20 Things To Do In Saitama

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Saitama is a small prefecture that is part of the Greater Tokyo metropolitan area. Although there’s plenty to do in Tokyo, if you’re heading to Japan’s busiest city and are looking for fun day trips, cities like Kawagoe, Omiya and Chichibu in Saitama are a good place to start. Saitama offers a blend of natural beauty and urban sophistication. From modern museums to historic shrines, parks and historic Edo Period cities, there are plenty of things to do in Saitama. It’s also easy to get there from Tokyo.

Saitama, Japan

Planning Your Trip To Saitama

  • Airport transfers: Book the Tokyo Skyliner transfer from Tokyo Airport to/from the city. A Tokyo subway ticket will get you around the city.
  • Where to stay: Research accommodation options in Saitama on booking.com.
  • eSims: It’s a great idea to get one with ample data as Google Maps is very useful in Japan. Choose an eSIM plan here.
  • JR Pass: Consider pre-ordering a JR Pass before you leave your home country if you’re planning on taking long-distance Shinkansen rides.
  • Book tickets in advance: If you’re planning on spending time in Tokyo during your Japan trip, many popular attractions (such as Tokyo Disneyland and Shibuya Sky) are booked out and you will need to purchase tickets in advance. A convenient way to do this easily online is through Klook, Viator or GetYourGuide.
  • Google Translate: Don’t forget to download Google Translate on your smartphone as you will find this app handy at restaurants where there’s no English menu.

20 Things To Do In Saitama

1- See Magical Pink Moss At Hitsujiyama Park

pink carpet of flowers
One of the best things to do in Saitama is to see the shibazakura.

Hitsujiyama Park is a beautiful spot in Chichibu and it’s well known for its beautiful scenery and vibrant pink moss fields.

Visitors from across Japan flock here to see the stunning pink hues of moss that bloom in late April and early May.

The pink moss is called shibazakura and it comes in a variety of pink, purple and white tones.

You can walk along the pathways in and out of the moss while looking at the mountains in the background.

Hitsujiyama Park is at 6360 Omiya, Chichibu, Saitama 368-0023. Join a tour of Chichibu to see the area’s highlights.


2- Explore The Historic Edo Era City Kawagoe

Bell Of Kawagoe And Ochido
Seeing the Bell Of Kawagoe And Ochido is one of the things to do in Saitama prefecture.

Head to Kawagoe and you will find a small town that is referred to as “Little Edo”.

The Edo Period in Japan was between 1603 and 1863 when the Tokugawa family ruled Japan and the city of Edo is now what we know as modern-day Tokyo.

Visiting Little Edo in Kawagoe is like stepping back in time, a world away from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo.

There’s a lot to see in Kawagoe and if you are staying in Tokyo, you’ll need to spend a full day.

Head to the main street Kurazukuri and you will find old buildings made from clay and the wooden Toki-no-Kane (bell tower).

Other activities to enjoy include visiting museums, checking out shops and purchasing some yummy traditional Japanese sweets.

Edo Era City is at 〒350-0053 Saitama, Kawagoe, Kuruwamachi, 2 Chome−13−番地.

3- Wander Around The Omiya Bonsai Art Museum

Wandering around the Omiya Bonsai Art Museum is one of the best things to do in Saitama for fans of bonsai.

Bonsai was introduced to Japan from China during the Heian Period (8th – 12th centuries).

The Omiya Bonsai Art Museum is a space dedicated to the living art of bonsai and the world’s first museum dedicated solely to the traditional bonsai artform.

Originally, it was thought that bonsai trees were the dwelling place of deities but now they are known for their elegance, patience, commitment and perfectly pruned branches.

This bonsai museum has more than 120 bonsai trees, some around 1,000 years old.

The museum even hosts bonsai workshops and festivals throughout the year.

The Omiya Bonsai Art Museum is at 〒331-0804 Saitama, Kita Ward, Torocho, 2 Chome−24−3.

