Thursday, 5 July 2012

Exploring in Saitama.

From the 15th to the 24th of June Dan came to visit :3 It was a lovely long visit and so I had to split it into 4 parts.

On the 18th we travelled to an area around Tokorozawa in Saitama. We wanted to get away from the city and find somewhere green to walk around. After many train changes (and a taiyaki snack at one station) we ended up at Hachikokuyama Park, which covers an area over the two prefectures of Saitama and Tokyo. It was a beautiful green space and such a contrast to what I've been used to since being here. The area is supposedly the inspiration for the Ghibli film My Neighbour Totoro too :3

After walking around the park we walked towards Seibu-en where there is an amusement park that looks half-abandoned... but isn't. We kept walking round and found a lake and another smaller park area. The weather was pretty sweltering so we topped up on water and walked to the nearby train station. 

After a short train ride we went to Seibu kyujo-mae station. Just outside is a massive dome which I believe houses baseball matches. At first we didn't think there was much about, but after perusing one of the more confusing maps we've seen in a while we headed out from the station area, and found an abandoned amusement... area of some kind. There was something to do with dinosaurs too but we really didn't know what. 

We tried the other direction and stumbled upon an amazing area with a shrine, a pagoda and various smaller buildings, a wooded area with bamboo and some steps with dragons for handrails... It was similar to Asakusa but not so touristy and much more green, and as there were only 2 or 3 people around it was lovely and peaceful.

A day out from the city to explore some greenery was wonderful and so so relaxing. Finding areas like this is difficult but not impossible, and despite the various trains we had to catch to get there, it was relatively close by and cheap for a day trip.

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