June Saitama 2023~ the annual list of 15 things to do in June in Saitama! The post is updated annually with new locations, to keep it fresh. As always for a round up post, all the locations are located on a Google My Map. Number 1 on the map correlates with number one on the main list. But you will also see there are places with symbols, i.e. that are not numbered, on the map. They include locations that were included in previous year’s round up as well as bonus content – any other location mentioned in this article. As of 2023, there is also now an extensive list of the month’s events on this site too. Check out this month’s events here.
June in Saitama
Here is a selection of some things you can enjoy this June:
…art, antiques, barbecue, blueberry picking, boats, factory tour, fireflies, fishing, flowers, hot spring, hot air balloon, kakigori, paddling, pinwheels, teru teru bozu, water sliders…
Each of the fifteen ideas link to further reading with additional details, such as access, but you can also see all these locations plotted out in the below Google MyMap:
1. Keep dry under an umbrella… art installation
For many years this entry was about Japan’s largest umbrella sky in Metsa. However, since 2022 the umbrella street is now in Moominvalley park, which you have to pay into. Thankfully from this year, Gyoda’s free umbrella sky is up in June. Last year it didn’t go up until July. What is more useful than an umbrella in rainy season? A sky of umbrellas! Gyoda’s beautiful umbrella sky:
Information for the Moominvalley umbrella street is still on the blog here. There’s also a tiny wee umbrella sky in Iruma in summer. Get the deets here!
2. Admire the pinwheels
Each year in June Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine have a pinwheel event. Their wind chime event is famous, but amazingly – to date – the pinwheel event is not that well known. In 2021, they added a new section to the pinwheels, opposite the shrine grounds in what used to be the “dai ichi” car park. So now there are three areas with pinwheels.
3. Appreciate the rain loving flower of June
The largest hydrangea festival in Saitama is in Satte and normally runs for the whole month of June. This year the festival is going ahead, but for just three weeks. In addition, Kinsenji Temple (Ranzan) is opening again, as it did in 2022. Nogoji, the most famous hydrangea temple in Saitama, is also open for the first time in four years. In addition, there are still several other places around Saitama where you can see hydrangea. Here is more than 20 other places you can see hydrangea in Saitama Prefecture.
4. Stop and smell the … lavender
Until 2018, the lavender fields in Ranzan where the largest in Kanto. Then in 2019 they were the largest in Japan. However, since typhoon Hagibis in 2019, they are only growing a smaller percentage and the lavender festival will be smaller than in 2019. In addition, you can also smell the lavender and see some Irises in Kuki in early June. And for the first time in four years, Kuki will have their ‘Blue Festival’ celebrating their purple flowers!
5. Soak in an onsen instead of the rain!
June is a great month for the hot springs. And we have a great choice in Saitama. Including some award winning hot springs such as the this excellent Hot spring in Kumagaya. It was formerly called Cafe Bivouac, but it had a name change during the pandemic. It is now called Hareniwa, but it is run by the same management company – ‘Onsen Dojo’ – as before. Onsen Dojo have several trendy “cafe” hot springs in Saitama Prefecture.
6. View a Japan only display
Teru Teru Bozu are little ghost like talisman that are believed to bring on good weather. As such, they are hung during the rainy season to try and reduce the number of rainy days. The Onsen Dojo mentioned in #5 also manage a hot spring called Tamagawa Onsen where they hang teru teru bozu made from towels each June! But for a cute, Insta-bae (Instagrammable) display, Saitama City’s Aobaen cemetery (yes a graveyard) is the place to go! Moreover, hydrangea bloom here in early June:
7. Witness the magic of fireflies
During the pandemic the vast majority of firefly viewing events were cancelled. However, you could still view them in the wild. Chichibu is particularly well renowned for firefly viewing. You can generally see them glowing from around mid June to early July for about an hour from around 8 pm, sometimes 7.30 pm. This year, 2023, a lot of firefly viewing events are back on. But some of them are in July. The ones that are on in June include Musashi Ichinomiya Hikawa Shrine and Konan in Kumagaya. Both require advance registration to participate, but its not necessary to view them independently in Chichibu…
8. Tube down a giant water slider
The Sayama Indoor skiing ground in Tokorozawa reopens in summer as an indoor water slide park! There are only two sliders, but they are huge. Moreover, there is an additional water play area for kids and several events on during the summer season. In addition, as it is more or less indoors, they can play even when its raining. Moreover, even adults can tube down the water slides!
