Japan City Guides: Saitama
- Saitama lies north-west of the capital, Tokyo.
- Japan's fastest-growing prefecture.
- historic castle-town Kawagoe 'old Edo' for kurazukuri warehouses, temples (Kita-in) and shrines.
- areas of scenic greenery and beauty.
- walking and hiking escapes from Tokyo.
- Saitama City's Omiya ward site of new Railway Museum.
- Interesting John Lennon Museum in Saitama City (now closed)
Saitama Prefecture has a bad rap as "da-saitama" (unfashionable Saitama), the blue collar precincts of northern Tokyo, but there is much to do and see here for day-trippers from the capital.
Kawagoe, 40 km north of Tokyo is an historic castle town noted for its kurazukuri - two-storey wooden merchants' houses some of which have been turned into interesting museums. These historic and pictuesque buildings are conveniently grouped to the north of Kawagoe Station.
The new (opened 2007) Railway Museum is extremely popular and fast becoming Saitama Prefecture's number one must-see place after the closure of the John Lennon Museum.
The Kita-in Temple north-east of Kawagoe station dates from the 9th century and contains the only surviving structures (an annex palace) from the original Edo Castle in Tokyo.
Kawagoe's main matsuri held in October is also one of the Tokyo region's most lively festivals with a parade of floats and costumed participants.
Nagatoro - shooting the rapids on the Arakawa River, boats from Oyahana-bashi near Kami-Nagatoro station; Saitama Stadium is the largest soccer-specific stadium in Japan and home to Urawa Reds - a J-League team with the most fervent fans in Japan.
John Lennon Museum in the superb Saitama Arena (Shintoshin station); The John Lennon Museum has now closed its doors.
Mitsumine-jinja in the Chichibu-Tama National Park.
Buildings near Omiya Station and the Japan Railway Museum
Downtown Omiya and Sonic City, Omiya, Saitama
There are various ways to get to Saitama from Tokyo.
Seibu Shinjuku Line from Tokyo Seibu Shinjuku station to Hon Kawagoe (55 mins).
Seibu Ikebukuro Line from Seibu Ikebukuro to Chichibu for Nagatoro.
From Tokyo 50 minutes via Namboku subway line to Urawa-Misono Station on the Saitama Railway Line and then a 15 minute walk to Saitama Stadium in Urawa.
Takasaki/Utsunomiya Line from Ueno to Shintoshin Station for the John Lennon museum or the Saikyo Line from Shinjuku to Kiya-yono Station.
Edo period buildings in Kawagoe in Saitama Prefecture
The Railway Museum in Omiya city, Saitama Prefecture