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Home >  News >  A walk through the townscape of Sawara
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A walk through the townscape of Sawara

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Only 30 minutes from Narita International Airport lies a small merchant village—a townscape reminiscent of the Edo period. Here, you will find merchant houses displaying antiques such as furniture and tools used in the past, and warehouses with walls covered in mud. Several breweries are located here, along with many other souvenir shops and restaurants as stopovers when exploring the town.

While in Sawara

1. Town exploration
Feel the atmosphere of the Edo period through Sawara, where visitors can enjoy several museums, old houses, and old buildings, as if traveling back to the old times.

2. Boat ride along the Ono River
Standing along the Ono River, the main waterway transported commercial commodities from the larger Tone River during Edo time. Nowadays, visitors can enjoy the view of the town from traditional boats that glide along the water.

3. Sake Brewery Tour
One of the top producers of Japanese wine in the 1660s. With the significant decrease, there are now only two breweries remaining: Tōkun Brewery and Baba Honten Brewery. Visitors can take a tour of the brewing facility and enjoy the exquisite taste of their sake.

4. Shopping and Dinning
Sawara, as an open-air museum, offers visitors shopping, dining, strolling, and hands-on experiences in various parts of the town. Satisfy your palate through various sophisticated restaurants offering traditional food and many other international cuisines. In addition, visitors can also find hand-made souvenirs and crafts from various specialty shops, and of course, a visit to a museum is a must-do experience.

Click here for store map details.

What's New in Sawara?

Aside from regular activities, there are various activities available to visitors, whether they are group or individual travelers.

Special program: Weekend Night cruising

Aside from the regular boat ride that is available anytime, special programs are also available depending on the season.

Up to 5 people (chartered boat)

Night cruise, dinner, live performance

Special activity: Kokedama (Moss ball) making

Kokedama or moss ball is a moss-covered spherical ball made of soil, - ancient Japanese art form that is derived from the practice of bonsai. This miniature sculptured tress are displayed to for people to enjoy the tranquility of a Japanese garden in their homes.

Capacity: individuals or groups
Inclusion: materials, snacks
How to make Kokedama

Choose a plant for your kokedama

Spread out moss evenly and set aside

Prepare the plant by removing excess soil, and forming the lower part into round

Place a small portion of medicine and soil into a plant-based wrap

Put the plant on top of the wrap

Wrap the lower part of the plant. Secure with twine

Set the wrapped plant on top of the spread moss

Make sure that the lower part of the plant is covered with moss. Secure with twine

Kokedama is now ready for display

Major Festivals

There are two major float festivals Sawara is known for: the Honjoku Gion Matsuri, which is held every summer in July, and the Shinjuku Suwa Matsuri, which is held in autumn in October. Both festivals display decorative floats pulled around the clock during the 3-day event. These two festivals are listed as part of UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Visit the link for Sawara Festivals.


Did you know that Sawara is the hometown of Ino Tadataka?

Tadataka Ino is the one who made the first map of Japan based on surveying techniques dating back to 1603–1868. The map, known as the Ino-Zu or Ino map, is designated as a national treasure, along with measuring tools and related materials he used to survey.

Did you know that Sawara is divided into two, known as Honjuku and Shinjuku?

Both areas have their own different shrines, which results in Sawara having two major float festivals, the Honjuku Gion Matrsuri and the Shinjuku Suwa Matsuri.

Only in Sawara!!

Poké Lids of Katori

Donated to Katori City by Pokémon Ltd for sightseeing purposes. Check out these only one in the world design at various location of Sawara. Check the Poké Lids’s location by clicking the link: Poké Lids of Katori City

For Conventions, Meetings and Incentive Tours

For information on assistance, reception venues, tours, and activities for incentive groups, meetings, and conventions, please contact the Chiba Convention Bureau: