3.1
(26.4)
7.24
(45.03)
Precipitation mm (inches) 28.2
(1.11)
39.8
(1.567)
59.9
(2.358)
79.3
(3.122)
98.4
(3.874)
153.4
(6.039)
152.6
(6.008)
210.4
(8.283)
205.2
(8.079)
129.9
(5.114)
56.9
(2.24)
24.3
(0.957)
1,238.3
(48.751)
Snowfall cm (inches) 11
(4.3)
17
(6.7)
11
(4.3)
2
(0.8)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
3
(1.2)
44
(17.3)
 % 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) [2]

History[edit]

The city was developed as a marketplace of the district as well as the town around Chichibu Shrine. The city's older name, Ōmiya ("big shrine"), was derived from the shrine. It is a coincidence that Ōmiya Ward of the prefectural capital Saitama, which houses Hikawa Shrine, has the same name.

Timeline[edit]

  • 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 Gemmei's reign.[3] 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.
  • 1914: The Chichibu Railway opened.
  • 1916: Ōmiya Town was renamed as Chichibu Town.
  • 1950: Chichibu Town became Chichibu City.
  • 1954: Chichibu City absorbed the villages of Odamaki, Haraya and Kuna.
  • 1957: Chichibu City absorbed the villages of Takashino and Ōta.
  • 1958: Chichibu City absorbed the town of Kagemori.
  • 1969: The Seibu Chichibu Line opened.
  • 2005: Chichibu City absorbed the town of Yoshida, and the villages of Arakawa and Ōtaki (all from Chichibu District).

Sightseeing[edit]

Ryusei festival in Yoshida town
Icicles of the Misotsuchi

On December 3, Chichibu holds an annual night festival. 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:

Depiction[edit]

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.[4][5]

Connection with The Mikado[edit]

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.[6][7] In August 2006, it travelled with this production to the International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival in Buxton, England.[8]

Transportation[edit]

Rail[edit]

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 had the Mitsumine Ropeway, which carried passengers visiting Mitsumine Shrine. The ropeway has been out of service since May 19, 2006, and was officially abandoned on December 1, 2007.[9]

Road[edit]

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.[10]

Notable people from Chichibu[edit]

Sister cities[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.env.go.jp/park/chichibu/intro/index.html
  2. ^ "Chichibu Climate Normals 1961-1990". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved December 31, 2012. 
  3. ^ Titsingh, Issac. (1834). Nipon o daï itsi ran, p. 63.
  4. ^ Mihashi Sumiyo (三橋純予), "Shimizu Bukō", Nihon shashinka jiten (日本写真家事典) / 328 Outstanding Japanese Photographers (Kyoto: Tankōsha, 2000; ISBN 4-473-01750-8), p.175. (Japanese) (Despite the English-language alternative title, all in Japanese.)
  5. ^ a b 埼玉ゆかりの偉人/検索結果(詳細)/清水 武甲 (in Japanese). Saitama, Japan: Saitama Prefecture. 19 March 2010. Retrieved 2 August 2012. 
  6. ^ Sumiko Enbutsu: The Mikado in the Town of Chichibu
  7. ^ Brooke, James. "Japanese Hail The Mikado, Long-Banned Imperial Spoof", The New York Times, 3 April 2003, accessed 15 July 2014
  8. ^ [1]; and [2]
  9. ^ http://www.saitama-np.co.jp/news10/06/01x.html
  10. ^ 雁坂トンネル
  11. ^ "JWP女子プロレス 中島安里紗" [JWP Female Professional Wrestling: Arisa Nakajima]. JWP Official Information (in Japanese). Japan: JWP Female Professional Wrestling. 2005. Retrieved 2 August 2012. 
  12. ^ "Akira Taue profile". Pro Wrestling NOAH Official Site (in Japanese). Japan: NOAH. Retrieved 2 August 2012. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]