Are you a foreigner looking to explore the hidden treasures of Saitama Prefecture? Here are some of the best spots you should visit:
Chichibu: This city is home to spectacular natural landscapes, including mountains, gorges, and waterfalls, ideal for hiking and outdoor activities. Visit the Chichibu Shrine, The Hitsujiyama Park with Shibazakura bloom, and the Nagatoro River for scenic beauty.
Kawagoe: Known as “Little Edo,” Kawagoe is a charming town with well-preserved ancient architecture, narrow streets, and traditional shops where you can shop for souvenirs.
Saitama City: The capital of Saitama Prefecture, Saitama City has plenty of museums, art galleries, Shinto shrines, and public parks, including the Omiya Bonsai village.
Hikawa Shrine: A popular shrine in Saitama City, the Hikawa Shrine is known for its beautiful architecture, colorful festivals, and historical significance dating back to 473 AD.
Whether you’re interested in nature, culture, or history, Saitama Prefecture has it all!
- Sightseeing spots
- Culture and Entertainment
- Shopping and Souvenirs
Saitama Prefecture is a great place to visit for foreign tourists, with a variety of sights to see and experiences to be had. From attractions like the picturesque Asukemachi Valley to the exciting amusement park Yomiuriland, there are plenty of sightseeing spots for visitors to explore.
Let’s take a closer look at the best spots in Saitama Prefecture.
Kawagoe, the “Little Edo” of Saitama
Kawagoe, known as “Little Edo,” is a must-visit sightseeing spot in Saitama prefecture for foreigners. This historic town is famous for its well-preserved Edo-period architecture and traditional atmosphere. Some of the best spots to visit in Kawagoe include:
Kura no Machi: a street lined with traditional clay-walled warehouses that have been converted into shops and restaurants. Here, you can find local souvenirs and taste traditional treats like sweet potatoes, candy, and sake.
Kitain Temple: a historic temple complex that houses the remains of the first shogun of the Edo period, Tokugawa Ieyasu.
Kawagoe Castle: a former castle from the Edo period that has been partly reconstructed.
Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine: a beautiful shrine dedicated to the god of marriage and matchmaking.
Kawagoe Festival Museum: a museum dedicated to the famous Kawagoe Festival, which takes place in October and attracts visitors from all over Japan.
Pay a visit to Kawagoe, and experience the cultural heritage that has been preserved over many centuries in this charming town.
Chichibu, the land of mountains and hot springs
If you’re looking for a perfect Japanese getaway, Chichibu is the ideal destination to explore its scenic mountains and natural hot springs to soothe your body and soul. Chichibu offers a unique mixture of culture, history, and adventure that makes it worth your time.
Here are the best spots in Chichibu and throughout the Saitama Prefecture for foreign tourists to visit:
1. Chichibu Muse Park: A vast Garden that offers the most beautiful panoramic view of the city and the perfect spot for a picnic.
2. Mitsumine Shrine: One of the famous shrines in Japan that offers a serene and beautiful view of the mountain on which it sits. You can also explore the greenery around it, making it the ideal hiking spot.
3. Seibu Chichibu Station and Old-fashioned Streets: The unique place that offers Traditional Japanese buildings and food, including wagashi rice cakes and an array of souvenir shops.
4. Chichibu Night Festival: The best time to visit Chichibu if you want to witness an incredible display of vibrant floats in winter.
From culture to history, mountain trekking, and hot springs, Saitama Prefecture, and Chichibu are the perfect destination to immerse yourself in Japan’s beauty, culture, and people.
Hikawa Shrine and the Nagatoro River, an amazing scenic spot
Hikawa Shrine and the Nagatoro River is a must-visit scenic spot for anyone looking to connect with nature and experience Japanese culture. The Hikawa Shrine, established over 2,000 years ago, is a vast shrine complex with many smaller shrines, gates, and statues.
The Nagatoro River is a picturesque waterway that winds through the mountainous countryside of Chichibu. Visitors to the area can take a leisurely boat cruise down the river, enjoying the stunning landscape and serene atmosphere. The best time to visit this scenic spot is during the autumn foliage season when the trees lining the river burst into a kaleidoscope of colors.
Pro tip: Don’t forget to try the local street food in Nagatoro, including grilled ayu fish, soba noodles, and amazake (sweet sake).
Culture and Entertainment
Saitama Prefecture is a great place for exploring Japan’s culture and entertainment. From traditional tea houses to amusement parks, there is a lot to explore and experience.
In this section we will look at some of the best spots in Saitama Prefecture for foreigners, who are looking to experience the culture and entertainment of Japan.
