Sawara, the traditional town filled with nostalgic air of 19th Century!!

◆The town of Sawara, located some 45minutes by train from JR Narita Airport Terminal 1 Sta. or some 90minutes by highway bus from Tokyo Sta. Yaesu Exit, exposes all visitors to the traditional Japanese culture and lifestyle dates the Edo Period(1603~1868).

 Traditional townscape lies along the Onogawa River once functioned as an inland transportation waterway leading to the great river of Tone and continuing to the megacity of Edo(present Tokyo).

 The views seen from a boat reminds you Sawara was a Merchant Town of water transport.

Boating on the Onogawa River.

 The river bank lined with long-established shops.                   

Inoh Tadataka successed to calculate the accurate distance of one degree of meridian line with the aim of obtaining the earth size through surveying activity of all the coastal line of Japan for drawing the first-ever detailed map of Japan.

 Tadataka studied astronomy and surveying at the Asakusa Astronomical Observatory. “100 views of Mt. Fiji:Armillary Sphere at Official Business Residence” created by Katsushika Hokusai after ages shows a scene of astronomical observation there.

 These materials multilaterally convey Tadataka’s studies, the concrete method of creating maps,and also his life achievement.  

 A sample of Armillary Sphere

 Hotel Nipponia Sawara, renovated old folk house as hotel

 Stylish guesthouse named Co-Edo Sawara

◆About Sawara
SAWARA’s locational advantage makes easier for many tourists including people of the layover in the Narita Airport to use the available time effectively.
Besides its locational advantage,it exposes all visitors to the traditional Japanese culture and lifestyle dates the Edo Period(1603~1868). Because, it’s a Merchant’s Town flourished as a center for the trade activity benefiting from the Tonegawa River transport to support Edo(present Tokyo), a big city with a population of over one million, by being a riparian port to accumulate and send a broad range of things necessary of daily life for Edo.
The Onogawa River that flows through the town of Sawara, leading to the Tone River and continuing to the megacity of Edo was an important water transportation route during the Edo period.
It’s also called the “Eastern Nada” comparable to the famed “Sake” brewing area of Nada(present Kobe).
Even now, many traditional buildings, such as machiya townhouses and storehouses in kurazukuri-style that line both banks, remain elegant.
“If you want to see Edo,come to Sawara; Sawara Honmachi(central Sawara) exceeds Edo”was a limerick of the Edo Period which best describes the prosperity of Sawara in those days.
Specifically,it’s also home to administrative operations conducted by upper-class merchants called “danna-shu” (“the masters”),many artisans in Edo were summoned to Sawara.
The fusion of Edo artisans’ craftsmanship and stylish spirits of “danna-shu” allowed Sawara to develop the distinctive culture based on the spirits of exceeding Edo called “Edo-masari”!!
Incidentally,Inoh Tadataka(1745~1818) who surveyed all over Japan and made the very first surveyed maps of Japan’s coastal area , was one of them.
After being active as a leader of “danna-shu” community, he retired at the age of 50 and left for Edo later to study Western astronomy and surveying techniques under the famous astronomer Takahashi Yoshitoki, who was officer in charge of astronomy bureau in Edo feudal government, there.
Mastering astronomy in a amazingly short time of 5 years, he set out on his journey to Ezo(present Hokkaido) with
some followers to calculate the accurate distance of one degree of meridian line with the aim of obtaining the earth’s size through surveying activity under the supervision of Yoshitoki. He spent some 17 years traveling 40,000km to survey all the coastal line of Japan. His maps,many of which are accurate to 1/1,000 of a degree, remained the definitive maps of Japan for nearly a century. This episode suggests that Sawara was a Merchant’s Town with a sophisticated culture,and even now this distinctive culture based on the spirits of exceeding Edo called “Edo-masari” is still alive along with the traditional townscape here in Sawara!!
Incidentally, the central part of Sawara was designated as Important Preservation District for Groups of Traditional Buildings by Japanese government in 1996!!


Did you like my article?

You can send me a message to get a customized itinerary and quotation for an unforgettable experience.

I'll be waiting for you, so please check my profile and get your trip plan now

Tours By Guide

Tour of Tokyo's selected sites to learn about Japan !!

8 hours

It’s the private full-day walking tour with a knowledgeable guide, which is good for learning about Japan’s history and culture!! The destinations are strictly selected and combined from the perspective of answering your simple but significant questions about Japan effectively!! Every destination has its own theme to learn about!!

FROM$162/ per group

Private Iaido experience to learn Samurai spirit near the Imperial Palace in Tokyo!!

2 hours

Learn the SAMURAI spirit!! Authentic Iaido experience near the Imperial Palace in Tokyo!! [The venue:”Edo Mugai Ryu Iai Hyouho” dojo("The art of drawing the sword and Military tactics")] ※You'll slip back in time to the Edo Period in dojo filled with the nostalgic air of Samurai, where you will experience the samurai spirit through Test cutting of Sizan with real Japanese sword.

FROM$135/ per person

Tour of Samurai town good for stopover tourists in Narita Airport !!

4 hours

SAKURA city is most suitable sightseeing spot for the tourist who are going to stay in Narita or transit at Narita Airport!! Besides its locational advantage,it exposes all visitors to the Samurai warrior's culture and lifestyle. Because, it's a castle town flourished as a strategic point to protect the east of Edo. I invite you to slip back in time to the Samurai period!!

FROM$90/ per group

YANAKA Private Walking tour & Soba buckwheat noodle making!!

3 hours

Learn Soba buckwheat noodle making and try your own made Soba noodle. [The venue: Traditional Soba restaurant, ”やなか蕎麦YANAKA Soba” in YANAKA] 40 years experienced Soba chef, the restaurant’s owner spoon-feeds you!!(dough making,mixing,rolling and cutting the noodles) Additionally,this hands-on workshop come with 90minutes guided tour of the carefully selected highlights of YANAKA!!

FROM$76/ per person

YANAKA’s Walking tour with cultural experiences !!

4 hours

It’s a Temple Town, Yanaka’s Walking Tour with a stroll through the Historic Temple District there!! It’s a tour of the carefully selected highlights of YANAKA including the famous temples and traditional Japanese folk crafts shops and studios to learn about Japanese traditional culture !!(+Cultural experiences are available!!)

FROM$117/ per group

Sunday tea gathering in Samurai town near Narita!!(Tea ceremony experience & Samurai houses tour!!)

5 hours

Besides its locational advantage(60 minutes from Tokyo and 30 minutes to Narita airport by train),SAKURA city exposes all visitors to the Samurai’s culture and lifestyle through the tour of the original Samurai houses and SAKURA Castle Ruins. Additionally, you can enjoy tea ceremony experience after that. I invite you to slip back in time to the Samurai era!!

FROM$117/ per group

Plan your trip to Narita with Hiroki K.

Chat with a local tour guide who can help organize your trip.

Send Message