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Saitama Travel Guide Edo inspiration and natural beauty

Saitama is one of the largest prefectures near Tokyo. A visit to Saitama offers you mountain climbing, hiking, natural beauty, hot springs, a variety of other outdoor activities as well as traditional food. You can check into a top ranting hotels - Urawa Royal Pines Hotel after a golf break and enjoy the artwork at the Urawa Museum nearby. Access from Tokyo by train is only about 25 minutes from Tokyo Station or by car depending on traffic you can be in Saitama in around 40 minutes. 

Things to do

Spring Azalea Saitama Prefecture Flower Park

Saitama prefecture is a popular weekend or short holiday getaway.  If you are looking for some “closer to Tokyo trips”, you will find many nature parks, mountains, historically relevant sightseeing spots and golf courses there.

Why not find some Edo period inspiration at Kawagoe? Known as the “Little Edo City”, the buildings are preserved from the traditional samurai period. The streets  are often crowded with photographers and tourists who want to experience old Japan.

If you are a fan of outdoor activities, then try the wooden river boats in Nagatoro, surrounded by amazing seasonal flowers. 

You can have some very hands-on experiences in Saitama. Japanese sake is a famous local drink. During winter you can visit several local breweries, sign up a tour, and learn about the process of Japanese sake (rice wine) production.

Flavors of Saitama

Local Saitama udon noodles and dipping sauce

As you travel around the Japanese prefectures, you will discover local foods that you can’t miss. You might find similar dishes but somehow they are always a little bit different and definitely worth a try.

Saitama’s famous local must-try is an udon dish called Hiyajiru Udon. The unique part of this dish is the soup that you dip your noodles in. The soup is made of miso, sesame seeds, dashi (stock) and local seasonings. Udon is very healthy, so it will perfect tostart your day of exploring or finish your one day adventure. You should also make sure to try a local dessert - Azukisukui. Made with adzuki (sweet red) beans and bowl shape noodles made with wheat flour this is one the oldest Saitama traditional deserts. 

Photo: Saitama udon and dipping sauce by Kawahimo


Events & Seasonal Happenings

Autumn Flowers

Exploring Japan you can find a variety of events during every seson. Saitama is a place to experience nature and a peaceful life. During spring/summer time, you can see a Japanese traditional hand-craft dolls tour and floating Hina dolls (for prayers for health and good luck for children) at the "Doll Town" Iwatsuki. Other popular events focus on different kinds of seasonal flower festivals. The most popular is the Chichibu Shibazakura (Azalea) festival. You many want to try a local onsen (hotspring) and some traditional local dishes.

In the Autumn/winter time, all the cherry blossom and summer flowers will turn into autumn leaves in Hitsujiyama Park, located in Chichibu city. Or you can enjoy a traditional market at the Hikawa Shrine featuring street foods, and good luck charms.

Photo Saitama flowers by Tanaka Juuyoh

What to Bring Back

You will want to find some local souvenirs to remember your adventures in Saitama. Traditional food souvenirs are always a good choice and Saitama also has a selection of many handmade crafts that you can bring home as a unique gift or treat.

If you are a food lover you will find such Sayama Green Tea, Koi Imo, Soka Senbei (rice crackers) and so many kinds of local foods. Why not also try some truly unique. One popular handmade souvenir made by the Tadayasu Company - is a miniature Samurai Battle Helmet and armour, a truly memorable keepsake from Saitama. 

 Photo by Tadayasy Co. official website:

Wrap up

Cherry Tree and hiking path in Saitama

Saitama is an amazing prefecture, but it is often overlooked because it is so close to Tokyo. Exploring here is perfect for people who want to get away from the big city’s high-speed lifestyle and enjoy a peaceful, historic and relaxing atmosphere.

Getting there

From Tokyo

Tokyo Station to Omiya Station

- By JR Takasaki or Utsunomiya Line about 30 minutes (one way ticket 550 yen)

- By Shinkansen price from 1620 yen depends the seats condition about 25 minutes


Shinjuku Station to Omiya Station

By JR Shonan Shinjuku Line or JR Saikyo Line about 30 minutes  (one way ticket 470 yen)


From Osaka

- By air from Osaka airport to Tokyo Haneda about 1 hour (from 9000 yen)

- By Shinkansen about 4 hour (from 15,400 yen)

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