TF Top 10……Alternative Sights In Saitama Prefecture

Tokyo Daytripper: Top 10 Saitama Sights‘ in 2013 included some of the more impressive sights (Kawagoe, Chichibu etc) of the often maligned prefecture plus a few less-famous inclusions so this is kind of an expansion of those alternative places which could be worth your time. Here, in no particular order, is the TF Top 10……alternative Saitama sights…

1. Johnson Town, Irumashi – Under American occupation in 1945 and the Korean War five years later, U.S. forces gave birth to “Johnson Air Base” which became known as Johnson Town. American-style homes were built up until the late 1970’s but when the U.S. military evacuated the area Japanese people moved in and that’s basically why there’s the slightly bizarre situation today of an American town existing without any Americans in it! More details here

2. Seitenkyū, Sakado-shi – The largest Taoist temple in Japan is seemingly located in the middle of nowhere. It’s sculptures are impressive and the stone pillar carvings are elaborate. More details here

3. Panda/Shinkansen 200 Series Toilet Blocks, Fujimino-shi – Public toilets aren’t usually considered sights but these ones, just minutes apart from each other, are the kind of quirky constructions which are just so Japanese! More details here & here

 

4. Tove Jansson Akebono Children’s Forest Park, Iruma-shi – Not to be confused with the official Moomins Park (also in Saitama), this forest park is the much cheaper alternative as it’s completely free! More details here

5. The Great Buddha of The King of Seimei, Kazo-shi & Renko-ji Temple, Yorii – The former is a branch of the main Hyogo and is a little difficult to find as it’s located in the middle of a very peaceful rural area. The latter is an impressive looking golden god which is part of a seven gods tour that can be done in this area of the prefecture. Please note that these two places are about 80 km apart! More details here & here

 

6. Kumagaya Rugby Stadium, Kumagaya – The spiritual home of rugby in Japan’s hottest city has been around since 1991. The capacity is 24,000 and was completely refurbished ahead of Rugby World Cup 2019 when it hosted three group matches. More details here

7. Tamatsukuri Sluice Gate, Kumagaya – Built in 2001 to prevent the floods from flowing back into the Arakawa and Yoshino Rivers, this water gate is 23.5 metres wide and 11.3 metres high making it one of the largest in all of Japan. It’s dome shaped roof, with three metallic balls on top, is supposed to look like floating balls or dango (a Japanese dumpling and sweet) when seen from distance. More details here

8. Mitsugi Shrine, Konosu – These rare monkey stone statues are supposedly painted red in the part of the body you want curing for yourself but it just seems to me like they’ve been completely covered. Best to be safe maybe and quite literally cover all areas! This temple hall contains some 6000 monkey statues and people go to this spiritual shrine to pray for things such as menstrual irregularities, STD’s, infertility and safe delivery. More details here

9. Yakyu Inari Shrine (a.k.a. the baseball shrine), Higashimatsuyama – The kanji for yakyu can also be read as baseball which is the reason many fans visit the place as they pray to the gods in return for some luck and fortune being bestowed on the team they support, or even to assist their own batting or pitching skills. More details here

10. The Giant Roaring Lion, Kawaguchi – The bright lights of pachinko were obviously not considered enough to entice people to this building so the huge lion was added in 1996 to make the building stick out and eventually become a symbol of Kawaguchi. It’s dimensions are 20 metres in width, 12 metres in height and it weighs about 1500 kilograms. More details here

Bonus: Nack5 Stadium, Omiya – Forget Urawa Reds, this is the place to watch the beautiful game in Saitama with it’s far more compact and cosy stadium which allows you to get much closer to the action. More details here

Click here to read ‘Tokyo Daytripper: Top 10 Saitama Sights’

Click here to read ‘Tokyo Daytripper: Top 10 Ibaraki Sights’

Click here to see the ‘Top 10 day trips beyond Kanagawa, Saitama & Chiba’

About tokyofox

A Leicester City fan teaching English in Japan
This entry was posted in Japan Travel, Quirky Japan and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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