4- Enjoy Pop Culture At Tokorozawa Sakura Town

Tokorozawa Sakura Town is an impressive modern building designed by Kengo Kuma and inside this complex there’s everything to do with pop-culture.

Tokorozawa Sakura Town is a multipurpose complex that has museums, a modern shrine, shopping, KTV, cafes and mouth-watering ramen noodles.

Throughout the year Tokorozawa Sakura Town hosts anime and gaming events.

Step inside the Kadokawa Culture Museum and you will be mesmerised by the 8-metre (26 ft) high bookshelf theatre.

This library contains 37,000 novels, comic books and youth literature.

If you are an anime or manga fan, then head to the EJ Anime Museum.

If you are traveling here from Tokyo, it will take around 50 minutes from Shinjuku train station.

Tokorozawa Sakura Town is at 3 Chome-31-3 Higashitokorozawawada, Tokorozawa, Saitama 359-0023.

5- Experience Visual Arts At TeamLab: Resonating Life in the Acorn Forest

TeamLab is an international art collective that showcases art through technology.

TeamLab is a Japanese based organization but there are art exhibition experiences across Asia and many cropping up around the world.

While you can find the TeamLab Borderless experience in Tokyo, Saitama has the “Resonating Life in the Acorn Forest ” art installation.

This permanent digital art installation is in Tokorozawa City.

An acorn forest has been transformed and illuminated by lights and the forest floor is covered in these unusually shaped egg sculptures.

It’s a magical place to visit and it’s best viewed at night when the colours and light show is in full swing.

TeamLab: Resonating Life in the Acorn Forest is at Musashino Woods Park in Higashi-Tokorozawa Park, 3-9, Higashi-Tokorozawa Wada, Tokorozawa City, Saitama Prefecture 359-0023.

6- Check Out The Railway Museum

steam train
One of the things to do in Saitama for railway enthusiasts is to visit the railway museum.

If you are traveling to Saitama with kids or if you are enthusiastic about trains and transportation, you will love the Railway Museum.

The railway company JR East first opened this museum in 2007.

This museum displays old train cars, has a variety of simulators, and showcases how railway technology has evolved in Japan.

They have an array of steam and diesel locomotives as well as retired shinkansen (Japan’s bullet trains).

If you have travelled anywhere in Japan by shinkansen, it’s interesting to visit this museum to see just how far the locomotive industry has come in Japan.

The Railway Museum is at Japan, 〒330-0852 Saitama, Omiya Ward, Onaricho, 3 Chome−4. Reserve tickets to the Railway Museum here.

7- Marvel At The Sakura Garden In Gongendo Park

Head to Gongendo Park and you will be able to feel the delights of nature, surrounded by cherry blossoms.

The Sakura Garden inside Gongendo Park has 1000 Yoshino cherry trees that stand side by side for around 1km.

The are beautiful pink cherry blossoms and the park floor is covered with vivacious yellow rapeseed.

The best time of year to head to Gongendo Park is in spring when the flowers and blossoms are in full bloom.

However, if you visit in June, you will be treated to spectacularly hydrangeas, red spider lilies in September and daffodils in January.

Take a stroll, take photos and enjoy being surrounded by nature.

Gongendo Park is at 887-3 Uchigouma, Satte, Saitama 340-0103.

8- Visit The Unusual Underground Discharge Channel

This isn’t exactly the most common of tourist destinations but it’s an impressive place to visit.

Have you ever wanted to go to an underground discharge channel facility? No? Well, it might be more interesting than it sounds.

This pressurized water tank is in Kasukabe in Saitama Prefecture around 20 miles from central Tokyo and you can access the site by train.

Tokyo is low lying and therefore vulnerable to flooding during the typhoon season.

Because of these, authorities embarked on a project to build the world’s largest underground flood diversion facilities.

This was all designed to mitigate disasters so if you have any interest in urban planning or architecture, then this place is well worth visiting.

The facilities are now open to the public and you can take a paid tour.

Head to the Ryukyukan Underground Exploration Museum to learn about the building of the tank and natural disaster prevention.

