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Updated:October 1, 2017

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Governor's Column (October 2017)

NHK's Buratamori Features Popular Saitama Sights: Omiya, Chichibu, and Nagatoro!

NHK broadcasts a popular Japanese television program called Buratamori hosted by Tamori (Kazuyoshi Morita). On July 1, July 15, and August 19, the program featured three episodes in which Tamori visited locations within our own Saitama Prefecture, which I was able to watch during a recent commute.

The first location was Omiya, which derives its name from the phrase "great shrine." While there are over 200 Hikawa shrines scattered throughout Saitama and the Kanto region, Omiya's name is a reference to the famous Musashi Ichinomiya Hikawa Shrine in the area, designated the chief Shinto shrine of the region (formerly the Musashi province). The sando, or road leading to the shrine, is approximately two kilometers long, which is said to be the longest in Japan. During the program, Tamori introduced various background elements of Omiya, which has developed extensively as a transport hub, using his extensive petrological knowledge. A noteworthy addition to Tamori's explanation would be that the number of platforms at Omiya Station is the third highest among all JR train stations (after Tokyo and Ueno).

The second broadcast featured Chichibu City. While touching on a range of interesting places in Chichibu as well as the city's history, Tamori captivated the audience again with his immense geographical and petrological understanding of every area visited throughout the show. Many places in Chichibu, such as the "spiritual power spot" Mitsumine Shrine and "sacred spots" that appear in popular anime, have been garnering great attention lately. The region's beautiful natural landscapes and a strong community spirit of kindness are at the heart of Chichibu's newfound popularity.

The third area of Saitama to take the stage was Nagatoro, known as "the home of Japan's geological studies" - a place that the geology aficionado Tamori was clearly thrilled to visit. He made full use of his geological and petrological expertise to thoroughly explain the many details of Saitama Prefecture's famous Nagatoro River boating and white water rafting. The comprehensive understanding and versatile talents of Tamori were as marvelous as the announcement that Princess Mako and her future husband enjoyed Nagatoro on one of their dates - no matter what your interest, anyone can have a great time in Nagatoro!

I am truly grateful for the opportunity that these three episodes of Buratamori afforded me to rediscover some of the amazing attractions that Saitama Prefecture has to offer.

Kiyoshi Ueda
Kiyoshi Ueda