Tokorozawa Aviation Museum perfect for airplane enthusiasts
Tokorozawa Aviation Museum is a must-visit spot for airplane enthusiasts in Saitama Prefecture, Japan. The museum showcases a vast collection of aircraft, including military and civilian planes, helicopters, and gliders that have played significant roles in Japan’s aviation history.
The museum also features a spacious exhibition hall, cinema, and simulation rooms, giving visitors an interactive experience on aviation history and technology.
Some of the must-see exhibits include the only surviving Ki-17 trainer plane, the J8M rocket plane, and a life-sized replica of Japan’s first plane. Visitors can also have a glimpse of the evolution of Japanese aviation industry, from early wooden planes to the modern jet aircraft.
An added bonus is the direct access to Iruma Air Base, which allows visitors to witness actual planes and helicopters take to the skies. Whether you are an airplane enthusiast or not, the Tokorozawa Aviation Museum is a fascinating destination that offers a unique cultural experience.
The Railway Museum, a must-visit for train lovers
The Railway Museum in Saitama Prefecture, Japan is a must-visit destination for train enthusiasts of all ages. Here visitors can explore the history of Japan’s railways through interactive exhibits, hands-on experiences, and a vast collection of historic trains.
- Discover how the Shinkansen bullet train revolutionized transportation in Japan.
- Climb aboard retired locomotives from the early 20th century.
- Take a virtual tour of rail lines throughout Japan.
- Experience the thrill of operating a train in one of the museum’s simulators.
With activities and displays for all ages, the Railway Museum is the perfect place to spend a day learning about the history and legacy of Japan’s railways. Pro Tip: Plan your visit on a weekday to avoid large crowds.
Omiya Bonsai Art Museum, the cradle of Bonsai culture
The Omiya Bonsai Art Museum is a must-visit location for bonsai lovers around the world as it is the birthplace of Bonsai culture.
The museum is located in the city of Saitama, Japan and showcases a vast collection of bonsai trees, tools, and artifacts. Visitors can witness the art of bonsai and learn about its history, techniques, and cultural significance.
Inside the museum, the rooms are designed to reflect the elements of a traditional Japanese garden. There is also a bonsai garden outside that houses over 100 bonsai trees, including some that are over 500 years old.
The Omiya Bonsai Art Museum offers guided tours and workshops for individuals and groups, where they can learn how to cultivate and care for their own bonsai trees.
Visiting the Omiya Bonsai Art Museum is an excellent way to immerse oneself in Japanese culture and appreciate the beauty and artistry of bonsai.
If you’re looking to try some of the best food in Saitama prefecture, you’ve come to the right place!
From traditional Japanese cuisine to international flavors, there are plenty of mouth-watering dishes to explore. In this section, we’ll be discussing the delicious cuisine options available to foreign tourists in Saitama.
Local delicacy: “Sayama Tea” and “Kawagoe sweet potato”
Saitama Prefecture is home to two delectable delicacies that are a must-try for anyone visiting the region- Sayama tea and Kawagoe sweet potato.
Sayama tea is a type of green tea that originates in Saitama’s Sayama region, known for its rolling hills and abundant tea fields. This tea is harvested using traditional techniques and has a subtle and refreshing flavor, making it a popular drink among locals and foreigners alike.
Kawagoe sweet potato, on the other hand, is a type of sweet potato grown in the Kawagoe region of Saitama. It has a purple skin and a yellow interior and is known for its sweet and nutty flavor. This sweet potato is used in a variety of dishes, including desserts, soups, and even tempura.
When visiting Saitama prefecture, be sure to try these two local delicacies to get a taste of what the region has to offer.
Pro tip: To fully experience the local cuisine, visit traditional tea houses and restaurants that specialize in using Kawagoe sweet potato as a primary ingredient.
Authentic Japanese soba noodles in a traditional atmosphere
Saitama Prefecture in Japan is home to some of the most authentic and traditional soba noodle restaurants. Here are some of the best spots to check out if you’re a foreigner looking for an unforgettable culinary experience:
1. Nakamoto Soba: This restaurant has been serving handmade soba noodles for over a century, using only the highest quality buckwheat flour and natural spring water.
2. Fukurou Soba: With a cozy and traditional interior, Fukurou Soba specializes in light and delicate soba noodles, made fresh every day.
3. Toshian: Toshian is a popular soba noodle chain, known for its delicious hot and cold soba dishes, served in a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere.
4. Soba Yamaguchi: This restaurant is located in a historic building, offering a traditional and elegant dining experience, complete with homemade soba noodles and a variety of toppings.
