Saitama: The Land of Many Colours


The world is drawn to Saitama’s numerous attractions

Saitama is a diverse region endowed with rich natural blessings which flourish throughout every season. It is also highly developed in many fields, including industry, culture, and academia. Located on the Kanto Plain, the central and eastern areas of this inland prefecture are adjacent to the greater Tokyo conurbation and home to a countless number of dining and drinking establishments, as well as commercial facilities centered around Saitama Shintoshin, the prefecture’s principal business area. In the prefecture’s western Chichibu area, visitors can enjoy dramatic vistas of natural beauty, including the Okuchichibu Mountains and Nagatoro Gorge. The city of Kawagoe contains some remarkable historic buildings dating back to Japan’s Edo period, while a variety of agricultural crops are grown in the northern area of Saitama’s broad flatlands. Each part of the region has its own attractions.

Saitama has an extensive transport network, with six shinkansen (bullet train) lines, a railway network of 24 routes, and six highway networks that lead in all directions. Located only 100km from the central Tokyo metropolis, Saitama is a seat of industrial development, although local and traditional industries still thrive here: in 2014 and 2016 respectively, Hosokawa-shi hand-made paper and two festivals in Saitama Prefecture were registered by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritages. Saitama is also home to seven professional sports teams, and many sports enthusiasts worldwide now know the colours of Saitama since the prefecture will be the host of events during the 2019 Rugby World Cup as well as the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020.



6つの新幹線、24路線を有する鉄道網や東西南北を結ぶ6 の高速道路網と交通網が充実。都心から100km と近く工業も発展している一方で、地場産業や伝統産業もしっかりと継承されており、2014年には細川紙が、2016年には県内の2つの祭がユネスコ無形文化遺産に登録されました。


The Colours of Tradition


Numerous Saitama traditions have been handed down from generation to generation and from region to region. Some of these traditions have been certified as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage assets, an acclamation attracting new interest and wide recognition, not only within Japan but also from overseas.


UNESCO intangible cultural heritage

Hosokawa-shi Paper

This Japanese washi paper is handmade from 100% unbleached Japanese hybrid mulberry. It is a craft traditionally practised in the villages of Higashi Chichibu in the Chichibu district, and Ogawa in the Hiki district. The nagashizuki style of paper is robust yet glossy, with a distinctive texture not found in other styles of paper. The Hosokawa papermaking technique had been refined at the village of Hosokawa on Mount Koya in Kishu (present-day Takano, in Wakayama Prefecture), and during the Edo era it was refined by the farmers living in the riverside village of Higashi Chichibu. They used the clear stream waters to produce paper for the city of Edo as a secondary business during the off-season. On November 27, 2014, Hosokawa-shi paper was registered as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage as “Washi, craftsmanship of traditional Japanese handmade paper”. Sekishu-banshi paper from Shimane Prefecture) and Honmino-shi paper from Gifu Prefecture were similarly registered at the same time.




Yama, Hoko, Yatai Float Festivals 


On 1st December 2016, two Saitama Prefecture festivals were among the 31 Japanese parade-based festivals registered as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritages as “Yama, Hoko, Yatai Float Festivals in Japan.”


UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage

Kawagoe Festival (Kawagoe Hikawa Festival)

Held on the 3rd Saturday and Sunday of October every year (but held on 14th and 15th of October if these fall on a Saturday and Sunday)

This float festival is a repetition of the former Edo-era Tenka festival. Spectacularly decorated festival floats carrying elaborate dolls parade along historic Kurazukuri Street, symbolic of Kawagoe, also known as “Little Edo”.


川越まつり (川越氷川祭)



UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage

Chichibu Night Festival (Chichibu Festival)

Held on the 2nd and 3rd of December every year.

An annual festival celebrating Chichibu’s own Chichibu Shrine. Alongside the Gion Festival of Kyoto and the Takayama Festival of Hida, it is one of “The Top Three Float Festivals in Japan.” On the day of the festival, two floats topped with decorative kasaboko streamer poles and four other floats are pulled along. Be sure to watch the fireworks that are launched into the clear winter night sky!





The Colours of Nature


Nature in Saitama: Coloured by the Four Seasons

Although only 100 km from Japan’s capital of Tokyo, Saitama provides many opportunities for encounters with nature for those who don’t mind a little adventure. There are many beautiful spots where one can rejuvenate the spirits. So why not visit the four colourful seasons of Saitama?


首都・東京から100km の距離にありながら、少し足を延ばせば気軽に自然を感じ、リフレッシュできる場所が数多くあります。色鮮やかな四季の彩りを訪ねてみませんか。

Shibazakura Hill

At the foot of Mount Bukō, overlooking the centre of Chichibu, is Hitsujiyama Park. About 17,600 square metres of which is filled with 400,000 colourful shibazakura flowers (moss phlox) in 9 varieties, which bloom from mid-April to early May in hues of pink, white, purple, and more.



Nagatoro River Boating

The thrill of splashing through the turbulent rivers in traditional boats poled by skillful local boatmen is an unforgettable experience, as is viewing the dramatic landscape of the Iwadatami Rock Formations and red rock walls carved by the river and the elements. In winter the boats are even equipped with kotatsu heaters!



