Kanto

Visiting ancient burial mounds, old castles and a railroad museum in 2 days to learn and feel Japan’s fantastic history and culture.(SAITAMA, Just North of Tokyo)

This course will enable its user visitors to watch and enjoy historic townscapes and beautiful natural sceneries, while focusing on areas where the visitors can feel and experience Japan’s traditional culture such as the Saitama Craft Center, the Oshi-jo castle, the Railway Museum, and the Saitama Prefectural Museum of History and Folklore. Furthermore, the Store of Saitama Prefecture Products & Tourism or SOPIA in short sells more than 950 types of souvenirs representing Saitama such as Soka-senbei (rice crackers), Kawagoe’s imogashi (sweet potato snacks), local sake (Japanese wine) and traditional crafts.
The course will help visitors to conduct sightseeing, experiencing and shopping to be familiar with Saitama Prefecture’s traditional culture.

Visiting ancient burial mounds, old castles and a railroad museum in 2 days to learn and feel Japan’s fantastic history and culture.(SAITAMA, Just North of Tokyo)

Complete Process :One night and two days
Ikebukuro Station, Tokyo
Travel Time:About 90 min

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Saitama Craft Centerpic
Travel Time:About 50 min

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WalkWalk

Hanazono Forestpic
Travel Time:About 60 min

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Menuma-shodenzan Templepic
Travel Time:About 50 min

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inn Shiki-no-yu Onsen; Hotel Heritagepic
Travel Time:About 50 min

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Oshi-jo Castle Site (Gyoda City Museum)pic
Travel Time:About 30 min

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Sakitama Kofun Park (Museum of the Sakitama Ancient Burial Mounds)pic
Travel Time:About 15 min

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Maruokapic
Saisaitei Restaurantpic
Travel Time:About 60 min

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Musashi Ichinomiya Hikawa-jinja Shrinepic
Travel Time:About 15 min

WalkWalk:About 15 min

Saitama Prefectural Museum of History and Folklorepic
Travel Time:About 15 min

WalkWalk:About 15 min

Saitama-shi Omiya Bonsai Art Museumpic
Travel Time:About 20 min

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Railway Museumpic
Travel Time:About 15 min

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SOPIA: Store of Saitama Prefecture Products & Tourismpic
Travel Time:About 45 min

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Tokyo Urban Area (Shinjuku Station)

