This town is known throughout Japan as the best spot in the nation for Azaleas. Other places of interest are Yatainomachi Chuo-Koen (Central Park), where many wooden crafts are on display, and Kikusuien Japanese garden.
The city of Kanuma (鹿沼市, Kanuma-shi), also largely surrounded by mountains, extends east and west in central Tochigi Prefecture. Highways built in various eras crisscross the city, carrying all kinds of merchandise and cultural products. The city’s history has evolved along these transportation arteries, which expanded over the centuries together with the development of the region.
The road that runs north and south through the city leads to neighboring Nikko, an UNESCO World Heritage List. In early summer, Kanuma’s landscape is awash with a riotous profusion of flowers. Senjusan Park, a beloved place of recreation and relaxation, is known for its gorgeous azalea blossoms.
All the carved floats in the city parade through the streets of Kanuma during its autumn festival, held against the backdrop of the blazing colors of autumnal leaves, enchanting spectators with their grandeur.
Kanuma is known for its fine and delicate woodwork, and the skilled craftsmen who have carved this reputation with their own hands. In the Ki no Furusato (traditional wooden handicrafts) Museum, a broad array of products embodying this superb craftsmanship are on display, including shoji (sliding paper doors decorated with fretwork) paulownia-wood chest drawers, and hand-made brooms.
Of the three greatest gardens of Kanuma, only the Kikusuien remains. It is decorated with stone lanterns and rocks of unusual shape or color, collected from around the country. Each season offers a uniquely beautiful view of the garden. The Kantokyo, in the middle, is a house built in the style of a tea-ceremony hut. Its authentic tea-ceremony room is still used for group lessons.
Kanuma Municipal Art Museum of Kawakami Sumio (Kawakami Sumio Print Museum)
Sumio Kawakami was a teacher for English and a self-taught sosaku hanga artist. Kawakami prints are to be found in important museum collections. And a complete museum is devoted exclusively to his woodblocks. Kawakami Sumio, called a “wood print poet,” had painted on the theme of a longing for early European culture as well as the civilization and enlightenment in the Meiji era. About 2,000 artworks of Kawakami Sumio were donated by his student Hasegawa Katsusaburo (1912-2001) and have been exhibited in the museum like a European building in the Meiji era by the Kurokawa River running through the central Kanuma. Address: 287-14 Mutsumi-cho, Kanuma City (Kanuma-shi), Tochigi Prefecture 322-0031, Japan Tel: 0289-62-8272 Fax: 0289-62-8227
Furumine Jinja (shrine)
The Furumine Jinja (shrine) is dedicated to Prince Yamatotakeru, a legendary hero of ancient Japan whose story is told in the oldest Japanese chronicles, the Kojiki and Nihon Shoki. Legend has it that the priest Sho-nin, who founded many temples in the mountains of Nikko, practiced asceticism in the overwhelming silence of this shrine. There is a huge statue of Fudo Myo Oh as well as a very impressive Tori gate. A very nice image to show the divinely protected grounds of the shrine. One can also participate in various festivals and ceremonies throughout the year. On the temple grounds is also a beautiful Japanese garden as well as a traditional tea house. Address: 3027 Kusagyu, Kanuma, Tochigi Prefecture 322-0101, Japan Tel: 0289-74-2111 Fax: 0289-74-2539
The clear water from Oashigawa River flows through Oashi Canyon making it a wonderful natural scenic spot. There are nearly 20 different waterfalls, both large and small, and the view from the Otaki large waterfall is, especially during the autumnal changing of the leaves, breathtaking. Season: Late October to mid November Address: Kusagyu, Kanuma City (Kanuma-shi), Tochigi Prefecture 322-0101, Japan Tel: 0289-60-6070
Kanuma City Kaboku Center
Kanuma City KABOKU CENTER is in the south east of the city, and it is located near the Kanuma Interchange on the Tohoku Express way. There are foothill belt 400,000m2,It is an alias Moroyama. It is great distribution center of Satsuki, Flowers, Tree, Landscaping and Gardening materials including – Permanent exhibition and sale room, Collection shipment place (Auction place), Greenhouse, Garden trees’ field, Flower greenhouse, Plum grove garden, Pears’ garden, Exhibition place and outdoors plaza, Special BONSAI Exhibition place, Selling products of Kanuma booth (Gallery MOROYAMA), Soba (buckwheat noodle) restaurant and Wild birds’ forest. Address: 2086-1 Moro, Kanuma-shi, Tochigi Prefecture 322-0026 JAPAN Tel: 0289-76-2310 Fax: 0289-76-3107
Kanuma Cultural Activities Exchange Pavilion
