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Saitama Day Trip

August 18, 2014
Saitama Day Trip
Just 20 minutes north of Tokyo by train lies the heritage-rich prefecture of Saitama, a popular weekend destination for locals who love its close proximity and easy access through the region’s convenient railway network. And since Saitama is commonly known as one of the country’s leading sake-producing provinces, what better way to experience the area than with the Japanese equivalent of a winery tour? Of the 35 long-established sake breweries in Saitama City, arguably most famed is the Suzuki Shuzo Brewery, whose award-winning daiginjo brews are considered some of the world’s best. Visit the museum to learn more about the distillation process, then head for the on-site store to sample one of their acclaimed bottles.

If rice wine isn’t your scene, however, then make for a cultural day out in Saitama City by first paying respect at the immaculately-preserved, 2,000 year-old Hikawa Shrine set in an idyllic, expansive park. Nearby, the Omiya Bonsai Art Museum boasts an extensive array of various miniature trees. The more adventurous can opt for an express train north towards Nagatoro City, and cruise down the Arakawa River in a traditional Japanese longboat. Seasoned oarsmen take passengers down through whitewater rapids and gentle streams affording views of the multi-layered Iwadatami Rocks and lush valleys. More like sigh-tama...

Suzuki Shuzo Sake Brewery / 4-8-24 Honmachi-cho / Iwatsuki-ku / Saitama City / +81 48 756 0067 / sakekura.net

Hikawa Shrine / 1-407 Takahana-cho / Omiya-ku / Saitama City / +81 48 641 0137 / musashiichinomiya-hikawa.or.jp

Omiya Bonsai Art Museum / 2-24-3 Toro-cho / Kita-ku / +81 48 780 2091 / bonsai-art-museum.jp

Nagatoro White Water Rafting / just outside of Nagatoro Station / Nagatoro City / +81 49 466 0950 / chichibu-railway.co.jp
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