Underground Discharge Channel is at 685 Nishikananoi, Kasukabe, Saitama 344-0112.

9- Let The Kids Play At Moomin Valley Park

Moomin is a comic strip written by Finnish writer and illustrator Tove Jansson.

Moomins are cute white, hippo-like characters that are trolls and despite its Scandinavian origins, the cartoon is very popular in Japan.

Moomin Valley Park is an excellent Saitama destination to take the children and is a theme park centered around Moomin.

It is the first of its kind outside of Finland.

The park is a combination of natural spaces and entertainment.

There are performances, a three-storey museum, a zipline and an outdoor playground on Lonely Mountain.

Moomin Valley Park is at 327-6 Miyazawa, Hanno, Saitama 357-0001. Skip the lines and book your tickets here.

10- See The Icicles Of Misotsuchi

things to do saitama
Exploring the Icicles Of Misotsuchi is one of the interesting things to do in Saitama.

Japan excels at winter illuminations and Misotsuchi is one of the best.

Between mid-January and late February people flock to Misotsuchi no Tsurara.

These natural icicles are a whopping 30 metres (98 ft) wide and 10 metres (32 ft) high.

When the sun sets beautiful colourful illuminations are projected on the icicles creating a magical winter wonderland.

Visiting these icicles, a lovely winter activity and coupled with a soak at Otaki Onsen, it’s a perfect way to spend an evening.

The icicles of Misotsuchi are at 4066-2 Otaki, Chichibu, Saitama 369-1901.

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11- Visit The Old Musashi Ichinomiya Hikawa Jinja

The Old Musashi Ichinomiya Hikawa Jinja is a Shinto shrine that was founded in 473 BCE.

When you think of a Japanese shrine you will probably think of that rich red/orange colour and Musashi Shrine is no exception.

This shrine is popular in Saitama and it’s only around a 20-minute walk from Omiya Station.

It was once the head Shinto shrine of Musashi Province (present day Greater Tokyo).

The shrine is surrounded by lush greenery and there’s also a bridge set across a pond.

It’s a tranquil place to appreciate Japanese culture and learn more about Shinto.

Old Musashi Ichinomiya Hikawa Jinja is at Japan, 〒330-0803 Saitama, Omiya Ward, Takahanacho, 1−407.

12- Stroll Around Omiya Park

If you are looking for a beautiful outdoor spot in Saitama, then head to Omiya Park.

There’s a stunning Japanese garden, a zoo, a plus forest, sports facilities and even the Saitama Museum of History and Folklore.

Omiya Park Zoo even has an open bird sanctuary that you can walk right through.

During cherry blossom season from late March to early April Omiya Park bursts into different hues of pink.

It’s a wonderful spot for a picnic and to relax on the grass.

Omiya Park is at 4 Chome Takahanacho, Omiya Ward, Saitama, 330-0803.

13- Appreciate History At Tsukinomiya Shrine

Another excellent shrine to visit in Saitama is Tsukinomiya Shrine, which has an interesting theme because many of the small statues are rabbits.

Right by the shrine there is Tsukinomiya Park that you can visit and take a stroll around.

There is also an antique fair held at Tsukinomiya Shrine, with more than 150 vendors selling a variety of antiques.

Tsukinomiya Shrine is at 3 Chome-17-25 Kishicho, Urawa Ward, Saitama, 330-0064.

14- Watch A Professional Saitama Seibu Lions Baseball Game

The Saitama Seibu Lions play their games at the Belluna Dome in Tokorozawa, Saitama, and is one of the most respected teams in Japan.

Watching a game at the Belluna Dome is always fun!

The atmosphere is electric, the supporters are enthusiastic and there’s plenty of entertainment especially if the home team is on a winning run.

The Belluna Dome is at 2135 Kamiyamaguchi, Tokorozawa, Saitama 359-1153.

15- Feel The Thrill Of Rafting In Nagatoro

chichibu saitama
Exploring Chichibu is one of the things to do in Saitama prefecture.

