Saiboku Ham and Hot spring, in Hidaka City on the border of Kawagoe in Saitama, near Tokyo. This food centered leisure village (with hot springs and play areas) is located very close to the Kasumigaseki 2021 Olympic golf course.
Saiboku hot spring near Tokyo is often described as a food theme park, but for me that conjures up images of an amusement park… with sausages! Which it is not. I am not sure how to describe it: it kind of feels like an outdoor mall or maybe a themed village. Whatever way you want to describe it, there is no denying it is a fun day out for a family with young kids.
Saiboku ham near Tokyo
The brand name Saiboku is most famous for its award-winning ham and sausage meat. It is processed in a factory in this complex, the head office of Saiboku. Many of their products have received food awards over the years, even on an International level. The resort in Hidaka is as known for its onsen (hot springs) as it is for the selection of shops and eateries.
There are a number of eateries on the premises mostly serving pork products, but there is also a vegetable shop and bakery, as well as a selection of fast or finger foods and desserts. On top of all that there is an adventure playground, pig sty, pitch and putt, garden, pond with carp fish and craft workshops. They often have temporary market stalls too, that sell anything from jewelry to clothes. The hot springs have further facilities, but that’s a post for another day!
The adventure playground is on the West side of the hot spring and it is free. The playground is actually quite small, with one big combination unit, but it is surprisingly engaging for children playing together up to about 8 years old. In 2019 they added a new athletic playground (not free) called Saiboku No Mori. The free playground was also changed when they put in the new adventure playground. It is less engaging than the previous equipment.
It is beside the pig pen; home to three popular pigs. There is a tunnel beside the pig sty that kids enjoy running through. This area also has some gazebos, one of which has a table. Both have benches. You can eat food in the gazebos. There is an array of drink vending machines beside the one with tables. There is no smoking in this area, but there is at least one smoking area in the complex.
Saiboku Cafeteria near Tokyo
One of the kid’s favourite eateries in the complex is the “Saiboku Cafeteria” as it sells ice-cream. They have two different types of ice-cream: soft cream and scooped ice-cream. The latter you can get on a cone or in a cup. They have vanilla, strawberry, chocolate, green tea and sweet potato flavour. On the weekends you get the ice-cream from a window on the outside of the building (pictured below) where they also sell popcorn. Can you spot the flying pig in the picture!?
The indoor section is quite small and not particularly exciting, but they have high chairs with safety straps in the indoor section of this cafeteria. I so rarely see safety straps on high chairs in Japan that they really stood out to me. They are like the Stokke stepped high chairs. They also have a hand basin with a step for children to use. In the special needs toilet beside the cafeteria they provide a child’s toilet seat that can be placed on top of the regular toilet seat. I found these little extras to be very convenient for my toddlers.
They don’t have a family toilet like in so many places these days, but they do have a changing mat at the entrance to the women’s toilet. A man could use it too, without having to go right into the women’s toilets. There is a great outdoor seating area outside this cafeteria. It can be used to eat any food bought on Saiboku premises.
Bakery at Saiboku
One of the places I like to buy a quick and cheerful lunch for the kids on a day out in Sayama is the bakery which is at the back of the meat shop. It isn’t huge, but there is a good selection. They sell nice sandwiches as well as a choice of baked breads. The pig shaped bread filled with chocolate is popular with children. My kids like the sausage roll on a stick.
According to Saiboku themselves their spare ribs are their best selling food. Google reviews confirms this. As the restaurant is near Tokyo, supposedly many Tokyo-ites travel to Saiboku on the weekend for the spare ribs! The spare ribs are sold in one of the many kiosk type eateries; the one nearest the vegetable shop. The building is currently undergoing renovations, but they are open for business. There is always a queue there, but on weekdays it isn’t too bad. On weekends the queue can be very long.
The award winning restaurant, which is near the playground, often has a queue at lunch time on the weekends too. Beside it is a food van with a funny name, Hareru Ya or Hallelujah, that sells crepes. The van’s bonnet is designed like a dog. Other eateries include window boothes that sell a variety of pork products such as katsu and skewered pork.
Saiboku Point Card
Saiboku has a point card system. Any adult can sign up for a card. It costs 200 yen for a new member, but they have days that the new membership fee is wavered. A card is valid for a year after your last purchase. You can earn points in the shops, restaurants and hot spring. For every 200 yen you spend (not including tax) you earn 1 point. Every Monday you can earn double points. You can also earn “eco points”; 2 points per visit, for not using a plastic bag when you purchase more than two items. If you collect over 500 points you get a 500 yen discount coupon. They occasionally have double points on other days too.
Saiboku also runs cooking and crafting events. They have special plans as well such as entry into the onsen, with a meal and 500 yen shopping ticket for a set price. They also sometimes organise tours that leave from Saiboku to do, for example, fruit picking. The onsen has live music performances a couple of times a month. Each month you can pick up a flyer with the month’s events at Saiboku, or you can check for information on their website (Japanese only):
It can be a little bit tricky to get there the first time, but if you’re using an up-to-date GPS it will guide you. Phone number in the Google Map below. The bus system seems to be very good and they have the times on their website.
The third Sunday of May is “Gochipo” day annually in Japan. Gochipo is a pun on gochisou pork. Gochisou is what you say after a meal in thanks in Japan. The day was started by the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF), for the Japanese market. The anniversary was certified and registered by the Japan Anniversary Association in 2017. Gochipo day is held on the third Sunday of May, because the USMEF wants you ” to eat nutritious American pork on the weekend before the start of the full-scale rainy season and survive the summer well”!! In 2022, Gochipo Day will fall on May 15th.
ACCESS (near Tokyo)
Saiboku Ham headquarters is located very close to the Kasumigaseki Golf Course which is hosting the golf tournament of the 2021 olympics.
From the Hidaka Interchange, facing Kawagoe, it takes about 5 minutes. Saiboku’s phone number 042-985-0869.
Train and bus
From the West exit of SAYAMA CITY station on the Seibu Shinjuku line take a bus to Saiboku onsen. It takes approximately 17 minutes.
From the West exit of TSURUGASHIMA on the Tobu Tojo line a bus to the terminal of the hotspring takes about 25 minutes.
UPDATE ON FEBRUARY 13TH 2015 – the onsens have been re-opened further to renovations after being closed early in 2013 due to bacteria in the water which killed two people.
Approximately a 5 minute drive from Saiboku is the Botanical Garden parking lot of CHIKOZAN PARK: