Reaching Back to 8th Century “JAPAN’S VERY FIRST COINAGE”

Anyone who took a history class in Japan would be familiar with the term Wado Kaichin (和同開珎).”

It’s the name of Japan’s oldest circulated coin which was produced during the 700s. This copper coin was inconvenient in several ways for citizens back then where barter system was common, so it didn’t last long. Yet, its historic value remains high as it was the first introduction to Japan’s coinage.

Chichibu in northern Saitama Prefecture which is accessible in roughly 2 hours by an express train from Tokyo, is a birthplace of Wado Kaichin. There you may visit the Wado Ruins, where you find a 5-meter tall iconic monument of the coin. The 4 letters of Wado Kaichin (和同開珎) is inscribed clockwise on the coin.

wadou1 A five-meter monument of “Wado Kaichin,” in Chichibu, Saitama

If you are planning to extend your visit to Chichibu, you should not skip seeing electric locomotives there.

Chichibu Railways frequently operate seasonal limited trains with unique and colorful wrapping, which is popular among not only locals but also tourists.

wadou2 wadou3

Chichibu Railway’s seasonal limited electric locomotive “EL REIWA 2”


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