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For a quick breath of fresh mountain air

If you’re looking for a no-hassle escape from the city life, Saitama is the place to run to.

While Tokyo’s metropolitan sprawl swallows most of eastern Saitama, the prefecture’s western borders remain safe havens of rural tradition, preserved history, and a rocky mountainous landscape. Mount Fuji is visible across much of Saitama like a watchful guardian of the natural beauty that lies just beyond the grey commuter towns.

Since everything in Saitama is within a 100-kilometer distance of Japan’s capital, it’s one of the region’s most accessible destinations for day trips, offering a quick escape from the urban grind.


Kawagoe old town in Saitama.

Explore the streets of Kawagoe.

For a taste of traditional Japan, it’s a 30-minute train ride to the former castle town Kawagoe, also known as “Little Edo.” Picturesque alleyways lined with historic houses and quaint shops offer up sweet potatoes—a local specialty—in various surprising forms. Sweet potato ice cream, anyone?

11 Things You Can Do in Saitama

The most famous road in Kawagoe is Kurazukuri Street. The area was once an important warehouse district for wealthy merchants. To protect their livelihoods from fires, they built unique clay-walled buildings to store their products. Many of these buildings still remain.

Other popular spots are Kashiya Yokocho (candy alley) and Taisho-roman Street where you can find traditional Japanese sweets and beautiful Taisho-era architecture. Kawagoe also has an abundance of shrines and temples.

Saitama through the seasons

Nagatoro in Saitama, Japan

Nagatoro makes an awesome quiet day trip from Tokyo.


Head further into the mountains to Nagatoro, a small but scenic town that takes full vantage of its position along the raging Arakawa River by offering a variety of outdoor sports from traditional river boating to whitewater rafting to paragliding. There are camping spots, hot springs, and plenty of other activities for a proper outdoorsy weekend in summer, though there’s really no bad time to visit!


Transfer at Kawagoe Station for Hidaka’s scenic countryside, which is especially beautiful during autumn when Kinchakuda Park transforms into a sea of blood-red spider lilies.

Winter and spring

See the spectacular shibazakura at the base of Mount Fuji.

See the spectacular shibazakura at the base of Mount Fuji in late April.

Chichibu is also a popular mountain getaway. The area receives a spike of visitors in late April to Hitsujiyama Park to see the shibazakura, a giant pink and purple carpet of tiny moss phlox, and again in December for the jam-packed and very rowdy Chichibu Night Festival.

Plan your trip to Saitama with the links below!


11 Things You Can Do in Saitama

Expect the unexpected with gorgeous scenery, immaculately-preserved history and wonderfully quirky attractions (including Finnish hippopotamuses).


Places to visit

Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine

Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine

Situated in the heart of Kawagoe in  Saitama Prefecture, lies Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine. It is a popular destination for those seeking help with matrimonial happiness and matchmaking.

Hodosan Shrine

Hodosan Shrine

At the foot of Mount Hodo lies Hodosan, a shrine built to safeguard against natural disasters.

Mitsumine Shrine

Mitsumine Shrine

Sitting at the summit of picturesque Mount Mitsumine is the ancient Mitsumine shrine.

chichibu shrine

Chichibu Shrine

Chichibu Shrine is filled with a legacy of beautiful architecture and history.

Heirinji Temple

Heirin-ji Temple

A centuries-old shrine, Heirin-ji, nestled in a forest near Tokyo is considered one of the most beautiful autumn places in Saitama.

Johnson Town in Saitama, Japan.

Johnson Town

Japan's own little slice of 1950's America.

TeamLab: Resonating Life in the Acorn Forest

TeamLab: Resonating Life in the Acorn Forest

A soothing melody echoes through the woods at teamLab’s newest permanent installation in Saitama.

Ashigakubo icicles, Saitama

Icicles of Ashigakubo

Chichibu’s icy winter wonderland attraction!


Sip some tea with Totoro in this Saitama town overflowing with nature.

Oshi Castle

Check out samurai re-enactments at this “Flying Castle” just a day trip away from Tokyo.

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Quirky, outdoorsy, dreamy. Frozen waterfalls are just the start of this wonderland.

Pocky Factory

Behold, the Japanese equivalent of Charlie's chocolate works: the Pocky factory.

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Toyama Memorial Museum

A walk through the everyday life of a not so everyday person.

Hundred Caves of Yoshimi in Saitama

The Hundred Caves of Yoshimi

Glimpse into the afterlife at these mysterious graves.

"Cherry tree on the hill, Sakitama Kofun, Saitama, Japan"

Sakitama Kofun Park

Borrow a bicycle and spend the day riding alongside the passage of time to these ancient burial mounds.

Bonsai on display.

Omiya Bonsai Village

Experience hundreds of different narratives through the knots and leaves of a beautifully curated bonsai forest.

A bath at the Ofuro Cafe Utatane in Saitama.

Ofuro Cafe Utatane

Coffee and bathing in this hybrid hub of relaxation.

Kitamoto Ishito Kabazakura


Home to one of the five greatest cherry blossom trees in all of Japan.

Paper hanging to dry. You can make your own washi at the Saitama Crafts Center in Ogawa.

Saitama Craft Center

Take home a piece of Japanese culture by making washi in the traditional way.

Pink lotus and bud at Gyoda in Saitama

Gyoda Ancient Lotus Park

Prehistoric flowers and record-breaking rice paddy art at this park in rural Saitama.

Close up portrait of White Tiger for Tobu Zoo in Saitama.

Tobu Zoo

Hybrid leisure at its finest.

Fukaya Cinema

On the outskirts of Saitama, this half-theater-half-museum is a chance to slip through time.

Shopping in japan: Koshigaya LakeTown

Koshigaya LakeTown

Japan's largest mall is also its friendliest.

Nagatoro in Saitama, Japan


A mountain day getaway.


A record-breaking town.

Saitama, Japan - September 20, 2014: Saitamashintoshin Station. The majority of the people walk towards the Saitama Super Arena that can be glimpsed through the windows to the right. Ahead tall office buildings rise - including the NTT DoCoMo Saitama building on the right.

Saitama Shintoshin

Ideal for a family-friendly day out.


Step into Kawagoe and step into the past, back when Tokyo wasn't all high-rise buildings and neon lights – back when it was still called Edo.

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Manhole cover in Ghibli museum, Tokyo-Japan.

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