Tochigi City (Tochigi-shi/ 栃木市), with a population of 144,541 (December 1, 2011), is located about 80km north of Tokyo. The area is 284.83 km2 (109.97 sq mi) and is unique in character.
Nowadays, many of the homes have been converted into museums and the Uzumagawa River contains more than 100,000 carp. Weeping willows and white-walled homes still line the riverbank.
In fall the city celebrates the Tochigi Autumn Festival. One hundred-year-old decoration are pulled out of storage and displayed during the festival. Catching a glimpse of the festivities is something special, especially considering that it is only held every five years. If you’re looking for a quiet place to rest, simply climb the 1,000 steps lined with hydrangeas to Ohirasan Shrine. The gardens also contain many beautiful cherry trees.
In ancient times, Tochigi city was the governing seat of the Shimotsuke Province. In the pre-modern period, shipping on the Uzuma River and land traffic along the Nikko Reiheishi Highway allowed our city to thrive as a major economic and cultural center.
Built along the banks of Uzuma river (Uzumagawa), the city of Tochigi prospered in former times as loading and unloading points for the busy river trade, with boats carrying staples regularly making the three-day journey down to Edo, old Tokyo. Waterways were an essential means of transportation at that time. In addition, the materials used for constructing “the Toshogu Shrine” at Nikko were landed here. This made the city a major riverside port and brought prosperity as a commercial center.
Today, the Uzuma river is filled with many colorful carp and provides a vibrant walkway. We strive to promote our heritage and uniqueness. Many visitors now know our town as Kura-no-machi, or “Little Edo”.
City Emblem: The emblem is comprised of two crosses, a vertical cross, and a diagonal cross. The vertical cross represents the Chinese character for ten or “toh”. The diagonal cross is a symbol found on the roof of Shinmei Shrine and is called “chigi”. There are ten “chigi” on the shrine, thus resulting in the name of our city, “Tochigi”.
City Tree: Japanese horse chestnut tree (Tochi-no-ki in Japanese)
City Flower: Azaleas (Satsuki in Japanese)
Transportation to the Tochigi City
From Narita by train
1) Take the Skyliner train to Ueno station (57 mins)- change lines to Ginza line (subway) to Asakusa, the end of the line (6mins) – take Tobu Nikko line to Tochigi station (74 mins).
2) Take Narita Express train to Tokyo station (59 mins)- take JR Yamanote line to Ueno station ( 5mins)- take Tohoku Shinkansen(bullet train) to Oyama (45mins) – take JR Ryomo line to Tochigi (11mins).
From Narita by bus
There are buses going to Sano City (south of Tochigi) , or Utsunomiya (capital of the prefecture) from Narita airport. (About 3 hours)
Tochigi City River and Streets:
More than ten thousand carp can be seen in the Uzuma River, which runs through the city. In the old days, this river had a very important transportation role on the way to Nikko from Edo, Tokyo. Today, the colorful carp warm the hearts and bring happiness to citizens and visitors alike.
The old moat was constructed around the “Kencho” or former Prefectural Office, located here in Tochigi City for a part of the Meiji era from 1871 to 1884. Today, the building is used as the City Hall Annex. It goes by the name of “Irifune-cho”, which literally means “Port Town”, evidence of the former role of this district as a thriving river port.
During the Edo era, the imperial Court in Kyoto used to send an envoy to the Reitaisai ceremony at Toshogu Shrine in Nikko, where Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu is enshrined. Reiheishi Highway is where the imperial envoy used to pass on the way to Nikko. You can still see traces of the old post town in this area, in the form of a row of old Kura houses remaining along the highway.
Tochigi City Memorials and Museums:
Tsukada Memorial Hall
The wealthy wholesale merchant, Tsukada, used to operate a bank and transport lumber along the Uzuma River. His white warehouse, surrounded by a 120 m black wall,is home to heirlooms from the Tokugawa period.
Yokoyama Kyoudokan (Yokoyama Local Culture Hall)
In the early 1900s, the Yokoyama family established a wholesale stores selling hemp, a special product of this area. Today, the wholesale store office and the historic bank have both been carefully restored. You can enjoy the beautiful Japanese garden inside.
Adachi Koukokan (Adachi Antiquarian Museum)
Home to Edo era cultural displays, including several first-class “Ukiyoe” which picture everyday life in the Edo period and “Nishiki”, colorful Woodblock prints.
Okada Kinenkan (Okada Memorial Hall)
The Okadas are a longtime Tochigi family whose history extends over 500 years. In the Edo period, Samurai Hatakeyama lodged at the Okada’s house every 3 years on his way to Nikko. Now, the museum displays historical works of art as well as handcrafted goods.
