Saitama is a major city within half an hour by train from Tokyo, filled with many historical sites unique to the area. Why not check out these top 5 places to visit if you have a chance to be in the area.
Koedo Kawagoe is a historically preserved and nostalgic townscape from the Edo period. In the Edo period Tokyo was known as “Edo,” and the main area that is now Tokyo, “Big Edo” (Oedo.) Kawagoe is dubbed “Small Edo” (Koedo) in contrast to the bigger city, and is one of the most famous castle towns in Japan. Once you step in you will experience kura-zukuri buildings, which are strong, fire-resistant type of buildings. These old warehouses and houses still stand strong along the street today. Visitors also have the opportunities to enjoy a rickshaw ride, try tasty authentic traditional sweets, and see several shrines in Kawagoe, which are all unique to Japan.
A pleasant 20 to 30-minute walk from Omiya Station in Saitama City, Musashi Ichinomiya Hikawa Shrine has more than two thousand years of history behind it. The shrine used to be the head Shinto shrine of the former Musashi Province, which sprawled from Tokyo to large parts of Saitama. After a long walk through Torii gate, the two-storied Romon Gate in vivid red marks the entrance to the main shrine grounds. Here you will find the main hall, the praying hall and a dancing and performance stage.
1,100 meters high up near the peak of Mt. Mitsumine, nestled amongst many ancient and grand cedar trees the sacred Mitsumine Shrine stands. The shrine is well-known as one of the best spiritual spots in Kanto region. Mitsumine Shrine attracts many tourists all year around due to the spiritual feelings it evokes.
With its many ancient tombs, Sakitama Kofun Park is best known as the discovery place of the famous national treasure “Kinsakumeitekken”. Kinsakumeitekken is gold-inlaid iron sword that attracts lots of attention to the ancient tomb, known as a “Kofun” that was found here. Fans of history should really check out the great kofun and its peaceful surrounding landscape.
Kumagaya City is a host city of the Rugby World Cup 2019, and a home to a great deal of Japanese history. One such historical attraction is the Shodenzan Temple. Shodenzan Temple is known as one of the three major Shoden temples in Japan, and is as such designated a National Treasure. The main building, called Shodendo, features beautifully carved art similar to the famous Nikko Toshogu in the Gongen Zukuri building.