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#RikkyoFinds: Let’s feel RETRO JAPAN in Saitama

#RikkyoFinds: Let’s feel RETRO JAPAN in Saitama

Saitama Prefecture (埼玉県 Saitama-ken) is located next to Tokyo, the capital of Japan. Tokyo is a world-famous city as a tourist destination but due to Tokyo’s glory, the attraction of Saitama appears hazy. In 2019, the comedy film “Tonde Saitama (翔んで埼玉)'' was released, poking fun of Saitama’s (lack of) attractiveness. However, we, the people of Saitama, strongly believe that we have a lot of charms, especially retro-themed ones. So today, I would like to introduce three retro charms of Saitama.

 

1. Kawagoe City

 

(Image credit: Natsuka)

 

Kawagoe City (川越市 Kawagoe-shi) is my hometown no matter what! This retro city is located northwest of Tokyo in Saitama Prefecture and is just 30 minute away from the capital via the Tobu Tojo Line (東武東上線 Tōbu Tōjō-sen). When you visit Kawagoe, you can feel the history of Japan. As you can see in the first picture, Kawagoe still has streets established from the Edo Period. This kind of townscape can hardly be seen elsewhere in Japan and is registered as one of the 100 best historical landscapes in Japan.

 

   

(Image credit: Natsuka)

 

The photos above are from Hikawa Shrine (氷川神社 Hikawa-jinja) and during summer, a lot of colourful wind chimes are placed which are so beautiful to see. Also there, omikuji (おみくじ a paper of fortune) in the shape of a sea bream is very popular. So, when you go there, let’s fish one of them to divine your fortune! 

 

(Image credit: Natsuka) 

 

Shaved ice (かき氷 Kakigōri) is also popular in Kawagoe in summer. I recommend visiting this particular shop called KoregaKakigori. There are many charming flavours like peach, mango, and even roasted sweet potatoes (焼き芋 yakiimo), and every flavour won’t let you down. 

 

Hikawa Shrine (氷川神社)
Address: 2-11-3, Miyashitacho, Kawagoe-shi, Saitama 330-0803
Nearest station: Kawagoe Station (川越駅)
Access: Board the Tobu Bus bound for Kawagoe Sports Park and alight at Tobu Bus Stop No. 7 "Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine"
Opening hours: 9am–5pm
Tel: +81 49-224-0589

 

KoregaKakigōri (これがかき氷)
Address: 1-1-11, Motomachi, Kawagoe-shi, Saitama 350-0062
Nearest station: Kawagoeshi Station (川越市駅)
Access: 20-minute walk from the station
Opening hours: 10am–7pm (Last order: 6:30pm)
Tel: +81 49-214-0858

 

2. Seibuen Amusement Park

(Image credit: Natsuka)

 

Seibuen Amusement Park (西武園ゆうえんち Seibuen Yuenchi) has an atmosphere to feel as though you are in the Showa Period. As soon as you arrive at the station, you will immediately see a tram welcoming you. Currency called Seibuen can only be used there, which also makes us feel the period of Showa. 

 

(Image credit: Natsuka)

 

At the main street of this amusement park, there are a lot of shops selling food that can make you feel like you’re in the Showa Period. I ate purine a la mode (​​プリン・ア・ラ・モード) and drank ice cream float, both of which are very retro. Not only food but also parties are held on this street. Anyone can join in and dance and sing freely. Everything in this street is well designed and photogenic. Please take pictures and enjoy the retro atmosphere.

 

Seibuen Amusement Park (西部園ゆうえんち)
Address: 2964, Yamaguchi, Tokorozawa-shi, Saitama 359-1145
Nearest station: Seibuen-yuenchi Station (西武園ゆうえんち駅)
Access: In front of Seibuen-Yuenchi Station
Opening hours: 10am–7pm
Admission fee: ¥3,300 (3-12 years old), ¥4,400 (Ages 12 and above)
Tel: +81 4-2929-5354

 

3. Tamagawa Onsen 

(Image credit: Natsuka)

 

It is well-known that Japan is famous for its hot springs. Tamagawa Onsen (玉川温泉) is also well-known for its beautifying properties. Hot spring water gushing from 1,700m underground helps us to have beautiful skin. In addition, free massage, beautiful nature, and a wooden library are attractive. The attraction of hot springs is of course wonderful, but this time I want to focus on the concept. Tamagawa Onsen has the concept of Showa-retro. So the design of the buildings, decorations, and foods are all to bring about the feel of retro. Let’s go there to feel the Japanese retro style to fully relax!

 

Tamagawa Onsen (玉川温泉)
Address: 3700, Tamagawa, Tokigawamachi, Hiki-gun, Saitama 355-0342
Nearest station: Musashi-ranzan Station (武蔵嵐山駅)
Access: From the West Exit of the station, board the Tokigawa-machi Bus and alight at Jyuodou-mae Bus Stop, followed by a 15-minute walk.
Opening hours: 10am–10pm (Weekday, last entry: 9:30pm), 5am–10pm (Weekend, last entry: 9:30pm)
Admission fee (Weekday): ¥880 (8am–8pm), ¥500 (8pm–10pm)
Admission fee (Weekend): ¥630 (5am–8am), ¥980 (8am–8pm), ¥500 (8pm–10pm)
Tel: +81 4-93-65-4977

 

It would be my pleasure, if the charms of my hometown, Saitama were fully conveyed. Today, I only introduced retro-themed attractions in Saitama Prefecture. However, Saitama Prefecture has many other attractions such as wonderful nature, fascinating local food, and seasonal events. So, when you come to Japan, I highly recommend you to come to Saitama to discover a new Japan! Thank you for reading the whole article.

 

Header image credit: Natsuka

 

Writer’s profile: Hi! I am Natsuka, a Year 2 student from Rikkyo University.My faculty is Intercultural Communication. I study international development in terms of education inequality and food loss. I am currently doing an internship at JR East Singapore for a month. I like to listen to Korean music and watch Japanese Youtubers during my free time.

 

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