Down Town Walking Tour
It’s a 4 km walk from Tochigi station to Shin Tochigi station. Enjoy walks along the riverside and historical streets. It takes about 3 hours. You will walk through the followings:
- Reiheishi Highway
- Okada Memorial Hall
- Kencho Bori (Moat)
- Yokoyama Local Culture Hall
- Dashi Kaikan (Festival Floats Exhibition Hall)
- Tsukada Memorial Hall
- Riverside Walk
- Adachi Antiquarian Museum
- Kinryuji Temple
- Yuzo Yamamoto Memorial
- Shinmeigu Shrine
- Manpukuji Temple
- Jyoganji Temple
- Tochigi City Hall
- Kuranomachi Kanko Kan (Information Center)
Mt. Ohira (Ohira-yama) – Panoramic Views of the Kanto Plain
Mt. Ohira is located to the west of Tochigi City. 346m in height, it has been designated a prefectural park. A place for all seasons with an abundance of trees and flowers including cherry blossoms, azalea, hydrangeas and maples. The view from the peak is spectacular, and often called “Inland Matsushima”.
The Shrine was founded by Saint Jikaku during the Heian era. The main sanctuary in the center, in which the Goddess Amaterasu-Omikami and other Gods descended from her are enshrined, was established in 1218.
Rokkaku do (pagoda)
Rokkaku do mean a pagoda with the hexagonal building. Kokuzo-Bosatsu, the bodhisattva of wisdom, is enshrined here. This temple is a fusion of the Buddhist and Shinto faiths. Up until the Meiji era, it had the function of a temple and a shrine.
In April, a four-kilometer tourist avenue leading to the mountain’s summit becomes a luxurious tunnel of cherry blossoms.
Hydrangeas along both sides of the slope from Rokkakudo to the Ohira-san Shrine Gate start blooming from mid-june to early July. Ajisai or Hydrangea Matsuri is one of our flower festivals and attracts many tourists.
In May, Mt. Kinchaku is covered with beautiful azaleas.
Izuru and Hoshino (Izuru-machi and Hoshino-machi) Area in Tochigi City (Tochigi-shi)
Izuru-san Manganji Temple
This temple was established in 767 AD by Shodo Shonin. There is a statue created by Kouhou Daishi in 820AD. It is called “Kannon Bosatsu”, which has 11 faces and 1,000 hands.
Located at the top of the path that follows the mountain torrents,monks-in-training and temple visitors come to pray under the falls in midwinter.
Investigations in 1965 proved that the rock layers date back to the Paleolithic era. At the same time, remains from the Jomon period have been found .
E-Trench Preservation and Observation Facilities
The estimated depth is 10 meters. Scientifically, this is an important chronological discovery of the Paleolithic era in the Kanto area. You can observe the many different layers of loam that have accumulated in this area.
The Site of Ancient Shimotsuke Provincial Government
Situated in the center of the old regional government site this building was used by government officials for special ceremonies.
Shimotsuke Government Museum
The Shimotsuke Government Museum exhibits some of the tools and earthenware discovered during the excavation of the “Zenden” site. Also, it is possible to watch a video featuring the restoration of the”Zenden” building.
Tochigi City Dashi Kaikan (Floats Festival, Exhibition Hall)
Displays the floats (dashi) used in Tochigi’s fall festival, which the city holds every 5 years. You can admire the works of past festival artisans, dating from the Edo and Meiji period.
Tochigi City Annual Events and Flowering Season:
January New Year’s Shrine/Temple Visit Ohirasan Shrine
Izurusan Manganji Temple
February Setsubun-Beginning of Spring Jyouganji Temple April Flower Festival Ohirasan Park/Hoshino May Azaleas Kinchakusan Hill/Mt.Ohira June Hydrangea Hydrangea Slope at Mr. Ohira Ajisai-hydrangea- Festival Front gate at the Festival Float Exhibition Hall July Portable Shrine Parade Main Street August 108 candle-boats Uzuma River October Tochigi Classical Musical Festival Cultural Hall November Tochigi Fall Festival-every 5 years- Main Street
Tochigi City (Tochigi-shi) Tourist Essential Addresses and Links:
Tochigi City Kuranomachi Kankokan (Tourist Information Center):
The building built in 1904 was used as a hemp wholesalers’ shop (The Tamura family). It consists of the main building, an annex, and storehouses. The storehouses were used as apartment houses after the war. Today, the building facing Kuranomachi Street is used as a souvenir shop. In the former storehouses, there are restaurants and souvenir shops.
This is a visitors’ starting point of the tour of Tochigi Town (Kuranomachi). There is a trail of Reiheishi Road on the avenue and Kaemoncho Street. There are back-walled warehouses on either side of the streets.
