Saitama, though unknown to most foreign travelers, has several magnificent sightseeing spots. Read on to find out the best things to do in Saitama, Japan!
Saitama is only a short ride from Tokyo. If you are in Tokyo, you can quite easily plan a day trip to Saitama and enjoy the glorious beauty of the place.
Saitama bathes in local history, traditional Japanese culture, and tons of exhilarating outdoor activities. Plan a day trip, or stay for a few nights to soak in the brilliant vibes of this place.
Not sure what you can do here? Here are the best things to do in Saitama, Japan that will make you want to pack your bags and head over to this beautiful prefecture.
Related: Here are the best things to do in Urahara, the backstreets of Harajuku
Best Things To Do In Saitama, Japan
- Best Things To Do In Saitama, Japan
- Visit Tokorozawa Sakura Town
- Take a Kotatsu Boat Ride
- Visit the Sayama Ski Resort
- Chichibu Meisen Museum
- Visit Kawagoe – Saitama’s Little Edo
- Take a Japanese Sake Tour
- Flower Gazing in Chichibu
- Visit the Bonsai Museum
- Saitama Railway Museum
- The Icicles of Misotsuchi
- Fiery Red Higanbana in Kinchakuda
- River Boating in Nagatoro
- Hikawa Shrine
- Experience a Float Festival – Chichibu Yomatsuri
- Eat Saitama Food
- Things to do in Saitama Japan – FAQs
- What to do in Saitama in Winter?
- What is famous food in Saitama?
Visit Tokorozawa Sakura Town
Tokorozawa Sakura Town is a perfect getaway from the urban ocean of concrete
skyscrapers and neon signs. In this sleepy little hamlet, visitors are treated to a variety of cherry blossoms that can be found in the area.
When the trees are in bloom, the vibrant hues of pink, white, and yellow make the surroundings come to life, transforming the old town streets into something breathtakingly beautiful. Strolling around this town is a pleasure in itself!
The town is proud to house some of the oldest remaining cherry blossom trees in Japan, some dating back centuries. Through these ancient trees, visitors can learn much about the cultural and historical significance of the trees in traditional Japanese culture and folklore.
According to a local legend, the cherry blossoms in the town were gifted by the gods themselves.
In addition to the trees, there are numerous other attractions in the town. Its quaint little mountainside cafes, its picturesque shrines, and its peaceful ponds make up a perfect day out.
Footpaths weave through this peaceful corner of the city, where visitors can take leisurely walks and relax amidst the beauty of nature. The area is also known for its delectable local cuisines and specialties, including the signature Sakura Blossom Tea.
Make sure to also visit the Kadokawa Culture Museum. This fascinating museum is located in Fujimi, Saitama and houses exhibits and displays on a wide range of cultural offerings from Japan, including literature, films, anime, and traditional crafts.
One of the highlights of the museum is the Kadokawa Culture Room, which features displays of introductory films and a variety of documents about their major works, such as novels and films, as well as various collections related to their respective genres.
The museum also has a space for lectures and experience events about Kadokawa’s past and present projects. They also offer interactive activities, such as the chance to take part in a voice acting challenge or join in on board games.
Visitors can easily get to Tokorozawa Sakura Town from nearby Saitama City by train. During the blooming season, the train stops at various stations designated as shibazakura hako, or “cherry blossom boxes”.
Whether you’re looking for a relaxing escape to a peaceful oasis, or just want to marvel in awe of the vibrant pink of the blooming sakura, Tokorozawa Sakura Town is a great place to explore. Make sure to make it a part of your Japan travel itinerary!
- For more info visit: https://tokorozawa-sakuratown.com/
- Contact: +81570017396
- Address: Japan, 〒359-0023 Saitama, Tokorozawa, Higashitokorozawawada, 3 Chome−３１−3
Take a Kotatsu Boat Ride
One of the most delightful activities to do in Saitama, Japan is to take a kotatsu boat ride. Whether you are visiting the prefecture for leisure or business, a day spent taking a kotatsu boat tour along the tranquil waters of Saitama is one to remember.
