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SawaraSawara mapSawara is a district in Katori city located northeast part of Chiba Prefecture.
Tone River flows just to the north, and it is the border between Chiba and Ibaraki prefectures.

It is said that there had been Katori Shrine in this district in the 3rd century. Here was the base to government northeastern Japan in that time.
And this town had developed around the shrine.

Since Edo Period (the 17-19th centuries), this area became a granary, and the transportation by water also had developed.
So Sawara had prospered as a port city.

But since the 1960s, means of transportation had moved to road or rail, then Sawara had declined.
Now here is known as a town with old streets and canals.

Additionally here produced Tadataka Ino (1745-1818, a famous surveyor).
He was a merchant, but he had retired when he was 50 years old.
Then he studied astronomy and surveying in Edo (Current Tokyo).

When he was 56 years old, he proposed the surveying of eastern Japan to the government.
After the surveying for 3 years, he produced the maps and showed them to Shogun in 1804.
The high-precision maps surprised the Shogun and administration officials, then producing the map of all Japan was planned as a national project.

Ino's team had surveyed whole of Japan for 12 years (from 1805 to 1816).
After that, in the middle of producing the maps, Ino died at age 73, but his disciples had completed the map with hiding the death of Ino.
At last, in 1821, they presented the completed maps of Japan as the great Ino's achievement.

The accuracy of the maps surprised the Westerners who came to Japan later.

This area including Sawara, Itako and Kashima in Ibaraki Prefecture has many rivers, canals and lakes.
We can enjoy the waterscape. So this area is called "Suigo" (the land with water).
See the page of Itako in Ibaraki Prefecture.

The three cities on Waterfront

Old streets in Sawara /1/

They are the streets lining traditional old buildings, and are located about 0.5-1.0 km southeast of JR Sawara station.
They are mainly along the Katori Street from east to west, and along Ono River from north to south.

Most of the buildings are traditional Japanese shops, and were built from the late 19th century to the early 20th century.
They are prefecturally-designated cultural properties.
This area is often called "Little Edo".

Former Tadataka Ino's Residence /2/

Former Tadataka Ino's ResidenceIt is a residence where Tadataka Ino had lived from 1762 (17 years old) to 1795 (50 years old).
The residence has a shop selling sake and shoyu (soy sauce), a storehouse and a main house.
When he was 50 years old, he gave this residence to his son and went to Edo to study. It is located along Ono River.

Ino Tadataka Museum /3/

Inoh Tadataka MuseumIt is a museum introducing the life and achievement of Tadataka Ino, and is located just across Ono River from Former Tadataka Ino's Residence.
Many materials about his life are exhibited, and there are his surveying tools.
Of course, we can see the maps which he produced.
(You can't take photos in here.)

Katori Shrine /4/

Katori ShrineIt is a Shinto shrine located about 3 km east of central Sawara.
In legend, it is said that this shrine was founded in 643 B.C. Of course, it is too old, then some scholars disagree.
This is one of the ancient important shrines, then there are about 400 branch shrines across the country.
It takes about 10 minutes from Sawara station by taxi.

Sawara Municipal Aquatic Botanical Garden /5/

Sawara Municipal Aquatic Botanical GardenIt is a botanical garden located about 5 km northeast of central Sawara.
It was opened in 1969, and is about 6 hectares wide.
This region has many rivers, waterway and lake, so this garden has some water plants.
Especially there are 1.5 million Japanese irises are beautiful in may and June.
And many lotuses blossom in July and August.
It takes about 20 minutes from Sawara station by route bus.

Juunikyou (Twelve Bridges) /6/

Juunikyou (Twelve Bridges)"Juunikyou" means "twelve bridges". It is a canal with twelve small bridges.
Since old times, the people around this region had passed through this canal by boat as a pass.
Now the boats are operated for visitors. We can enjoy the scenery of the narrow canal and the traditional town on the boat.
This canal is located in Katouzu district about 2 km east of Sawara Municipal Aquatic Botanical Garden.
The sightseeing boats leave from both Sawara Municipal Aquatic Botanical Garden and Maekawa Ayame Garden in Itako city.

Scenic or Nature / Park or Garden / Resort / City, Town or Village / Quarter or Street /
Temple or Shrine / Museum or Laboratory / Market or Commercial facility / Factory /
Other Building or Construction / Historic place / Remains / World Heritage Site

How to get to here

By railroad

  1. From Tokyo, get on the limited expresses "Shiosai" to Choshi.
  2. Get off at Sakura station. It takes about 40 minutes from Tokyo.
  3. Change the local train on Narita Line. It takes about 50-60 minutes to Sawara.

By express buses

Some expressbuses run from Tokyo station.
Get on the bus to Choshi station of Chiba-kotsu Bus company, or the bus to Hokota station of Kantetsu Green Bus company.
It takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes to Sawara station.

Old street in Sawara and Ono River
A wooden bridge over Ono River
Former Tadataka Ino's Residence
Main Gate of Katori Shrine
Main shrine of Katori Shrine
Sawara Municipal Aquatic Botanical Garden
Juunikyou (Twelve Bridge)

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