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Introduction to Spots
Saitama Craft Center
 Visitors can watch how Japanese papers are actually made by the “Hosokawa-shi” craftsmanship of Japanese hand-made papers, which was added to the UNESCO’s list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in November, 2014. The center exhibits 30 items which were produced in 20 places in Saitama and designated as Saitama Prefecture’s traditional crafts. Furthermore, visitors can purchase Japanese paper (washi) products and those dyed with indigo (aizome). Visitors can also experience how to make Japanese papers (kami-suki in Japanese) with Japanese craftsmen’s instructions.
・Holidays: Mondays (open if they are national holiday), national holidays’ next days (open if they are Saturdays, Sundays or national holidays), Year-end and New Year holidays.
・Opening Times: 9:30 - 17:00
・Location: 1220 Ogawa, Ogawa-machi, Hiki District, Saitama Prefecture
・Entrance Fee: JPY 300 for an adult and 150 yen for a child, and JPY 210 or more for Japanese paper making
・Access: Walk for about 40 minutes from the Ogawa-machi Station (Tobu Tojo Line and JR Hachiko Line), or use the bus service bound for the Ogawa Park-hill from the Ogawa-machi Station and get off at “Dento-kogei-kan-mae” (Saitama Craft Center) and walk for about 1 minute.
・Website URL: http://saitamacraft.com/
Hanazono Forest
This is a “theme-park of roses and sweets” directly operated by a Western confectionary manufacturer.
In a quiet residence of a European style, a variety of sweets produced by the manufacturer are waiting for visitors. There lined up are superbly delicious sweets made by pastry chefs, ranging from baumkuchen which received the highest gold prize from a European confectionary competition to Western confectionaries such as thin cookies or chocolates shaped like a tongue called langue de chat and rusks, Japanese sweets and breads. Its buffet-style meal service serves more than 10 types of cakes as well as pasta noodles, pizza, curry rice, salad, breads and other dishes, and guests can eat as much as they like. From 15:00 to 18:00 on weekdays, guest can enjoy its buffet-style sweets service with no time limit.
・Holidays: None.
・Opening Times: 10:00 to 18:00 for weekdays, and 10:00 to 19:00 for Saturdays, Sundays and national holidays.
90 Minute Buffet-style Meal Service: 10:00 to 15:00 on weekdays (last orders must be made by 13:30), and 10:00 to 19:00 on Saturdays, Sundays and national holidays (last orders must be made by 17:30).
Buffet-style Sweets Service: 15:00 to 18:00 on weekdays only.
・Location: 417 Omaeda, Fukaya City, Saitama Prefecture, Japan
・Prices: In case of the Buffet-style Meal Service, 1300 yen for adults, and 900 yen for elementary school students or younger.
In case of the Buffet-style Sweets Service, 850 yen for adults, and 550 yen for elementary school students or younger.
・Access: Walk from the Omaeda Station of the Chichibu Railway to Hanazono Forest for 10 minutes.
・Website URL: http://hanazono-forest.net/
Menuma-shodenzan Temple
The temple dates back to 1179, and is worshiped as a matchmaking deity. Carving on the temple’s main building, which is designated as one of Japan’s national treasures, is very detailed and vivid, and, with its luxurious and gorgeous aspect, is said to be comparable to that of the Nikko Tosho-gu shrine. Visitors may be escorted by volunteer guides to visit places of interest in the temple, with Japanese explanations.
・Open Times for Pray: Anytime inside the temple, and 9:30 to 16:30 for the main building
・Location: 1627 Menuma, Kumagaya City, Saitama Prefecture, Japan
・Entrance Fee: Free to enter the temple, and 700 yen to enter into the main building.
・Access: Use the Asahi Bus service bound for the Ota Station, Nishi-izumi Station and Menuma-shoden-mae from the Kumagaya Station (JR Chichibu Railway), get off at the “Menuma-shoden-mae” and walk for 1 minute.
・Website URL: http://www.ksky.ne.jp/~shouden/index.html
Shiki-no-yu Onsen; Hotel Heritage
 This is a resort hotel in a quiet environment surrounded by deep forests in the Musashi-kyuryo hills. Adjacent to the hotel are hot water baths with natural hot springs, Japanese, Western and Chinese restaurants, and leisure facilities for golf, tennis, ground golf, exercises, swimming and walking.
Sea foods which the hotel’s head chef himself purchased from the Tsukiji fish market, organic vegetables and crops harvested from the hotel’s vegetable garden and other local foods are cooked to serve dedicated dishes to the hotel’s guests.
 In the “Shiki-no-yu Onsen” hot spring which has one of the largest natural hot spring open-air bathes, there are cypress bathes (hinokiburo in Japanese) and jet bathes for male and female, and a large natural hot spring open-air bath and a water fall (utaseyu in Japanese) which people will use with wearing swim suits. The hotel’s guests can enjoy the hotel’s hot springs as much as they like while enjoying a refined elegance and emotion changing from season to season.
