|A hand drawn/painted map of our town-Ogawa Machi.|
Nearly three years have passed since my husband, Karl, and I moved to Japan. At this time three years ago, we knew that we would be moving to Japan, but we were still anxiously awaiting to hear about where we would be living within Japan.
Only six short weeks before we were scheduled to leave, we finally found out where we would be living during our time in Japan: Ogawa Machi, Saitama. Karl would be working in a tiny neighboring village: Higashichichibu Mura.
As soon as we had this information, we consulted with the all-knowing Google to try and find out a thing or two about our new place of residence. Unfortunately, we found very little information.
Because of this experience, I have decided to take it upon myself to document all of our favorite places in Ogawa Machi on this blog. Though not nearly as exciting as Tokyo (which is a mere hour away by the Tobu Tojo train line) Ogawa is a fantastic place to live.
Ogawa is, by Japanese standards, a small town. The population is probably somewhere around 35,000. It is nestled in a little valley right at the edge of the Chichibu mountain range. Like most places in Japan, it too boasts a long history.
Right after the massive 9.0 earth quake that shook Japan on March 11th, 2011, we were reassured many times by the residents of Ogawa that we were living in a safe place. Ogawa was built directly over an enormous bedrock, so even though we can feel lots of shaking during earth quakes, the buildings are quite sound.
The weather in Ogawa is, for most of the year, fantastic. Saitama is rated at the sunniest prefecture in all of Japan. Since the ground doesn’t freeze, the growing season lasts all year long. The occasional slushy snow falls in the winter and the summer is horribly humid. But the spring and the autumn are perfection. Unless you have allergies, that is.
Over the next few weeks, I will devote posts to several places in Ogawa that we wished we had known about when we first arrived. For anyone else moving here in the future, I hope that you will find this useful.