The street takes you back to the old days. Tochigi City Tourist Association/ Tsukada Memorial Hall and Warehouse Center 14-1 Yamato-cho, Tochigi City (Tochigi-shi), Tochigi Prefecture 328-0037, Japan Tel: 0282-25-2356 (Tourist Association), 0282-24-2640 (Warehouse Center) Fax: 0282-20-7373 Open: 9:00-7:00, Closed on Holiday, MondaysWebsite: http://www.kuranomachi.jp/
Bunka Kaikan (Municipal Cultural Hall):
The two halls in this facility host many cultural events throughout the year.
Sougou Undo Kouen (Integrated Sports Park):
A very popular park among its citizens. The facilities provide the opportunity to enjoy many sports activities; such as – Gymnasium, Baseball Stadium, Baseball Fields, All-Purpose Grounds, Tennis Courts, Track and Field Stadium, and Swimming Pool, Japanese Archery Range, Central Plaza, Grass Field, etc.
Ohira Moutain (Ohira-yama)
Hiraicho, Tochigi City (Tochigi-shi), Tochigi Prefecture 328-0054, Japan Tel: 0282-25-2356 (Tochigi City Tourist Association), 0282-21-2543 (Tochigi City Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Division)
Ohira Shinto shrine
659 Hiraicho, Tochigi City (Tochigi-shi), Tochigi Prefecture 328-0054, Japan Tel: 0282-22-0227 Fax: 0282-22-8877
Ohira Mountain (Ohira-machi) Tourism Organization [Tochigi City Hall, Ohira Mountain Branch)
558-11 Ohira-machi Tomida, Tochigi City (Tochigi-shi), Tochigi Prefecture 329-4404, Japan i (nearby Tobu Shin Ohira station) Tel: 0282-43-9213, 282-43-9212, 0282-45-1141 [Ohira Mountain (Ohira-machi) Tourism and Tourist Guide] Tel: 0282-43-8288 (Grapes harvesting from chipping trees, “Budo Danchi” Grape picking and jam making experience, Ohira Mountain trekking course, Edamame (Edible Soybean)-Black Bean and Tamba black beans Firm harvesting from planting to cultivation at the beginning of October each year.) Fax: 0282-43-0318
English Info: http://www.tobu.co.jp/foreign/sight/tochigi_contents.html
Ohira Mountain Peak (NPO Ohira Sky Club)
1717 Ohira-machi Nishiyamada, Tochigi City (Tochigi-shi), Tochigi Prefecture 329-4405, Japan Tel & Fax: 0282-43-8288
252-1 Ohira-machi Nishiyamada, Tochigi City (Tochigi-shi), Tochigi Prefecture 329-4405, Japan
3427 Ohira-machi Nishiyamada, Tochigi City (Tochigi-shi), Tochigi Prefecture 329-4405, Japan
Ohira Town (Ohira-machi) History and Folk Customs Information Center
The Ohira Town History and Folk Customs Information Center display a variety of materials related to the archaeology and history of Ohira Town. A number of old temples are located nearby, including Daichuji Temple and Seisuiji Temple, making it convenient to explore Ohira’s history in more detail after visiting the information center. 898-1 Ohiramachi Nishiyamada, Tochigi City (Tochigi-shi), Tochigi Prefecture 329-4405, Japan
Pageant of Lights and Sounds (Ohira machi)
Shin-ohirashita Station East exit to Platz (Plats) Ohira [See below] Access: Train : Get off at Shin-ohirashita on Tobu Nikko line. Car: A 20 minutes drive from Tochigi IC.