・Location: 228 Oegawa, Kumagaya City, Saitama Prefecture, Japan
・Access: Use a free shuttle bus service departing from the north exit of the “Shinrinkoen Station” of the Tobu Tojo Line, or from the south exit rotary of the Kumagaya Station of the JR Chichibu Railway.
・Website URL: http://www.hotel-heritage.co.jp/
Oshi-jo Castle Site (Gyoda City Museum)
 The Oshi-jo castle site is said to be built in the latter half of the 15th Century, and is well known that the castle withstood a large-scale inundation attack. It was dismantled after the Meiji Restoration, and the present replica was restored in 1988. There is a museum called the Gyoda City Museum in the castle, and there exhibited are real materials which record its region’s history from the old days. Visitors can try and wear samurai armors in spring and autumn to feel as if they became warriors in the Sengoku period.
・Holidays: Mondays (open if they are national holidays), national holidays’ nest days, the fourth Friday in every month, and Year-end and New Year holidays.
・Opening Times: 9:00 to 16:30
・Location: 17-23 Hommaru, Gyoda City, Saitama Prefecture, Japan
・Entrance Fee: JPY 200 for adult, JPY 100 for high school and university student, and JPY 50 for elementary and junior high school student
・Access: Walk from the Gyodashi Station for 15 minutes.
Use the Asahi Bus service bound for Kogyo-danchi, Sogo-kyoiku Center and Gyoda-orikaesi-ba via Maetani from the JR Hukiage Station, get off at a bus stop “Oshi-jo,” and walk for a while.
・Website URL: https://www.city.gyoda.lg.jp/kyoiku/iinkai/sisetu/hakubutukan.html
*It is necessary to check actually when visitors can try and wear samurai armors.
Sakitama Kofun Park (Museum of the Sakitama Ancient Burial Mounds)
 There are 9 large-scale burial mounds (kofun in Japanese) in the park. On top of the largest round burial mound in Japan called “Maruhakayama-kofun,” visitors can view the Oshi-jo castle and the whole Gyoda area. The park is well known for its beautiful cherry blossoms. In the Museum of the Sakitama Ancient Burial Mounds, visitors can watch and appreciate an ancient remain discovered from one of the burial mounds there and designated as one of Japan’s national assets which is called the Inariyama burial-mound sword or kinsakumeitekken, and experience how to make an ancient Japanese ornament of comma-shaped beads (magatama in Japanese). It is free of charge to enter into the park.
・Museum Holidays: Mondays (open if they are national holidays), and Year-end and New Year holidays.
・Museum Opening Times: 9:00 to 16:30.
・Location: 4834 Sakitama, Gyoda City, Saitama Prefecture, Japan
・Entrance Fee: Free to enter into the park, 200 yen for adult and 100 yen for high school and university student to enter into the museum, and 250 yen for a magatama experience class.
・Access: Walk from the Gyodashi Station of the Chichibu Railway for 45 minutes.
Use the Asahi Bus service bound for Gyoda-orikaesi-ba via Sama from the Hukiage Station of the JR Takasaki Line, get off at “Sangyo-doro,” and walk for 15 minutes.
 ・Website URL: http://www.sakitama-muse.spec.ed.jp/
Maruoka
This Japanese Eel Restaurant was opened in 1875, inheriting traditional recipes since then, serves Japanese dishes such as those with cooked eel and other fresh water fish. Eel meat burned with its traditional sauce tastes very good. Inside the restaurant with its structures inherited from a building of more than 100 year old, wooden beams are characteristic in its design. Guests can enjoy foods their dishes as they like in a traditional but modern environment.
・Holidays: Tuesdays (open if they are national holidays).
・Opening Times: 11:00 to 14:30 for lunch, and 17:00 to 21:00 for dinner.
・Location: 4-6-21 Josai, Gyoda City, Saitama Prefecture, Japan
・Access: Walk from the Motida Station of the Chichibu Railway for 3 minutes.
・Website URL: http://maruoka.hanagasumi.net/
Saisaitei Restaurant
 A semi-Western residence, which was built using fortune earned by tabi (Japanese socks) manufacturing, one of the major industry in Gyoda, in the decade from 1920 to 1939, was converted into a restaurant called Saisaitei. The residence, which was once nicknamed as “tabi-goten” (meaning a palace built using fortune earned by tabi (Japanese socks) in Japanese), is now famous as a restaurant serving kaiseki cuisines (that is, sophisticated traditional Japanese cuisines brought in courses) using Japanese beef meat. Kaiseki cuisines with fillet or sirloin steaks of the highest grade Japanese black beef are served to gusts.
・Holidays: Year-end and New Year holidays.
・Opening Times: 11:00 to 15:00 and 17:00 to 22:00 for weekdays, and 11:00 to 22:00 for Saturdays, Sundays and national holidays.
・Location: 1-11-22 Sama, Gyoda City, Saitama Prefecture, Japan
・Access: Walk from the Gyodashi Station of the Chichibu Railway for 15 minutes.
・Website URL: http://www.saisaitei.jp/
Musashi Ichinomiya Hikawa-jinja Shrine
