Chichibu is located in the western portion of Saitama Prefecture. It consists of Chichibu City and other towns such as Yokoze, Minano, Nagatoro and Ogano. The area, which is adjacent to Gunma Prefecture, Nagano Prefecture, Yamanashi Prefecture and Tokyo, is blessed with an abundance of nature and a deep history.
Water Resources with Excellent Quality: Chichibu Headwater Area
Chichibu area is ideal for the harvesting of delicious fruits, because it has superb water resources and significant day-to-night temperature differentials. There are farms and orchards for strawberries, grapes, blueberries, cherries and other crops, and the farms that open to tourists welcome numerous visitors on holidays.
The area is also well known for soba noodles. The Arakawa district (formerly Arakawa Village), where the cultivation of for soba is especially thriving, counts over 60 farms and about 30 soba restaurants. They offer freshly grained, kneaded and cooked soba noodles. There are also facilities where you can experience the craft of soba-noodle making.
Additionally, shaved ice made by Asami Reizo, a natural ice refrigeration store in Minano-machi, Chichibu County, is introduced by a variety of mass media every season. It has become so popular that there is always a waiting line at the store.
Whisky and Wine, Grown in a Productive Environment
The tasty water and ice provided by a productive natural environment would naturally lead one to think of whisky. Also, delicious fruit (particularly grapes) could lead one to think of wine. In fact, whisky and wine are currently hot topics. Ichiro’s Malt, distilled by Venture Whisky Ltd. (Midorigaoka, Chichibu City), offers lines such as the Card Series and Leaf Series other than the flagship single-malt known as Ichiro’s Malt Chichibu. This whisky has received high praise throughout the world, starting with the highest evaluation in the Japanese whisky section by the British, “Whisky” magazine. It boasts huge popularity despite its relative scarcity.
Also, Chichibu Rouge, produced by Fukada Shoten (Hinoda-machi, Chichibu City), is a brand of red wine (white wine is Chichibu blanc) that was developed in collaboration with local grape farms and brewers. The wine was awarded a silver medal at the Japan Wine Competition in 2011 and the “Best in Division” award in the European/domestic improved variety blended red wine category in 2010. There is now a plan to construct a winery in the Yoshida district to vitalize the production of good-quality wines as “Chichibu-proud fine wines.”