Category Archives: Saitama

Saitama City manhole covers

The Urawa Reds are a J-League soccer team in Saitama City.  Why is that relevant? Take a look at Saitama City’s manhole covers!


It’s a soccer ball!


They come in more than one colour.

This was the first time I’d seen sports themed manhole covers.  Usually, they feature the city’s flower or tree.


Filed under Japan, Minami-ku, Saitama, Saitama

Hatsumode in Saitama

Happy New Year from Monjuji Temple in Saitama City. I’m spending the day with my family in Saitama at my in-laws’. We went to Monjuji Temple for Hatsumode, or the first visit to a temple in the new year.


Monjuji’s main hall.


Filed under Japan, Midori-ku, Saitama, Temples

2012 Picture of the Week (32/52) – Warabi Festival Decorations

On Friday, I went to the Warabi Matsuri (Festival) for the 3rd year in a row. This time, we went right at the beginning of the festival. Very little food was available and they were still putting up the decorations. This is one of the bigger decorations that was still waiting for installation.

I was standing under this with my head in the gold streamers.


Filed under Festivals & Events, Japan, Picture of the Week, Saitama, Warabi

2012 Picture of the Week (18/52) – Old public bath

It’s Golden Week now, and I went with my family to my wife’s hometown to visit her family and celebrate our daughter’s 100th day. On our way there, we walked past this old public bath, or sento. This particular public bath is quite old-looking.

Not many public baths are still open, but this one is.


Filed under Japan, Picture of the Week, Saitama, Warabi

Warabi Festival 2011

On August 7, my fiancee and I went to the Warabi Matsuri in Warabi, Saitama with her sister.  Last year’s festival was pretty good, and I was looking forward to eating lots of festival food this year.  Unfortunately, we only had an hour until the end of the festival, and there was a pretty bad storm with spectacular lightning.  The rain forced us to head for cover while we tried to eat.  I had hoped to get pictures of the food stalls where I bought food, but thanks to the rain, I kept my camera safe.  However, I did get two photos!  What did I eat, you ask?  I had barbecued corn on the cob, jagabataa (potatoes and butter), yakisoba, karubi steak (beef rib meat) on a stick, and some flat gyoza-like food.  My favourite festival food is the potatoes.

Warabi has a large foreign population, and it’s one of the smallest and most densely populated cities in Japan.  There are plenty of Turkish people there, and at the festival, they sold kebab sandwiches.  Why did we go to Warabi for the festival?  It’s my fiancee’s hometown.  Enjoy the two pictures.

Warabi Matsuri is very colourful. Unfortunately, the skies were stormy.

Enjoy the colours. The focus wasn't very good, thanks to darkness and rain.


Filed under Festivals & Events, Food, Japan, Saitama, Warabi

Exploring Japan: Kawagoe – March 14, 2010

I’m a sucker for historical places.  I love seeing old architecture.  One of the best places to see well preserved Edo Period architecture is in Kawagoe, Saitama.  The city is sometimes called Koedo, or Little Edo, because it has so much Edo Period buildings.  There are also many temples and shrines.  I didn’t have enough time to see everything I wanted to see, so I’ll have to go back again to see more.  Please enjoy the pictures!

The entrance to Crea Mall, north of Kawagoe Station.

A shop for hip hop and street wear. Is it for horses?

Walking down the street, the first old buildings can be seen.

Many of the old buildings are European style.

And many are Japanese style, like this shop.

Everything looks old here.

Next door is an old Japanese style building. I wonder if it's from the Edo Period.

This one impressed me. It has a nice classic design from when European architecture was popular.

There's even an old little car next to an old building.

Quite the mix here. It's old Japan meets modern Japan.

Across the street are some great old European buildings. Unfortunately, there was quite a bit of traffic.

A shop in an old Japanese warehouse.

Lots of temples and shrines are in Kawagoe. This is Houzenji Temple.

More old buildings. There are so many along this street!

And more traffic obscuring my view of these old warehouses.

Here's another wonderful old building. This is Saitama Resona Bank.

These buildings look old, but great!

Doesn't this just make you want to go back to the Edo Period?

Now I could see Toki no Kane, the famous landmark bell tower in Kawagoe.

Looking way up!

If you walk under the bell tower, you can see a small shrine.

And here's the bell tower from the other side.

Here's a gate to Yojuin Temple.

And Yojuin Temple itself.

Here's a very popular location in Kawagoe, Kashiya Yokocho. It's an old market street with many sweets shops.

Lots of old traditional sweets and snacks!

All the shops are in old buildings.

Even though this street is short, there's a lot to see and buy.

This is a small cafe which includes a VW bus.

Koi in a pond just outside a restaurant.

Finally, here is Gyodenji Temple. It has beautifully kept grounds.

The temple itself is also quite beautiful.

Here's a closeup of the carvings on the temple.

If you have a chance to visit Kawagoe, I definitely recommend it.  The street that most of this is on goes north from the east side of Honkawagoe Station.  The following map should help.  The street I was on goes from Honkawagoe Station up to just west of the Motomachi area.  Kashiya Yokocho is west of Motomachi.

This post is also participating in “Show Me Japan #27!”


Filed under Japan, Kawagoe, Saitama

My first Japanese pro baseball game

In October 2010, I was invited by my friend to a baseball game at Seibu Dome in Tokorozawa, Saitama.  I gladly accepted his invitation.  I’d never been to a baseball game in Japan before.  This game was game 2 of the first stage of the Pacific League Climax Series between the Saitama Seibu Lions and Chiba Lotte Marines.  I’m not a fan of baseball, but what interested me was how the fans cheered.  It was very different than anything I’d seen in Canada.  Every player had their own chant and song.  The fans would do the chant whenever each player came out.  Far from home plate, way at the back of the stadium, there’s a section where fans do a choreographed show of flag waving and singing.  Very interesting to see that.  Unfortunately for the Lions fans, they lost the game 5-4 in extra innings.  Enjoy the pictures and video of the cheering.

It's a beautiful autumn day at the Seibu Dome

Lots of people are here to see the game.

Hot dogs! Yes, I had one.

This is shortly after I entered the Seibu Dome. My seat is on the right, near 3rd base.

The players are warming up before the game.

This is from my seat. I was surrounded by Lions fans. My seat was pretty close to the field.

Looking up at the dome. The dome is actually an addition to the stadium a few years after its construction.

Fans can buy big balloons to blow up. On command, they're all released at once, and they are quite noisy.

Game over! The Marines beat the home team.


Filed under Japan, Saitama, Sports, Tokorozawa