 This has a history of more than 2000 years since its establishment, and is one of the oldest and greatest shrine in Japan. Visitors walk through 2 kilometer long strait entrance path to the shrine with Japanese zelkova trees standing alongside to enter into the shrine. In the shrine’s precincts, visitors see big camphor trees standing, and feel a solemn environment.
・Holidays: None.
・Reception Hours: 5:30 to 17:00 in March, April, September and October, 5:00 to 17:30 from May to August, and 6:00 to 16:30 in January, February, November and December.
・Location: 1-407 Takahana-cho, Omiya-ku, Saitama City, Saitama Prefecture, Japan
(Visitors can buy amulets and pay for written oracles (omikuji in Japanese). 5,000 yen or more must be contributed to be prayed inside the shrine’s hall by a shrine priest.)
・Access: Walk from the JR Omiya Station for 20 minutes.
Walk from the Kita-Omiya Station of the Tobu Urban Park Line for 15 minutes.
・Website URL: http://musashiichinomiya-hikawa.or.jp/
Saitama Prefectural Museum of History and Folklore
 This is a comprehensive humanities museum which comprehensively cover Saitama’s history, folklore and arts, where visitors can learn Saitama’s lifestyle and culture. Visitors can experience how to make comma-shaped beads (magatama in Japanese), crafts dyed with indigo (aizome in Japanese), and picture scrolls (emakimono in Japanese).
・Holidays: Mondays (open if they are national holidays), and Year-end and New Year holidays.
・Opening Times: 9:00 to 16:30
・Location: 4-219 Takahana-cho, Omiya-ku, Saitama City, Saitama Prefecture, Japan
・Entrance Fee: JPY 300 for permanent exhibition, JPY 400 for planned exhibition, and JPY 600 for special exhibition. For high school and university student, the fee is the half
・Access: Walk from the “Omiya-koen Station” of the Tobu Urban Park Line (Noda Line) for 5 minutes.
・Website URL: http://www.saitama-rekimin.spec.ed.jp/
Saitama-shi Omiya Bonsai Art Museum
The museum is built in a place adjacent to a bonsai village where Japan’s leading bonsai gardens gather, and is the first public museum of bonsai in the world. For your information, bonsai collectively means dwarfed trees in pots in Japanese. In the museum, collections and various materials related to bonsai such as pots, viewing stones, paintings, and historical and folklore materials are exhibited. Visitors can not appreciate excellent and superb bonsai crafts, but also learn traditional arts, history and significance of bonsai.
A “World Bonsai Convention” will be held in Saitama City in 2017, and the museum will host the convention.
・Holidays: Thursdays (open if they are national holidays), and Year-end and New Year holidays.
・Opening Times: 9:00 to 16:30 from March to October, and 9:00 to 16:00 from November to February.
・Location: 2-24-3 Toro-cho, Kita Ward, Saitama City, Saitama Prefecture, Japan
・Entrance Fee: 300 yen for adult, 150 yen for high school and university student and 65 year old or older person, and 100 yen for elementary and junior high school student.
・Access: Walk from the Toro Station of the JR Utsunomiya Line for 5 minute.
Walk from the Omiya-koen Station of the Tobu Urban Park Line for 10 minutes.
・Website URL: http://www.bonsai-art-museum.jp/
Railway Museum
 Omiya is nicknamed as a “town of railway” because it had workshops to repair locomotives and railway vehicles, and many people working for railway jobs once lived there. Now, Omiya has the largest railway-dedicated museum in Japan. Actual railway vehicles and miniature railway georamas are exhibited in the museum. Visitors can use a simulator, which can precisely simulate an actual railway vehicle, to experience how to operate a railway vehicle, as well as get on a miniature railway vehicle.
・Holidays: Tuesdays, and Year-end and New Year holidays.
・Opening Times: 10:00 to 18:00
・Location: 3-47 Onari-cho, Omiya-ku, Saitama City, Saitama Prefecture, Japan
・Entrance Fee: 1000 yen for adult, 500 yen for elementary, junior high and high school student, and 200 yen for younger children.
・Access: Use the new shuttle service from the JR Omiya Station, get off at the “Tetsudo-Hakubutukan (Onari) Station”, and walk for 1 minute.
・Website URL: http://www.railway-museum.jp/top.html
SOPIA: Store of Saitama Prefecture Products & Tourism
 SOPIA sells more than 950 types of souvenirs representing Saitama all year around. You can purchase hot local specialties of Saitama such as Soka-senbei (rice crackers), Kawagoe’s imogashi (sweet potato snacks), Sayama-cha (Japanese green tea) and local sake (Japanese wine), as well as traditional crafts and the goods of “Kobaton” which is Saitama Prefecture’s mascot.
・Holidays: Sundays/National Holidays, Year-end and New Year Holidays
・Opening Times: 10:00 to 18:00 for stores on the 2nd floor, and 10:00 to 17:00 for stores on the B1 floor.
・Location: c/o Sonic City Building, 1-7-5 Sakuragi-cho, Omiya-ku, Saitama City, Saitama Prefecture, Japan
・Access: Walk for 5 minutes from the Omiya Station.
・Website URL: http://www.sainokuni-kanko.jp/?page_id=62