This promotional video is packed full of Saitama Prefecture’s attractions ranging from numerous famous festivals, the retro-modern look of its towns, amusement parks with thrill rides you will want to try, luxury foods to local cuisine.
An introduction to Saitama Prefecture and its towns, which are so overflowing with attractions you won’t know where to go.
What kind of place is Saitama Prefecture?
The weather is often sunny in Saitama Prefecture, which is said to have the least amount of natural disasters in Japan.
Saitama Prefecture has a highly-developed transport network including railways and roads, and a diversity of industries have accumulated there. Access from central Tokyo is great for touring the prefecture and its many attractions. For example, there is the popular Kawagoe, whose streets have preserved the appearance of the Edo period, and the Chichibu/Nagatoro area where visitors can enjoy the great outdoors by, for example, river boating or fruit-picking.
Access to Saitama City, Saitama Prefecture
Coming by train – Takes about 30 minutes by the Shonan-shinjuku line from Shinjuku Station to Omiya Station
Takes about 25 minutes by any shinkansen line from Tokyo Station
Coming by car – Takes about 30 minutes from the Tohoku Expressway Iwatsuki interchange to the Omiya Station area.
Takes about 40 minutes from the Kanetsu Expressway Kawagoe interchange to the Omiya Station area
Three must-go places when you come to Saitama Prefecture!
Lined with ‘kura-style’ buildings, Ichiban Gai (Main Town) is home to the Osawa Family residence, a cultural asset of Japan, and there are many stores with old-fashioned signs evoking the past. Just by taking a walk around the town, you will feel like you have traveled back to the Edo period.
In the spring, the moss phlox in the Hitsujiyama park is a sight to behold. The sight of a carpet of pink flowers covering the hills between the mountains is breathtaking. In the winter, the Chichibu Yomatsuri night festival is recommended. Counted as one of the three major hikiyama (float) festivals of Japan, two magnificent kasaboko (combined umbrella and halberd) floats and four yatai floats are carried. The highlight of the festival is when the kasaboko floats, weighing up to 20 tons each, climb up a steep slope to the Otabisho (a place for the portable shrines to rest).
Visitors can float down the river marveling at the boatman’s incredible pole handling skill, while gazing at the “Iwadatami” layered rock formations and beautiful gorge, both symbols of Nagatoro. The thrilling rafting tour is also very popular.
Three must-eat things when you come to Saitama Prefecture!
Straw sandal katsu-don (Chichibu City)
Chichibu City’s most famous ‘class B gurume’ (delicious and inexpensive, back-street dishes), it consists of giant katsu (fried pork cutlets) dipped in a sauce made from an age-old recipe. Its name derives from the double portion of katsu, which are reminiscent of straw sandals. You usually lay the upper katsu on the bowl’s lid and start by eating the second katsu with the rice. This is the correct way to enjoy this dish, but feel free to eat it in any way you want.
Niboto (Fukaya City)
Niboto is a staple dish of Fukaya. Together with uncooked, wide noodles (about 2.5cm wide and 1.5mm thick), large helpings of the local specialty of Fukaya ‘negi’ green onions and locally-grown root vegetables are slowly-cooked in a stew. Cooking the noodles raw thickens the broth, which is flavored with soy-sauce.
Tofu ramen noodles (Saitama City)
This dish consists of tofu and mincemeat in a thick starchy sauce poured on noodles in a soy-sauce base soup. Visually similar to mapo-ramen, it has a refreshing, delicious taste.
Three must-buy souvenirs when you come to Saitama Prefecture!
Sayama tea is grown in relatively cool hilly terrain. The tea leaves are picked up to the nibancha (second tea crop), so it has a deep flavor. Its color is said to be reminiscent of Shizuoka tea, its aroma of Uji, and its flavor of Sayama.
Soka-senbei rice crackers
Made from non-glutinous rice, these crackers get their popularity from their brittle, crispy bite. It is said that they originally came from dried rice dumplings that were made to be preserved food sold at Soka-juku in the Edo period.
This is a pickle made with ‘shakushina’ vegetable, which has been grown instead of ‘hakusai’ (Chinese cabbage) in the Chichibu region at high altitude. Delicious when stir-fried and also goes great with manju (steamed yeast bun) and cooked bean paste.
Why not visit Saitama Prefecture and check out its other many attractions?
Saitama Prefecture – land of color