Kotatsu boats, sometimes known as furikaburi boats, are small, lightweight vessels powered by paddling, propelled by two to three persons navigating the waters.
Seated on mats, the passengers are sheltered from the sun’s rays, as well as from the ever-changing temperature of the Saitama climate.
The boats meander along rivers, providing a wonderful opportunity to capture some stunningly serene views, as the peaceful environment of nature presents itself at its best.
The birds soaring in the sky, an occasional splash of a fish jumping in the water, and a pleasing distraction of water lilies growing in the reeds – all these together present a picturesque landscape for a unique experience.
The ride itself is also unparalleled in its leisure – unhurried, tranquil and relaxed. The slow, peaceful motion of the kotatsu boat envelops the passengers with a sense of instant relaxation, a respite from the hustle and bustle of the everyday world.
Not only do you get to explore the beauty of the area, but you also get to enjoy genuine peace of mind. All in all, it makes for a truly unique experience.
During the ride, there are plenty of interesting sights to see, with friendly locals often ready to interact. The people of Saitama take great pride in their prefecture and culture and are always more than happy to share stories and show off their beloved riverbanks.
Visit the Sayama Ski Resort
If you’re looking for an amazing skiing experience in Saitama, the Sayama Ski Resort in Saitama, Japan, is a must-visit destination. Impressively located near the slopes of Mount Kumotori, the resort offers plenty of fun for the whole family.
When you first arrive, you’ll be welcomed with pristine snow-covered alps and stunning vistas. You can spend all day on the ski lifts that take you to the top of Mount Kumotori.
At the summit, you will find stunning chapels and picturesque forests that lend a serene and calming atmosphere. You can make the most of the slopes and trails, downhill skiing and snowboarding.
Whether you’re an expert or just a beginner, Sayama Ski Resort offers a great skiing experience.
For something a little more adventurous, you can try snow tubing or snowmobile riding. You will fly through the powdery snow while enjoying the magnificent views.
Check out the ski resorts’ ski school too, where you can receive lessons and guidance so you can master the alps and enjoy a safe and enjoyable ski trip.
For your enjoyment, Sayama Ski Resort also offers a wonderful selection of food and beverage options. Enjoy a hot cup of cocoa, or a hot wine. You can find a delicious snack bar at the resort and great restaurants a fifteen minute drive away.
On top of all of the great ski activities and food, the Sayama Ski Resort offers one-of-a-kind shopping experiences. From souvenirs that you can take home to Japan to the latest winter and sport style fashion, you will surely find something to bring home with you.
- Address: 2167 Kamiyamaguchi, Tokorozawa, Saitama 359-1153, Japan
Chichibu Meisen Museum
If you’re looking to dive into a bit of Japan’s artisanal history, then a visit to ChiChiBu Meisen Museum is a great place to start!
Located in Saitama, the museum was established to honor the history of the Meisen kimono.
This signature style of cloth weaving was developed during the Taisho era and was a trademark of Saitama prefecture during its heyday, boasting vibrant colors and unique patterns.
Upon arriving at Chichibu Meisen Museum, be sure to take your time as you stroll through the first floor, which houses a comprehensive gallery of various patterned kimonos from the Taisho era.
As you wander about and marvel at the wonderful craftwork, take a moment to learn about the history of the Meisen kimono through the detailed displays, paintings and recordings the museum staff have put together.
Be sure to admire the distinctive patterns, such as the “Kicho-dari” – small, repeating diamond shapes – which has become synonymous with the Meisen style of Kimono.
Once you’ve taken your fill of the Meisen fabrics, move on to the second floor.
Here you’ll find an interactive room packed with machines and tools used to make these hand-crafted kimonos in the past.
Choose to take part in a festive demonstration as you learn how to dye fabrics, or experience a hands-on workshop in “itajime” – a distinct folding technique used to create diamond-shaped patterns.
With the help of a friendly demonstrator, you’ll be able to create a one-of-a-kind snippet of the classic Meisen kimono style in no time!
Finally, why not finish up the day with a stroll through the quaint souvenir shop?
