Population: 7,222 million
photo by Kennosuke Yamaguchi
Saitama is a prefecture of Japan located in the Kantō region of the island of Honshu. The capital is the city of Saitama.
This prefecture is part of the Greater Tokyo Area, and most of Saitama’s cities can be described as suburbs of Tokyo, to which a large amount of residents commute each day.
Only 20 minute train ride from Tokyo, Saitama is perfect for a day trip to discover traditional Japanese culture and exciting outdoor activities. Should you be interested in shopping, Saitama is home to the largest eco-friendly shopping mall of Japan.
- SAITAMA CITY
- Saitama is the capital and the most populous city of Saitama Prefecture in Japan, situated in the south-east of the prefecture.
Although not known in particular asa tourists destination, the city does have some places of interest such as The Railway Museum and The Omiya Bonsai Village.
- WHAT TO DO AND WHAT TO SEE
- Most of the popular tourist sites in Saitama are located in the northwestern part of the prefecture, which is known as the Chichibu Region. This region mostly consists of a hilly and moderately mountainous area, and is situated in a rich natural environment. The region is very popular among residents of Saitama and neighboring prefectures for short trips, as it is easily accessible via the railroad network.
Some of the main attractions include:
Aeon LakeTown, a site made up of three very large shopping malls lined up next to each other, with over 700 shops and restaurant, a cinema complex, a department store and a supermarket.
The Railway Museum, the largest museum of railways in Japan. The museum exhibits real trains from steam locomotives to Shinkansen (bullet train), which tell the history of Japan’s railway technology.
Saitama Super Arena, a multi purpose indoor arena in which a wide variety of events such as basketball, volleyball, tennis, ice hockey, gymnastics, boxing, mixed martial arts, and professional wrestling take place. The capacity of the arena is between 19,000 to 25,000 people.
Hikawa Shrine, one of Japan’s most superb old shrines with a history dating some 2,000 years back.
Shinrin Koen Park, located about an hour from Tokyo, this park consists of lakes, bridges, restaurants, and adventure course, cycle tracks, lookout points and gardens.
For a little different experience, spend a couple of hours of fruit picking in Otsuki Garden, mainly a mandarin farm but other fruits can be be found spread around the area.
- GETTING THERE
- By airplane
The nearest major airports are Narita International Airport and Tokyo's Haneda Airport. Buses from Narita to JR Omiya leave hourly and take about two hours, while buses from Haneda take about 90 minutes.
Coming from Tokyo there are various train lines that run into and through Saitama prefecture:
By JR Takasaki or Utsunomiya Line
Tokyo's Ueno Station and Saitama's Omiya Stations are connected by frequently departing trains along the JR Takasaki and JR Utsunomiya Lines .
By JR Shonan Shinjuku Line or Saikyo Line
Frequent trains along the JR Shonan-Shinjuku Line and rapid trains along the JR Saikyo Line travel from Tokyo's Shinjuku Station to Saitama's Omiya Station in about 30 minutes. The trains also stop at Shibuya and Ikebukuro Stations.
By Shinkansen (bullet train)
The Shinkansen takes 25 minutes to reach Omiya from Tokyo Station.
- CLIMATE/ TEMPERATURE
- Saitama is known for having the best weather in Japan and as the prefecture with the highest number of sunny days.
Summers can get very hot and humid while winters can be very cold and dry, especially early in the morning or late at night. It rarely snows in Saitama.
Spring and autumn have relatively mild temperatures but it can get cold in the morning or late at night.
- WHAT TO WEAR
- During summer, you should be fine if you wear a short-sleeved shirt, t-shirt or a dress.
In the winter, be sure to bring warm clothes such as winter coat or jacket, hat, scarf and gloves. Winter boots are not necessary but be sure to bring warm shoes.
For the spring and autumn a light jacket or sweater should keep you warm.
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