Kanto Koshinetsu/ Tochigi Pref.

Sano 

Little Kyoto with Nature, History, Human Kindness and a Romantic Atmosphere

Sano is an historic and cultural town with an abundance of nature, such as Mt. Mikamo, which emanates poetic sentiment and Mt. Karasawa, associated with a Heian-period lord, Hidesato Fujiwara. In particular, various famed mineral springs can be found in this area, such as water from Izuharabenten Pond, selected as one of the 100 Best Spring Waters of Japan. The water is sold as a souvenir and is used for various kinds of cooking and food products. Since Sano was located on an important highway in the Edo period, the town flourished as a lodging base for travelers. Visitors are assured a memorable trip as they encounter the great nature and history of Sano.

Sightseeing Highlights in Sano

Sano Yakuyoke Daishi

One of the three important temples which enshrines the deity known as Daishi, as it enshrines a Buddhist priest, Ganzan Jie Daishi, who is believed to give blessings that protect worshippers from misfortune. A grand festival is held on the New Year’s Days and as many as one million visitors come to pray for good luck in the New Year.

Access A 15-min. walk from JR Sano Station

Man’yo Nature Park “Katakuri-no Sato”

This park is one of the largest parks where katakuri (fawn lilies) are growing in clusters. Middle to late March is the best time to enjoy the flowers.

Access A 15-min. drive from JR Sano Station

Karasawayama Shrine

Karasawayama Shrine stands on the remains of a castle at the top of Mt. Karasawa. This shrine is said to have been built and dedicated to Hidesato Fujiwara, a local lord who settled in this area. Castle walls, built during the 16th century are relics of this time.

Access A 20-min. drive from JR Sano Station

Izuhara Benten Pond

The pond is located about 6 km northwest from central Sano. Pristine water comes out from a crack in the Paleozoic limestone and carp peacefully swim in the clear stream. The water is filtered by a very thick layer of sand and its temperature remains at a constant temperature of about 16 degrees throughout the year. The pond is designated as a Natural Monument of the prefecture and was selected as one of the 100 Best Spring Waters in Japan by the Environment Agency.

Access A 25-min. drive from JR Sano Station

Santaki Waterfall

This gorgeous waterfall, the headstream of Hata River in the deep mountain valleys, was selected as one of the 100 Branch Streams of the Tone River. It consists of three waterfalls. Since the angle of each waterfall varies, it is impossible to view all three together. Therefore, it is also called “Waterfall of Mystery.”

Important Annual Events in Sano

Spring Flower Festival

Late February-Early May
Plum Grove, Katakuri-no Sato, Shiroyama Park, etc.

Various events will be held in the famous flower spots in the town: plum blossoms in February, katakuri (fawn lily) in March, cherry blossoms in April, Azalea in May, and more.

Hatsu-uma Festival

Early March (closest Friday, Saturday and Sunday to the Hatsu-uma day in March)
Ippeizuka Inari Shrine

This is an annual traditional ritual carried out at Ippeizuka Inari Shrine which is the representative Shinto shrine for more than one hundred small villages in the neighboring area. A large number of worshippers, both young and old from far and near, have participated in this big festival since ancient times. Shinko manju (sweet dumpling) and stalls selling plants are popular features.

Karasawayama Shrine Spring Grand Festival

April 25
Karasawayama Shrine

The Urayasuno Mai special dance dedicated to the deity will be performed by shrine maidens.

Sangen Fire Festival

Late July
Sengen Shrine

This is a festival of Sengen Shrine which stands at the summit of the 192-meter high Mt. Sengen. It is also called “Sengen-san Otakiage” by the local people.
In the evening, local people come to the mountaintop shrine and pray for sound health or an abundant harvest.

Hidesato Festival of Sano

Early August
Around the City Hall main building

The biggest event of the summer with many citizens attending a variety of events such as Yabusame (archery on horseback), mikoshi (portable shrine) parade, and Ohayashi (a kind of traditional music), all of which offer wonderful sights.

Tanuma Furusato Festival

Late July
Around Tanuma Government Center

Many stage events will be held at this festival. Enjoy buying goods and food sold at a variety of stalls.

Mt. Mikamo Daimonji-yaki Bon Fire

August 15
Mt. Mikamo Daimonji-yaki

Daimonji-yaki is a traditional bonfire. The kanji character, “Dai” (big) beautifully illuminates the night sky.

Mitama Festival

August 18
Riverbank of the Akiyama River

A memorial service for all souls in which people send off the spirits of the dead by lighting 3,000 lanterns and setting them off on the Akiyama River.

Kuzu Genjin Festival

Late August
Katayama Park

This is a large and last summer festival in the Kuzu area. Various lively stage events and local dances will be performed and a valiant finale with a competitive performance of Japanese drumming concludes the festivities.

Karasawayama Shrine Autumn Grand Festival

October 25
Karasawayama Shrine

The shrine hosts two grand festivals a year, in spring and autumn. In autumn, Kendo, Judo and Japanese archery competitions along with an art exhibition will be held.

Sano Buckwheat Noodle Festival

Early October
Tanuma Green Sport Center

Producing buckwheat is a main industry in Sano. This festival is held to publicize the activities of farm restaurants and markets run by local groups. Many visitors enjoy buckwheat noodles and Sano’s attractions.

Sano Citizens Tea Party

Late October
Shiroyama Park

An annual autumn tea party for citizens which has been held since 1993.

Kanto Chrysanthemum Contest

November 1-23
Sano Yakuyoke Daishi

A festival in which people compete the beauty of their chrysanthemum flowers in the Kanto area. The festival has been held annually since 1929, even during the war time, by the Koyokai Group.

Ebisu-ko at Nishinomiya Shrine

November 19, 20
Nishinomiya Shrine

This event is held on November 19th and 20th to pray for a prosperous business for merchants and the safety of their houses. A number of stalls will be open in the precinct and visitors can enjoy them until late at night.

Traditional Crafts of Sano

Hina Dolls

In olden times, craftsmen gathered from around Japan for the construction of the Nikko Tosho-gu Shrine. Many continued to live in Sano and started to make Hina Dolls.

Tenmyo Casting

“Casting made in Sano is the best in the eastern part of Japan,” an old saying goes. The history of Tenmyo casting dates back 1000 years and its techniques have been passed down across countless generations to the local metal casters of today.

Clay Bell

Wholeheartedly-made clay bells in Sano have more than 300 variations. The tone is simple and gentle and is guaranteed to touch listener’s heartstrings.

Food & Specialties of Sano

Sano Ramen

The secret of Sano ramen noodles is to knead and flatten the dough with a green bamboo stem. This method allows the noodles to retain more air inside which results in their chewy texture.

Fried Potato

Sweet and not-soggy potatoes match up with a lightly sweetened sauce.

Kakina Manju

Kakina (green leafy vegetable) is a specialty of Sano becoming popular these days. Kakina Manyu is a sweet dumpling using a full batch of Kakina leaves.

Sano Meisui Tofu

Tasty tofu is made from natural mineral water from Sano, quality soybeans and natural bittern.

Mimi Udon

This is a local dish which people have enjoyed over the New Year from ancient times in Senba Town in Sano. The noodle has a shape like a demon’s ear. According to a well-known legend, it is said that eating these noodles ensures a healthy life and good relationships with neighbors.

Access
Sano Station on JR Ryomo Line or Tobu Sano Line
Contact
Sano City Tourism Association
TEL:0283-21-5111 / FAX:0283-21-5000
URL: http://www.sano-kankokk.jp/home

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