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.
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.
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.
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.
Important Annual Events in Sano
Spring Flower Festival
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.
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
The Urayasuno Mai special dance dedicated to the deity will be performed by shrine maidens.
Sangen Fire Festival
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
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
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
Daimonji-yaki is a traditional bonfire. The kanji character, “Dai” (big) beautifully illuminates the night sky.
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
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
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
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
An annual autumn tea party for citizens which has been held since 1993.
Kanto Chrysanthemum Contest
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.
Traditional Crafts of Sano
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.
“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.
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
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.
Sweet and not-soggy potatoes match up with a lightly sweetened sauce.
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.
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.
Sano Black Kara-age Fried Chicken
Sano Black Kara-age Fried Chicken is a new local specialty of the city born from the “Sano Papa Project.” The rich and aromatic sauce tastes so nice that you can’t help trying it again. As the name says, the chicken appears blackish in color.
- Sano Station on JR Ryomo Line or Tobu Sano Line
- Sano City Tourism Association
- TEL：0283-21-5111 / FAX：0283-21-5000
- URL： http://www.sano-kankokk.jp/home