Otawara In Tochigi Prefecture: A City With Beautiful Nature

Otawara is a city in Tochigi prefecture, famous for its beautiful nature and sightseeing spots. This article introduces some of Otawara’s beautiful places, temples and activities – the things that make it a great travel destination.

Otawara city, located in the northeastern part of Tochigi prefecture, is primarily an agricultural town. This article will be introducing what makes Otawara worth visiting. From the summit of Koteyasan, the entire city can be seen in all its glory.

Running through the city is a river called Nakagawa. During the weekends, people gather by the riverside to fish and play water sports.

Otawara is famous for its fresh salt-grilled sweetfish caught in Nakagawa waters. The unique sweetness of the fish combined with its soft texture makes it an ideal snack to be eaten on its own or mixed with rice. It is an unforgettable flavor.

Among the various leisure activities that Otawara boasts, you would not want to miss getting up close and personal with the horses at one of Japan’s leading ranches, Nasunogahara Farm. Over the dozens of hectares that make up Nasugahara Farm, you will find both draft horses and saddle horses to spend time with.

The dogs raised at Nasunogahara Farm are also friendly and fun playing companions. They will make your visit to the farm even more enjoyable.

For those who wish to know more about the history and traditions of the area, the city’s surrounding temples and shrines are worth a look. Unganji Temple dates back to the Heian period and is known for being one of the spots visited by Matsuo Bashō (*1), mentioned in his traveler’s journal, “Oku no Hosomichi” (*2), or “The Narrow Road to the Deep North”. *1 Matsuo Bashō: 1644-1694, a haiku poet from the early Edo era. *2 “Oku no Hosomichi”: Bashō’s famous travel diary chronicling his journey into the Tōhoku and Hokuriku regions of Japan.

In contrast to the pomp and splendor of the Unganji Temple, the charm of Daiōji Temple stands out through is elegance. Daiōji Temple adheres to the teachings of the Sōtō School (*3) of Zen Buddhism. *3 Sōtō School: is one of several branches of Zen Buddhism and is characterized by daily ascetic practices and personalized introspection.

At Daiōji Temple, you can practice Zen meditation under the guidance of a Zen priest. The sitting position involved is an incredible eye-opening experience, giving you a unique perspective on the worldview of Zen Buddhism. These are just some of the activities to experience in Otawara. If you ever have the chance to stay at a farm in Otawara, be sure to enjoy all these places and activities. They will give you an insight into an authentic Japanese lifestyle. It is also a great getaway from the hustle and bustle of large cities.


1) Nasunogahara Farm

2) Unganji Temple

3) Daiōji Temple