Saitama (さいたま) is the capital of Saitama prefecture in the Kanto region of Japan. It came into existence after the merging of 4 former cities, including Urawa, the former capital, in 2001. Upon its creation, it became the tenth most populous city in the nation and the only capital city with its name written in hiragana instead of Chinese characters.

Get in

By plane

The closest major international airport is Narita.

A tiny number of JR Narita Express trains serve at Omiya Station -- as of this writing, the 17:16 and 18:48 NEX departures from NRT T1 terminate at Omiya, and Omiya has two originating NEX services at 6:21 and 9:09. When it is available the NEX is fairly fast, taking around 110 minutes. At other hours, you can make it to Ōmiya station by taking the Narita Express to Tokyo and changing to the Tohoku/Joetsu Shinkansen; either route is covered by the Japan Rail Pass or JR East Pass.

JR Kanto Bus runs limousine bus service, the O N Liner, every hour from Narita Airport to and from the Saitama Shintoshin and Ōmiya train stations. The trip takes about two hours and costs ¥2750 each way.

The cheapest way to travel from Narita Airport to Omiya is to take a Narita Sky Access commuter train to Shin-Kamagaya station and change to the Tobu Noda Line. This takes about the same amount of time as the bus but only costs ¥1580.

From Haneda Airport you can take the Keikyu line to Shinagawa station and change to the JR Keihin-Tohoku line for the run to the Saitama area (80-90 minutes to Omiya, ¥1020). Hourly limousine buses also run to Ōmiya station (90 minutes, ¥1500).

By train

Saitama's Ōmiya Station (大宮駅) is a major train hub, connecting together the Tohoku Shinkansen and Joetsu Shinkansen lines, as well as the JR Keihin-Tohoku Line, JR Tohoku (Utsunomiya) Line, JR Takasaki Line, JR Saikyo Line, JR Kawagoe Line, JR Shonan-Shinjuku Line and Tobu Noda Line.

Why do shinkansen trains travel from Tokyo to Omiya in nearly the same time as local trains?

While bullet trains in the north are capable of speeds up to 275 km/h (165 mph), trains between Tokyo and Omiya are limited to 110 km/h (65 mph) due to residential noise restrictions.

Get around

Most of the attractions are within walking distance of one of the city's train stations, but there are Community Buses with routes throughout the city.


Omiya Bonsai Village

The Omiya Bonsai Village (大宮盆栽村) is home to a handful of bonsai nurseries which moved here from central Tokyo following the great Kantō earthquake in 1923, they moved to this leafy suburb due to the easy access to fresh water. It's considered to be the 'Bonsai Capital' of the world. Visitors can roam around and visit each of the nurseries. Some bonsai can also be purchased. Pictures are not permitted.

Note that a museum at the Saitama Super Arena dedicated to John Lennon closed permanently at the end of September 2010.




Jumangoku Manjuu is a famous brand of cake from Saitama. Manjyuu is Japanese style bun that stuffed with bean pasties. Some depertment stores and souvenir stores in Saitama sell it. For example, Sogo department in Omiya station always sell it. One manjyuu is 105 yen.



Go next

Routes through Saitama

Nagano Takasaki ← Honjō-Waseda ← Kumagaya  N  S  Tokyo Ueno Tokyo
Niigata Takasaki ← Honjō-Waseda ← Kumagaya  N  S  Tokyo Ueno Tokyo
Sendai Oyama  N  S  Tokyo Ueno Tokyo
Utsunomiya Oyama  N  S  Akabane (Tokyo) Ueno
Utsunomiya Tatebayashi ← Kuki ← Iwatsuki  N  S  into Shutokō Expwy Tokyo
Oizumi(Nerima) Wako ← Toda-Minami  W  E  Kawaguchi Misato
END  N  S  Toda → in to Ikebukuro
Hachioji Kawagoe  W  E  Kasukabe Kashiwa
Iruma Tokorozawa  W  E  Koshigaya

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, March 19, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.