Nogami station (野上駅) is a small stop on the Chichibu Railway Main Line (秩父本線). There are few trains passing here, and it’s a quiet place of birdsong and rice fields.
In the distance lie the mountains of Chichibu, Gunma and beyond.
There’s not much of any note in Nogami really, bar a fairly sizeable Mont Bell store with a campsite next door to it.
Mont Bell, by the way for those who don’t know is a famous, faux French Japanese brand of outdoor gear. It’s an outdoorsy sort of place, Nogami.
It also has a cool Steam Locomotive passing through it.
It’s a beautiful section, with chunky rocks for jumping, access to a pebble beach and some nice spots for picnics.
The riverbank you will arrive at is perfect for a picnic and a swim. You can jump in from some rocks and cool down in the clean, green waters. If you swim across there’s another chunk of rock, again with jumping opportunities and a nice little beach of pebblestones.
In the summertime these stones get extremely hot underfoot. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. There are also scorched remains of campfires which suggest you could pitch your tent behind the rock and escape the campsite entirely, but you might get some trouble from the neighbouring campsite if you are too open about it. Best be discreet.
The current is very strong, and there is a sign warning you not to swim, though quite how, when and if this is enforced we don’t know. Another downside is the highly regular boat cruises.
They’re typically manned (we haven’t seen any women working on the boats) by two people punting/steering at the front and back of the boat, with about 10 passengers in between.
It’s fun hiding from them, but becomes tiring after a while.
They will take great pleasure in making a point of informing their passengers of the perils of swimming here. That 5 people a year die in this location every year doing so, etc.
They are right that this isn’t a spot for weak swimmers, but we wonder if they aren’t ever so slightly exaggerating; after all, that would mean 50 people in ten years, and surely a barbed wire fence rather than a “dame !” (Forbidden) .
There are often other people swimming too, so it’s not unheard of. Just stay safe, and don’t get cheeky with the boatmen. They run this town!