From colorful kimonos and patterns to magnets and other knick-knacks, the store has something to offer everyone looking to take a bit of the museum and its vibrant Meisen-style home with them.
Treat yourself to a traditional cultural experience after your visit as you take with you a bit of the museum and its experienced craftsmanship.
- For more info visit: http://www.meisenkan.com/
- Contact: +81494212112
- Timing: 9 AM–4 PM
- Address: 28-1 Kumagimachi, Chichibu, Saitama 368-0032, Japan
Visit Kawagoe – Saitama’s Little Edo
Kawagoe is known as ‘Little Edo’. Kawagoe is a picturesque town with a lot of historical buildings, including shrines, restaurants, as well as souvenir shops. It is a classic example of traditional Japanese architecture with buildings that are absolutely photogenic.
The alleyways are mesmerizingly beautiful; you cannot help but notice the magnificence of these alleys with artisan stores selling sweets like Japanese sweet potato, a specialty of Kawagoe.
It is a place where you can walk for hours and still want to explore more. Visiting this enchanting town is one of the best things to do in Kawagoe.
Take a Japanese Sake Tour
Saitama is famous for its Sake, with about 35 breweries located throughout the prefecture, it provides you with every opportunity to get acquainted with the local favorite. There is no better way to spend a holiday in Saitama than by being happily drunk on Sake.
You can take a Sake tour in any one of the local breweries and see how this Japanese favorite comes to being.
A tour of the local breweries tells you the whole process and allows you to watch the process firsthand. And when that’s done, enjoy a freshly fermented batch of Sake!
Although the harvest period lasts from December to March, you need not worry about not getting the full experience if you visit any other time. Most of the breweries have a museum and a shop that is open all year round. This is definitely one of the best things to do in Saitama Japan!
Flower Gazing in Chichibu
Another interesting and stunning thing you can do in Saitama is to go flower-viewing. And mind you, this is not your basic flower-viewing experience. It is a magical carpet that enchants you with its beauty.
Now, as opposed to the Sake museum, flower viewing in Chichibu cannot be done all year round. The area sees a bloom of more than four hundred thousand tiny shibazakura (moss phlox) from mid-April to early May. You can witness this beautiful carpet of flowers during this short duration.
The flowers bloom in the ground and the swirling purple and pink rows make quite a photogenic scene that you must not miss!
Visit the Bonsai Museum
Bonsai means planting in trays; this beautiful art mesmerizes many all around the world and is one of the major attractions here. Saitama is famous for this traditional Japanese culture of gardening and also has a Bonsai museum dedicated to it.
If you are planning a trip to Saitama, you must definitely pay a visit to this museum to learn this art.
Bonsai Museum has seen a large number of people who are interested in this form of gardening, ever since the museum opened in 2010. In the museum, you will find several elaborate Bonsai arts on display.
You can visit several Bonsai spots around the museum to know more about this unique and magnificent way of gardening.
Saitama Railway Museum
The Railway Museum in Saitama is one of the largest railway museums in Japan. It is located in the city of Omiya in Saitama and was founded by a major Japanese railway company. The museum is a storehouse of knowledge about trains.
You will find real trains and old locomotives that used to run in Japan earlier. These beauties have now found home in this museum and are appreciated by all the visitors.
Although seeing all the trains is a great joy in itself, the museum has another attraction that makes it popular. Apart from train-viewing, you can experience driving stimulation of the modern train and locomotives. If you are traveling with kids, they are absolutely going to love this experience. It is one of the highly-recommended things to do in Saitama, Japan.
The Icicles of Misotsuchi
If you are visiting Saitama during the winter months, you cannot leave without seeing the icicles of Misotsuchi. These spectacular icicles form in Chichibu, which is well-known for its rich nature and mountains.
From mid-January to mid-February, there is a special light-up event. During this time, you can enjoy the pleasure of watching the icicles illuminated with colorful lights at night. The lights create a magical effect and make the whole experience more beautiful than it already is.