The Cultural Activities Exchange Pavilion provides citizens with the places for the exchange of various cultural activities, such as the “Creative Studio” which supports the creative activities of citizens such as artwork and craft work, the “Local Collection Museum” of historical materials and cultural assets, and a gallery for the exhibition and appreciation of art and cultural works. The Local Collection Museum exhibits two carved floats. Address: 1956-2 Mutsumi-cho, Kanuma City (Kanuma-shi), Tochigi Prefecture 322-0031, Japan Tel: 0289-60-7890
Shiroyama Park’s walking course that leads to some stone monuments near the top of the mountain and 115m long “Shiroyama Sky Roller” are very popular with children. In addition there are 20,000 torch azaleas and rhododendrons planted inside the park, best view in April, making the park very busy during that time. You could enjoy a picnic with a breathtaking vista. There are benches, shelters and tables. For those with kids, besides the slide, there is a merry-go-round and bouncy animals to sit on. Address: 1631-2, Kuchi-awano, Kanuma City (Kanuma-shi), Tochigi Prefecture 322-0305, Japan
Contact – Kanuma City Tourism Exchange Division
This park was laid out in 1948 and there are about 300 cherry blossoms trees and about1000 azalea trees in 27372 square metre. Many movies and dramas have been shot in various places in Kanuma such as; Senjusan Park: Koizora (Movie), Koizora (TBS), Gotenyama Ballpark: Fure Fure Girl (Movie), Ginza Street: Kansen Retto (Movie), Kikusuien Garden: Movie Kuro-obi (Movie). “Koizora” was made into a movie and a TV miniseries, both of which were shot in the Senjusan Park in the central Kanuma. There is an impressive scene where a small Ferris wheel is decorated with illuminations and the snow piles up in the flower garden nearby. In this part, there are some rides such as a train, a ferries wheel, a roller coaster and a carousel pony. After the release of the movie, many young people come to this park to take commemorative photos. This park is also a recreation area for citizens in the season of cherry blossoms. Also there is a Wooden Buddha’s guardian’s statue which was built in Kamakura Era (AD1185-1333).
Wooden Senju Buddha’s guardian’s statue hasbeen placed in the temple. Senju means having thousand arms to save people from suffering. The materials of this statue is ark-tree and painted by lacquer, and the crystal-eyes are decollated. The face of this statue is like a realistic art. This statue was made in the end of Kamakura Era. The other parts of the statue, such as multi-face, backs, and arms holding pikes were added in Edo Era.
Kanuma Senjusan Amusement Park and Senjuin Temple Address: 2610 Senju-machi, Kanuma City (Kanuma-shi), Tochigi Prefecture 322-0061, Japan Tel: 0289-65-0778 Fax: 0289-65-0778
Goten-yama (Goten mountain) Park
Sports park facilities, including tennis courts, a baseball field. This Park is crowded to the cherry blossom season. Address: 1666-1 Imamiya-cho, Kanuma City (Kanuma-shi), Tochigi Prefecture 322-0068, Japan Tel: 0289-72-1300 Fax: 0289-72-1302 Hour: 08:00~21:00
Kanuma Yatai Float Center and Yatai no Machi Chuo Park
The Yatai (ornately carved wooden floats), cultural assets unique to Kanuma, were also made during this period. Many of the woodworkers who constructed the famous Toshogu shrine in Nikko were Kanuma citizens. Kanuma’s Great Fall Festival, called Aki-Matsuri or O-Matsuri in Japanese, occurs every year in mid-October. Presently, there are 29 carved (yatai) floats in Kanuma, which are stored or are on display in museums. These floats (representing districts of Kanuma) are pulled into the grounds of Imamiya Shrine on the morning of October 9th, where an opening ceremony is held. Adjacent to the mini-theater is the Viewing Hall. In this room are three Yatai floats on display and many hands-on interactive displays explaining the numerous processes that go into the making of a Yatai float. Full Details: Kanuma Yatai Float Center and Yatai No Machi (Town of Floats) Central Park, Chuo Park (Kikusuien Garden)
Kanuma fall festival is held here. It is belived that during Tokugawa era it was brought heavy rainfall in drought season to farmers. Full details: Kanuma’s Great Fall Festival Imamiya Shrine Address: 1692 Imamiya-cho, Kanuma City (Kanuma-shi), Tochigi Prefecture 322-0068, Japan Tel: 0289-62-2679
Ki no Furusato (hometown of wood) Traditional Arts Center (Museum of traditional wood arts and crafts)
In Kanuma City, you can see the culture and tradition of a bustling post town in the old days as well as the profile of a “wood town” in a lot of facilities. Commencing with the “Rakuichi” free markets around the city, many off-street events are held by citizens.