5. Tsuruhashi Fugetsu: For a unique twist on traditional soba, head to Tsuruhashi Fugetsu, where you can try soba noodles made with green tea or buckwheat flour, served in a modern and stylish setting.
Pro Tip: Don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations or help with the menu if you’re not familiar with traditional Japanese cuisine. Many restaurants are happy to offer suggestions and guidance to ensure you have the best dining experience possible.
Saitama Sushi: unique and delicious sushi rolls
Saitama sushi is unique and delicious, offering a range of sushi rolls with innovative flavor combinations that are sure to delight your taste buds.
With many options for foreigners to try in this region of Japan, following are some of the best spots that serve Saitama sushi rolls:
Maebashiya Sushi: This restaurant is known for creating unique sushi rolls with seasonal ingredients, including Saitama-made miso and soy sauce.
Arakawa Sushi: This sushi restaurant is known for its delicious and affordable sushi rolls, including the popular Saitama roll made with egg, cucumber, and shrimp.
Sanken Sushi: A local favorite, this sushi restaurant serves a variety of creative sushi rolls, including the Eel and Avocado Roll and the Crab Salad Roll.
Whether you’re a sushi lover or simply looking to try something new, Saitama sushi is a must-try cuisine that’s sure to leave a lasting impression on your taste buds.
Shopping and Souvenirs
Saitama Prefecture offers many fantastic shopping spots for Japanese and foreigners alike. One of the most popular attractions is the Omiya Bonsai Art Museum, which displays a variety of bonsai trees.
There are also many shopping malls and shops in Saitama that offer a wide range of souvenirs and other items. This section will cover the best spots in Saitama Prefecture for shopping and souvenirs.
CoCoLo Shopping Center and Tokyu Stay Hotel, a convenient shopping and stay spot
CoCoLo Shopping Center and Tokyu Stay Hotel offer a perfect combination of leisure, convenience, and luxury, making them an ideal shopping and stay spot for visitors in Saitama Prefecture.
Located at the heart of Saitama, the CoCoLo Shopping Center features over 300 shops with a wide variety of products ranging from cosmetics, household goods, fashion to souvenirs. This shopping center perfectly captures Japan’s vibrant culture and the buzzing lifestyle of Saitama.
The nearby Tokyu Stay Hotel is perfect for visitors who want to spend some intimate time with their loved ones in a luxurious and tranquil setting. Tokyu Stay offers the best in class hospitality services with fully equipped guest rooms that are designed to meet the needs of travelers with different tastes and preferences.
Together, CoCoLo Shopping Center and Tokyu Stay Hotel provide everything that foreign tourists could ask for in modern Japanese hospitality.
Saitama Super Arena and AEON Mall, a great sports arena and shopping area
Saitama Super Arena and AEON Mall offer an exceptional combination of sports and shopping experiences in Saitama Prefecture, perfect for foreigners in search of exploring the area’s top spots for shopping and souvenirs.
Saitama Super Arena is a world-class sports arena that hosts a wide array of sports events, ranging from basketball and volleyball to martial arts and figure skating. The venue has a seating capacity of 22,500 and offers an excellent view of the performance from every angle. Saitama Super Arena is surrounded by a wide range of restaurants, bars, and shopping centers, making it an ideal destination for sports enthusiasts and foodies alike.
AEON Mall, located just a few minutes away from Saitama Super Arena, is a large-scale shopping mall that offers everything from fashion and beauty to food and entertainment. The mall has over 400 stores, including international brands, local designers, and boutique shops. AEON Mall also offers a variety of food options, ranging from Japanese cuisine to international dishes, making it the perfect spot to take a break from shopping and try something new.
Take home traditional crafts: Kawagoe’s “Kurazukuri” buildings and Sayama dolls.
If you’re looking to take home traditional crafts as souvenirs, don’t miss Kawagoe’s “Kurazukuri” buildings and Sayama dolls.
Kawagoe’s “Kurazukuri” buildings are traditional Japanese warehouses made of clay and wood. These buildings have been preserved for over 200 years and offer a glimpse into Japan’s past. You can find a variety of souvenir shops along the streets of Kawagoe that sell handmade crafts and traditional sweets.
Sayama dolls are another popular traditional craft in Saitama Prefecture. These dolls are made from clay and are known for their serene expressions and detailed features. You can find a variety of Sayama doll workshops and shops in the city of Tokorozawa.
By taking home these traditional crafts, you’ll not only have a unique souvenir but also a piece of Japan’s rich cultural history.