Fiery Red Higanbana in Kinchakuda
Another interesting thing to do in Saitama is to visit Kinchakuda. During Autumn, the fields of Kinchakuda gets filled with fiery red Hingabana, which is known as Red Spider Lily in English. The whole area looks stunningly red. You will get a lot of Instagram-worthy shots here.
The area holds ‘Kinchakuda Manjushage Festival’ from mid to late September. During this time, the fields are colored in red by about 500 million Hingabana flowers. Imagine the red beauty of the place. The glorious sight will keep you enchanted.
Other than that, Kinchakuda is also a popular spot to enjoy camping and BBQ.
River Boating in Nagatoro
Nagatoro is located in the north of Saitama and is a popular tourist site. There are a number of activities and attractions in this area to attract travelers. The area is rich in nature, which gives you opportunities to enjoy it immensely.
Nagatoro has several beautiful camping sites that are loved by campers from the metropolitan area.
One of the other most popular activities here is river cruising on a wooden boat. The spectacular blue mountain peaks soar above seasonal carpets of flowers. The whole setting of the place is so scenic, you would want to etch it in your memory forever. You will love this experience.
You can view seasonal flowers here such as cherry blossoms in spring and red-tinted leaves in autumn. The scene makes you want to sit with a canvas and watercolors and try to bring out the beauty of the place. Enjoy the scenic pleasures and enthralling activities of Nagatoro on your trip here.
Hikawa Shrine was founded about 2000 years ago in Omiya. It’s the head of 280 Hikawa Shrines all over Japan.
You will see a large footfall here during the New Year’s holidays when about 2 million people visit this shrine for worshipping.
The shrine is located in the huge Omiya park. The park also has a zoo, so if you are visiting the shrine, do not forget to visit the zoo. It will be loved by kids.
The park is not just popular for the shrine and the zoo, there are several other attractions that make it a popular spot. During the spring, the park is famous for the flourishing cherry blossoms. Springtime in Japan really is incomplete without cherry blossoms.
Experience a Float Festival – Chichibu Yomatsuri
You will have to plan your visiting dates if you want to witness the magnificent float festival in Saitama. Chichibu Yomatsuri is held on the 2nd and 3rd of December and is one of the top three float festivals in Japan.
Six huge floats that are ornately decorated with lanterns and tapestries are carried through the streets towards the City Hall. You can view these floats there, which is quite magnificent in itself. However, the real fun is in the fireworks that are displayed continuously for two hours.
But if you cannot visit during the festival, do not worry. The Chichibu Festival Hall is open all year round and has interesting information about the Float Festival.
Eat Saitama Food
No holiday is complete without filling your tummy with delicious local dishes, right? Saitama, in this sense, is going to make you never want to stop eating. Japan is a place with so many delectable food items that you simply cannot say no to, and Saitama keeps up to that.
During your holiday here, enjoy their rice crackers, sweet made from Japanese sweet potato, cold udon soup, steamed rice buns, and delicious ramen. And that’s just the beginning. The food diversity is magnificent.
Do not forget to take your stretchy pants with you, for the food here is so delicious, you wouldn’t want to stop.
Are you ready to plan your holiday in Saitama?
Saitama, which was quite unknown until 2009, is now a hub of cultural activities and brilliant sightseeing spots. Despite all of this, it is a place that offers calm and peace. If you want to get away from the hubbub of Tokyo, or any crowded place, head over to the meadows of Saitama and get lost in the mesmerizing beauty of architecture and nature.
Things to do in Saitama Japan – FAQs
What to do in Saitama in Winter?
Winter time is the best to visit The Icicles of Misotsuchi in Saitama. From mid-January to mid-February, there is a special event that lights up the icicles so you have the pleasure of watching the icicles illuminated with colorful lights at night. The lights create a magical effect and make the whole experience more beautiful than it already is.
How far is Saitama from Tokyo?
The distance between Saitama and Tokyo by road is 37km.
What is famous food in Saitama?
Saitama is specially known for its its dish – Grilled Eels (Unagi). Unagi restaurants in Kawagoe and Urawa are very popular.