Ki no Furusato Traditional Arts Center is a creative center to promote the cultivation of wood culture. The center serves as the base for the distribution of information in “Ki no Machi Kanuma” (Kanuma the Wooden City), and displays the City Designated Tangible Cultural Asset – such as Kanuma kumiko shoin shoji (fretwork sliding doors screens), Kanuma hoki (brooms), “Ishibashicho carved floats”, “Kanuma Kumikoshoin Shoji paper” and other traditional Kanuma crafts. Printmaking and woodworking crafts classes are held here and also for sell. Ki no Furusato (hometown of wood) – Traditional Industrial Art Gallery Address: 1556-1 Asau-cho, Kanuma, Tochigi Prefecture 322-0058, Japan Tel: 0289-64-6131 Hour: 9:00~17:00
“Ki no Machi Kanuma” (Kanuma Wooden City) Address: 2611-1 Moro, Kanuma City (Kanuma-shi), Tochigi Prefecture 322-0026, Japan Tel: 0289-62-5171 Fax: 0289-62-5174
This is the second largest flowering satsuki azalea exhibit held in Japan. It is sponsored by the city of Kanuma in Tochiga Prefecture about an hour’s train ride north of Tokyo. The festival lasts ten days and begins the last week of May. The Kanuma Satsuki Festival is held at the Kaboku (Flowering Tree) Center. The display of outstanding flowering satsuki azaleas is held in an attractive exhibition hall over looking a spacious sales area. See the description of the Koju-ten to learn more about the sales area.
Kanuma City maintains both outdoor and indoor facilities for selling plants, horticultural supplies and an extensive array of bonsai pots. An adjacent building houses the sales area for approximately 40 satsuki growers. Kanuma, the capital of the satsuki production in Japan, is the place to be to see the amazing array of bonsai type, size and flowering bonsai satsuki azaleas. They are available for purchase at more reasonable prices in Kanuma than in Tokyo.
Baby-crying sumo originated as a festival at Ikiko Shrine in Kanuma, Tochigi Prefecture. Parents put their babies to the test in a “baby-crying sumo” tournament here, as spectators gathered to see which baby would cry the fastest. The event, featuring both Shinto priests and sumo referees, has become a regular occurrence. Babies and toddlers aged between 3 months and 2 years take part. Two men from the community served by the shrine dress up as sumo wrestlers. Each man holds up a baby in his arms and calls out “Yoisho, yoisho!” The baby who cries first is the winner. Address: Ikiko Jinja Shrine, 1604-1 Naka-machi, Kanuma City (Kanuma-shi), Tochigi Prefecture 322-0053, Japan Access: From Tobu Railway Momiyama Station: 12 mins on foot Tel: 0289-60-2507 Fax: 0289-60-1507
This park is located along the riverfront of the Kurokawa River. The lazy Kurokawa River runs north and south through Kanuma, bisecting the city. Viewed from the Fuchu bridge, the Tochigi mountains surrounding the city testify to the rich natural environment of the region. The river has beautiful clear water, abounds with seema and char (salmon and trout species) upstream, and flows through the town center. In May a Kanuma Hanabi-Taikai (Fireworks Display) is held in the park, which becomes a place for the city residents to relax with the blooming Satsuki azaleas. Some 12,000 fireworks will highlight the first day of the nation’s biggest Satsuki-flower festival, ‘KANUMA SATSUKI FESTIVAL’; ‘satsuki’ is a variety of azalea. Also, the park throngs with amateur fishermen in the ayu (sweetfish) season.
Kanuma Hanabi-Taikai (Fireworks Display)
Venue: In the vicinity of Asahi-bashi over the Kurokawa River(10-minute-walk from JR Kanuma). Parking space available. Address: Asahi-cho, Kanuma, Tochigi Prefecture 322-0035, Japan Kurokawa River Fisheries Cooperative Tel: 0289-62-5928, 0289-63-2188, 0289-75-2396 Kanuma Hanabi-Taikai (Fireworks Display) Executive Committee Tel. 0289-63-2179
Kanuma Soba Noodles and “Nirasoba” (buckwheat noodles containing Chinese leeks)
Soba (buckwheat) has been grown in Kanuma through the ages. Now, Kanuma is the biggest soba-producing district in Tochigi Prefecture. Especially in the north-western area, the topography and climate of mountains combined with limpid streams that flows from deep mountains are suited for growing soba.