Rafting with Outdoor Center Nagatoro is an excellent way to spend time on the river and in nature.

This rafting center is just five minutes’ walk from Nagatoro station.

When rafting you will be heading down the Arakawa River.

You will start off with paddling techniques and a safety introduction before a 3.5 km rafting experience.

After an hour of rafting, there’s still time to take a dip in the river.

This is a fun adrenaline activity that allows you to explore three rapids and swim near waterfalls.

Outdoor Center Nagatoro is at 1429 Nagatoro, Chichibu District, Saitama 369-1305.

16- Taste Senbei Rice Crackers

Japanese Rice Crackers
Tasting Shimeya (Senbei Rice Crackers) is one of the interesting things to do in Saitama Japan.

The city of Soka in Saitama is famous for its Senbei rice crackers.

Senbei is made by baking stretched rice.

Soka Senbei is the most popular rice cracker brand in Japan, so it feels only appropriate to try the snack when visiting Soka.

The snack is said to have originated in the city.

Soka itself has more than 50 senbei shops where you can even try and make your own snacks.

From classic every Senbei to expensive 1000 Yen crackers made by professionals; whichever you try they won’t disappoint.

17- Get Creative At Saitama Craft Center

The Saitama Craft Center displays local, traditional handicrafts from 20 production districts.

When visiting the crafts center you can try out many of the traditional Japanese crafts, like washi tape making.

The craft center has an exhibition room, a gallery, an event hall, and a restaurant.

The Saitama Craft Center is at 515 Ōtsuka, Ogawa-machi, Hiki-gun, Saitama-ken 355-0328.

18- Appreciate Intricate Japanese Dolls At Iwatsuki Ningyo Museum

Japanese Dolls
Appreciating Japanese Dolls at the Iwatsuki Ningyo Museum is one of the cool things to do in Saitama.

The Iwatsuki Ningyo Museum is a handicraft museum in the Iwatsuki Ward of Saitama.

Ningyo is a Japanese word meaning “human figures” and you can learn all about this rich culture at this museum.

Iwatsuki is famous for its ningyo production.

At the museum you can see ningyo collections from the 18th century as well as hina ningyo (dolls from the hina Matsuri doll festival).

Many of these special dolls have been passed down through the generations and are a precious part of Japanese culture.

The Iwatsuki Ningyo Museum is at 6 Chome-1-1 Honcho, Iwatsuki Ward, Saitama, 339-0057.

19- Visit The Kinchakuda Higanbana Fields

If you are visiting Saitama in autumn, then you must head to the Kinchakuda Higanbana fields.

Red Spider Lily or manjushage in Japanese, are beautiful red flowers that start blooming in mid-September.

Once upon a time in Japan these flowers symbolized death and were known as “hell flowers” or “ghost flowers”.

Today they go by the name Higanbana, which now marks the beginning of autumn.

Visiting these fields is an excellent idea especially if you love photography.

Kinchakuda Higanbana Fields is at 125-2 Komahongo, Hidaka, Saitama 350-1251.

20- Go Canoeing On Tamayodo Lake

Lake Tamayodo is formed by a dam constructed in Yorii town on the Arakawa River.

This artifical lake has clear waters and is surrounded by lovely forests.

People head to the lake during summer for relaxation and time on the water, canoeing and rafting at the dam.

Some of the waterways you can paddle down are narrow and surrouding by an almost full canopy of trees creating a magical atmosphere.

Pack a full lunch and all your outdoor gear and spend the day by Tamayodo Lake.

Tamayodo Lake is at 1026 Orihara, Yorii, Osato District, Saitama 369-1234.

For more about Japan, read:

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Harriet Comley
Harriet Comley is a travel enthusiast, freelance travel writer and a lover of safaris. Since 2017 she has been travelling the globe living in the UK, Canada, Vietnam, China and now Zambia, where she is completing her PhD in Sustainable Tourism. For 3 1/2 years she taught English in Vietnam and China. Now she has turned her attention to writing, having contributed to a number of travel blogs and websites always focusing on what she loves most…exploring!