Inquiry: Pageant of Lights and Sounds Executive Comittee (Tel. 0282-43-9212)
Platz (Plats) Ohira
558-11 Ohiramachi Tomida, Tochigi City (Tochigi-shi), Tochigi Prefecture 329-4404, Japan Tel: 0282-43-0388
Kakashi no sato (Village of the Scarecrow/ Folk Village)
1771-3 Ohira-machi Nishiyamada, Tochigi City (Tochigi-shi), Tochigi Prefecture 329-4405, Japan Tel: +81 282-43-8288
Ohira Cherry Blossom Festival,
Ohira Sports Park
1501-14 Ohira-machi Mayumi, Tochigi City (Tochigi-shi), Tochigi Prefecture 329-4415, Japan 0282-43-9225, 0282-43-1119, 0282-24-5777, 0282-43-9213 Fax 0282-43-0318, 0282-24-5888
1531-1 Ohira-machi Mayumi, Tochigi City (Tochigi-shi), Tochigi Prefecture 329-4415, Japan Tel: 0282-43-2710, 0289-65-4227, 090-4524-1237 Fax: 0289-77-7020
Ohira Forest Adventure/ NPO Ohira no-mori (Npo Ohira Forest Park)
857 Ohiramachi Nishiyamada, Tochigi City (Tochigi-shi), Tochigi Prefecture 329-4405, Japan Tel: 0282-44-2081 (Ohira Forest Adventure) Tel: 0282-45-1677, 048-734-2851 (Npo Ohira Forest Park) Fax: 050-3737-9727 (NPO Ohira Forest Park)
Ohira Forest Adventure Website: https://ohira.foret-aventure.jp/book/calendar_e.php and http://www.foresfeel.co.jp/
NPO Ohira no-mori (Npo Ohira Forest Park) Website: http://www6.ocn.ne.jp/~npoohira/index.html
Tochigi Kuranomachi Museum of Art/ Tochigi City Dashi Kaikan (Floats Festival, Exhibition Hall)
Tochigi City Dashi Kaikan/ Floats Festival Website: http://www.kuranomachi.jp/spot/kuranomachi/dashi/
Pleasure boat ride
10-12 Minato-cho, Tochigi City (Tochigi-shi), Tochigi Prefecture 328-0045, Japan Tel: 0282-23-2003
Yokoyama Kyodokan Information Center
The Yokoyama Family introduced at the Yokoyama Kyodokan Information Center were a wealthy merchant family in the Meiji Era that owned banks and hemp wholesalers. Inside the priceless building with its classical style of architecture, a cashier desk and other features are recreated to provide an impression of the time design the family lived during. The large 7.2 meter wide by 9 meter deep stone warehouse was designated as a National Registered Tangible Cultural Property in 1998. Address: 2-16 Irifune-cho, Tochigi City (Tochigi-shi), Tochigi Prefecture 328-0016, Japan Tel: 0282-22-0159
Idurusan Manganji Temple and Izuru Cave
288 Izurumachi, Tochigi City (Tochigi-shi), Tochigi Prefecture 328-0206, Japan Tel: 0282-31-1717 Fax: 0282-31-2121 Hours: 8:00 am–5:00 pm
Mikamo Road Station
678 Fujioka-machi Odawa, Tochigi City (Tochigi-shi), Tochigi Prefecture 323-1107, Japan Tel: 0282-62-0990 Fax: 0282-61-1157
22-4 Yorozu-cho, Tochigi City (Tochigi-shi), Tochigi Prefecture 328-0015, Japan Tel: +81 282-22-0802
Shinmeigu Shrine is said to have been built in Kanda-shuku (Present day Kandacho) within Tochigi Castle in 1403. It was relocated to its current location in 1589 by Minagawa Hiroteru and became the guardian of Tochigi town. The name “Tochigi” is said to come from the name of the straw (chigi) used in the roof of the Shinmeigu Shrine. 26-3 Asahicho Tochigi City (Tochigi-shi)i, Tochigi Prefecture 328-0035, Japan Tel: +81 282-24-4530 Fax: +81 282-24-4500
Adachi Koukokan (Adachi Antiquarian Museum)
4-2 Yorozu-cho, Tochigi City (Tochigi-shi), Tochigi Prefecture 328-0015, Japan Tel/Fax: 0282-22-0149
Tsuga Town (Tsuga-machi) Village Park
Tsuga Town (Tsuga-machi) Tourist Office 5982-1 Tsuga-machi Ienaka, Tochigi City (Tochigi-shi), Tochigi Prefecture 328-0111, Japan Tel: 0282-29-1104 Tsuga Vilage Cherry Blossom Festival Executive Committee: 0282-92-0008 Fax: 0282-28-0169
Oidejyuku Sato no Eki (Tsuga farming center)
Oidejyuku Sato no Eki is located just before the mountain road from the town of Tsuga to Tochigi City, making it popular as a rest and food area for many drivers. There is a location for direct sales of agricultural products. 334-5 Tsuga-machi Ogaki, Tochigi City (Tochigi-shi), Tochigi Prefecture 328-0101, Japan Tel: 0282-91-1181
Oogaki Hanayama Botanical Garden and Horticulture
60 Tsuga-machi Ogaki, Tochigi City (Tochigi-shi), Tochigi Prefecture 328-0101, Japan Ogaki, Tochigi, Tochigi Prefecture 328-0101, Japan Tel: 0282-92-0871, 090-5513-5813
Oogaki Hanayama Agriculture and Horticulture Management Center 5992-5 Tsuga-machi Ienaka, Tochigi City (Tochigi-shi), Tochigi Prefecture 328-0111, Japan Tel: 0282-27-8741, 0282-27-2031
Izuru Fureai no mori Forest and Campground
417 Izuru-machi, Tochigi City (Tochigi-shi), Tochigi Prefecture 328-0206, Japan Tel: 0282-31-0810