Hidaka Kinchakuda

An area of land shaped like a drawstring purse, created by the changing meanders of the Koma River. Many seasonal flowers bloom here, but from mid-September to early October, outstanding red spider lilies bloom spectacularly in the forest, creating a unique natural beauty that colours the surroundings like a crimson masterpiece.



The Icicles of Misotsuchi

Natural ice columns formed from frozen waterfalls. The largest ice column is up to 10 metres tall and 50 metres wide. Early January to mid-February is the best time to see them, when they are illuminated at night creating a dreamlike landscape.


岩清水が凍ってできる天然の氷柱。大きいものは高さ10メートル、幅50 ートルにもなる。1月上旬から2月中旬頃までが見頃で、夜にはライトアップされ、幻想的な風景が現れる

The Colours of Food


All kinds of Saitama specialties

An area blessed by the most abundant rivers of all Japan’s prefectures, as well as by mild climatic conditions, Saitama Prefecture yields a massive volume of agricultural produce, including a wide variety of vegetables, rice, wheat, flowers, and livestock. It is called a microcosm of Japanese agriculture. The entire area of Saitama Prefecture lies within 100 km of central Tokyo, and the locality makes the most of its geographical advantage — fresh vegetables thrive here, and Saitama numbers among the top Japanese regional producers of several varieties, including spinach and onions. Many farms are open to the public during harvest seasons, offering easy access to a wide range of fruits such as strawberries and grapes, as well as other fresh food, making food-tastings one of Saitama’s special attractions.




Famous food products

Famous agricultural products raised through means of Saitama’s rich natural environment include the most delicious Fukaya negi (green onions), Fukaya beef, satoimo taro, komatsuna greens, broccoli, and edamame beans. Many traditional foods and innovative new processed foods are also made from this abundance of agricultural produce.



Soka Senbei (rice crackers)

Soka is known as a rice-producing area, but since ancient times, in order to save and preserve unused rice, local farmers shaped it into dumplings which were then dried. During the Edo period, Soka rice crackers were invented when soy sauce from Noda in neighbouring Chiba Prefecture was added to the rice. At some rice cracker stores in Soka, visitors can even try their hand at baking their own rice crackers.



Sayama Tea

Among the many Japanese tea-producing areas, Saitama Prefecture (where Sayama Tea is produced) is located more to the North than many others. This means a colder climate for tea cultivation, and as a consequence, the leaves mature slower and acquire a stronger flavour. Although tea leaves can be picked 3 or 4 times a year in most other temperate tea-producing areas of Japan, Sayama tea leaves can only be harvested once or twice a year, making it a

rare, prized tea. It is often said, “Shizuoka for colour, Uji for fragrance, but flavour stops at Sayama”, and surely enough, Sayama is known for tea with an emphasis on flavour. Surviving the cold winters deepens the flavour of Sayama Tea, while the traditional finishing technique (known as sayama-biire) gives it a robust aroma and rich flavor. The Sayama Company was established in 1875 by 30 tea producers. The Sayama Tea name and brand was established as the first company in Japan to export tea directly without using a foreign export house, andwon awards at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition held in Chicago and the 1900 Paris Expo. Although most tea production is standardized, Sayama Tea represents a different style of tea production (self-owned, self-manufactured, and self-sold) in which the farmers who produce the tea leaves also sell the tea themselves. Sayama Tea is currently aiming to become registered as a World Agricultural Heritage.


全国で数あるお茶の産地の中で、狭山茶を産する埼玉県は、茶生産地としては北に位置しており、茶の栽培にとって寒冷な気候であるため、茶葉がゆっくりとうまみを蓄えて生育します。国内の温暖な産地では年に3~4回の摘み取りを行なうことも可能なのに対し、狭山茶は年に1~2回の摘み取りしか行なわないため、生産量が少なく、希少なお茶となっています。色は静岡、香りは宇治よ、味は狭山でとどめさすと「狭山茶摘み歌 」にも歌われるように、味を重視した茶づくりで知られる狭山茶は、寒い冬を乗り越えることでいっそう味が深まり、狭山火入れ(さやまびいれ)といわれる伝統の仕上げ技術により、香り高く、濃厚な味わいを醸しだします。1875年には、製茶事業者30名によって「狭山会社」を設立。外国商館を通さず、日本人だけでお茶の直輸出を行なう日本初の会社として「狭山茶」の名称とブランドを確立し、1893年の世界コロンビア博覧会(シカゴ開催)や1900年のパリ万博で受賞しています。


Prefecture information 

Saitama Prefecture is located just north of Tokyo Prefecture, and has a highly developed transportation network, including railways and highways, allowing easy and convenient access from neighboring prefectures and international airports.

The prefecture is blessed with a variety of sightseeing destinations, best represented by “Little Edo” in Kawagoe, which retains its ancient appearance from the Edo Period, and the greenery of Chichibu and Nagatoro, as well as a wide range of food, anime, natural beauty, industries, history, traditional culture, sports, and a wealth of experiences to enjoy.

In addition, many upcoming international events are planned to be held all around the prefecture, including the Rugby World Cup in 2019, and the Tokyo Olympic & Paralympic Games in 2020, with soccer, basketball, golf, and shooting events to take place at various locations throughout the prefecture.




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