“Nirasoba” (buckwheat noodles containing Chinese leeks) is a specialty of Kanuma which has been recently introduced on TV over and over again. Nirasoba has been commonly eaten for the reasons of coloration and an increase in volume since the old days and loved through the generations. Flesh indigenous Chinese leeks are best eaten both as an ingredient and as a seasoning. The crispy touch and pungent flavor of Chinese leeks are exquisitely mixed with those of soba noodles.
Local specialties Kanuma citizens feel proud of are certified as “Kanuma brand specialties” So far, 22 articles have been certified. “Kanuma brand specialties” includes various articles such as azalea, the city flower, wood products such as kumiko (fretwork), and agricultural products such as strawberries and Chinese leeks. The Machi no Eki New Kanuma Station handles Kanuma soba noodles and Kanuma brand specialties.
Kanuma City (Kanuma-shi) Tourist Essential Addresses and Links:
Machi no Eki (town station) – New Kanuma Station
At present, Kanuma City has 90 Machi no Eki town stations which are friendly to everyone. The New Kanuma Station was opened in April, 2011 as the Japan’s largest key station of Machi no Eki town stations. The New Kanuma Station, as a new exchange base, offers “something good in Kanuma,” such as a rest stop for wide area sightseeing, an information bureau, Kanuma brand specialties including Kanuma soba noodles, flesh agricultural products, sightseeing and exchange events in Kanuma, etc. with a sense of hospitality to provide the attractiveness of Kanuma. Address: 1604-1 Nakamachi, Kanuma City (Kanuma-shi), Tochigi Prefecture 322-0053, Japan Tel: 0289-60-2507
Shin-kanuma Station (Nikko line) of Tobu Railway Co., Ltd. Address: 1475 Toriido-cho, Kanuma City (Kanuma-shi), Tochigi Prefecture 322-0044, Japan Tel: 0289-64-2247
Awano Godo Transportation Co.,Ltd Address: 1653 Kuchiawano, Kanuma, Tochigi Prefecture 322-0305, Japan Tel: 0289-85-3151 Fax: 0289-85-3152
Awano Kanuma Chamber of Commerce Address: 1655-1 Kuchiawano, Kanuma City (Kanuma-shi), Tochigi Prefecture 322-0305, Japan Tel: 0289-85-2281 Fax: 0289-85-3355
The Kanuma Chamber of Commerce and Industry Address: 287-16 Mutsumi-cho, Kanuma, Tochigi Prefecture 322-0031, Japan Tel: 0289-65-1111 Fax: 0289-65-1114
Agricom Kanuma (Kanuma agricultural production corporation) Address: 1329-19 Shioyama-machi, Kanuma, Tochigi Prefecture 322-0527, Japan Tel: 0289-64-9417 Fax: 0289-64-9413
Kanuma City (Kanuma-shi) Tourism Association in Central Park
Address: 1F-1870-1 Ginza, Kanuma City (Kanuma-shi), Tochigi Prefecture 322-0052, Japan Tel: 0289-60-6070 Fax: 0289-62-5666 Shinkanuma Station (Kanuma Station) Tourist Office Address: 1604-1 Nakamachi, Kanuma City (Kanuma-shi), Tochigi Prefecture 322-0053, Japan Tel: 0289-60-2507 Fax: 0289-60-1507 Kanuma City Tourism Exchange Division/Kanuma City Govt. Office (Kanuma City Hall) Address: 1688-1 Imamiya-cho, Kanuma City (Kanuma-shi), Tochigi Prefecture 322-0068, Japan Tel: 0289-63-2188, 0289-63-2179, 0289-64-2111 (General) Fax: 0289-63-2189
Kanuma Tourism Association Website: http://www.kanuma-kanko.jp/
Kanuma City Govt. Website: http://www.city.kanuma.tochigi.jp/
Wouldn’t you go for a walk under the bracing autumn sky In Kanuma, a town of traditional arts crafts and traditional culture, and feel the breeze of history all around you. Kanuma autumn sky Halloween hiking course and events by East Japan Railway Company (JR East): http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/hiking/kanuma/index.html
Tour of Kanuma City by Kanuma City Govt.: http://www.city.kanuma.tochigi.jp/resources/content/13897/20110713-11545…
Kanuma City Tourism info by Sumitomo Group Public Affairs Committee – Kanuma Towns history fostered by mountains and plains: http://www.sumitomo.gr.jp/english/discoveries/town/kanuma01.html