Is a remote mountainous region of Saitama where I went after 3 years of living in the concrete encumbered, more densely populated part of Saitama.
Chichibu used to be renowned throughout Asia for its silks. Now it's best known for a night festival held in the middle of winter. The number of people attending this festival far exceeds the region's population on any other day. Then there is a line of people stretching several blocks- waiting for a space on a train away, and it gets quiet and deadly still for another year's time.
There are 34 temples (with statues of Kannon - a Buddah of mercy) scattered across the area. It takes the typical pilgrim 2 or 3 days to walk between them all; rumor being that those who do will be well rewarded in the afterlife.
I spent almost 2 weeks drawing a picture of each and every temple one summer.
...It was something to do
34 Temples - pencil on paper Summer 2005
Paintings from Chichibu