NIPPONIA Chichibu is a beautifully-restored set of traditional Japanese buildings converted into luxurious inn-like accommodations perfect for an overnight stay.

Compared to Japan’s popular destinations such as Tokyo or Osaka, Chichibu does not quite feature on the itineraries of most international travellers. As a result the small city in Saitama Prefecture doesn’t quite offer the depth of accommodation options that those metropolises may have.

But Chichibu does draw plenty of domestic tourism especially during festival season, particularly when it hosts its annual Chichibu night festival every December. Those international visitors that do turn up tend to be avid whisky fans, seeking to visit the city’s famed Chichibu Distillery, makers of highly-prized Ichiro’s Malt. These are usually here on a day trip, or a one night stay.

nipponia chichibu entrance

Those travellers looking for a more fancy stay may want to consider NIPPONIA Chichibu, which are possibly the most luxurious accommodations in the area. More upscale traditional inn than swanky modern hotel, NIPPONIA Chichibu is a set of beautifully restored buildings in the heart of the city perfect for those seeking rustic charm.

Note that accommodations are spread across two different (if nearby) buildings in the city. There’s Maruju, a two-storied building that housed an old pharmacy, while Koike Miyatani was previously a footwear store.

Neither fully Japanese nor Western, their rooms are a harmonious blend of classic Japanese aesthetics and contemporary European luxury. Many of the rooms still show their original charm; those who are into architecture and retro design may recognise elements from Japan’s Taisho and Showa eras throughout its spaces.

m103 entrance

Rooms in Maruju are larger and more prestigious, while those of Koike Miyatani are studio-style maisonettes. All rooms feature unique layouts, settings and aspects, so we highly recommend you check their website to pick the best one for your needs.

We had the opportunity to stay in the Maruju Room M103, which was formerly the Maruju Pharmacy’s storehouse. I particularly loved the raw beautiful rusticity here which makes it so different from any kind of hotel stay; high sturdy wooden beams, planked walls, and old school lamps for lights, for example.

Room Maruju M103

The large king-sized bed is ridiculously opulent, its thick fluffy quilted comforter definitely a plus during a cold winter. There’s no TV here. You won’t need that kind of brainless entertainment here to pass the night. Instead, avail yourself of the room’s fabulous bath. Made of hinoki wood, its scent will envelop the bathroom as you fill up the tub. After you’ve sufficiently cleansed and warmed yourself up, tuck into bed with a book under that lush comforter.

Another reason to stay at NIPPONIA Chichibu? The included traditional Japanese breakfast the next morning offers an entire spread of local produce sourced from the surrounding area, such as all manner of pickles and small bites to go with hot steamed Japanese rice.

Just make sure you turn up at the appointed breakfast time.

Bathroom with hinoki tub.

Otherwise there’s little else by way of facilities, so it’s really the overnight stay kind of place. Also note that like most accommodations in small Japanese towns or cities, hotel staff aren’t onsite 24/7 and few speak English. So make sure you plan accordingly and try not to lock yourself out of your room.


NIPPONIA Chichibu is an excellent overnight stay option for those who prefer some modicum of luxury when visiting this small city. Room types can vastly differ from one another, so pick accordingly.

[Photos courtesy of NIPPONIA Chichibu]

NIPPONIA Chichibu (秩父 門前町)

Address 17-5 Miyakawacho, Chichibu, Saitama 368-0046, Japan (Google Maps link)
Tel (81) 3-6233-8800
Facebook nipponia.chichibu
Instagram @nipponia_chichibu
Rates check here

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