Float away in the ethereal ‘Sea of Clouds’
If you’re a night owl and like to skip the over-publicized, over-crowded tourist hot spots then skip the expected and add Chihibu to your Japan itinerary.
Yes when you think of Japan, you think of a country surrounded by the sea, the abundance of seafood consumed and all the temples, shrines and castles that are ever popular. But Japan proves to be a truly unique country with a wealth of incredible landscapes, places and phenomenon that are not mentioned in many guide books and are more incredible than a heap of experiences listed online.
Just a few hours north of Tokyo (two and half hours by train to be exact), the Chichibu region is in the west of Saitama Prefecture which is probably why it’s skipped by many tourists. But fear not – once you check out the photos of this magical phenomenon a 3 hour train ride is more than worth it.Beautiful hotsprings, lush forests and magnificent mountains make Chichibu feel like a world away from bustling Tokyo.
Getting to the gist of it – Minoyama Park’s observation deck provides the perfect vantage point to capture the magical ‘Sea of Clouds’. Unkai, meaning ‘Sea of Clouds’, is an atmospheric phenomenon where the thick cloud cover resembles an undulating ocean. One of the most famous unkai views is that of Mt. Fuji. The glimmering lights from the industrial area illuminate the cloud cover creating a glowing display of pastel oranges, pinks, and blues creating one unbelievable ethereal view. November and April are listed as the best times to view the sea of clouds according to the Minoyama Park website.
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Where to go
Minoyama Park / 美の山公園
Address: Saitama-ken, Chichibu-gun, Minanomachi, Minano
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Image Credit – Daisuke Hashizuka