And here is ten places you can play with water for free in June 2023.
9. Fish your own lunch
Despite the rainy season, June is a popular month for barbecuing in Japan. River barbecues double up as a water play opportunity for the kids. You will find plenty of places to barbecue on this blog, but for something a bit different – how about fishing your own barbecue!? There are also several places to do this in Saitama. If you want to go completely off the beaten path, I recommend this one in Kamikawa town. But if you want famous; this one in Fuppu is one of the most famous;
10. Find a charm at an Antique Fair
One of the regular staples on this annual “15 things to do in June” list was always the Kottou Antique fair, an annual indoor event in Saitama Super Arena. With over 200 antique dealers under the one roof, it was one of the most popular antique fairs in the Kanto plain. However, it hasn’t been on during the pandemic. It is due to be on in 2023, but it looks like it won’t be in June, which is the usual date. But, don’t worry, there are alternatives. For example, there are several flea markets at this time of year, including at Saitama Super Arena. Then there is the monthly (outdoor) antique fair, weather permitting, at Kawagoe Naritasan on the 28th of the month:
11. Tour a shoyu factory
Normally, June is a great month to take some factory tours, with it being the rainy season. During the pandemic, most of the larger factory tours were closed to the public. For example, the Meiji Chocolate Factory tour and Glico Pia East’s Pocky Tour. However, Fueki Shoyu’s excellent tour remained accessible for most of the pandemic. With a restaurant and shop on the premises, and even a small play area, its a nice place to hang out for a few hours. And in June each year they have some wind chimes up. For the record, the vast majority of factory tours are reopened, but require advance booking. Currently, Fueki Shoyu does not require advance booking:
12. Savor some fresh blueberries
Blueberry picking season begins in June most years. But according to Oshima Blueberry farm their blueberries started to ripen in May, a week early. Oshima blueberry farm is on the site of the famous Konan wisteria, but unfortunately it is a little tricky to get to. My pick for the best place to pick blueberries this year is Sayama Berryland. It is one of the biggest picking farms in all of Japan:
13. Freeze your teeth off!
Kakigori is flavoured shaved ice which is commonly called a Snow Cone in English. Snow Cones used to only be available seasonally, generally from April to October, but now there are dozens of specialty all-year-round Kakigori cafes in Saitama. But Kakigori never tastes as good as in June when the weather starts to heat up in Saitama! Famous kakigori cafes include Yamadaya and Kore Ga Kaki Gori. The latter have a take-out option all year round:
But if you want to really indulge: check out this year’s mouth watering afternoon tea in Shikitei.
14. Check out Saitama’s coolest entertainment town
Tokorozawa Sakura Town needs little introduction at this stage. Despite being just over one years old, it has already made quite a mark for itself. You could spend the whole day exploring all the town has to offer. In addition, if you are still avoiding spending excess amounts of time indoors due to the pandemic, they have some outdoor options too. Such as, the permanent Team Lab “Acorn Forest” which is entirely outdoors. Thus, you would need to check the weather in advance – they close on rainy days! Indoors, the Kadokawa Museum offers floors and floors of exhibitions, displays, events and even practical spaces too…
15. Camp or Glamp!
Although it is rainy season, June is a popular month for camping. You will find several campsites on this blog, many of which have cabin options. Such as Nagatoro Autocamp, Water park Nagatoro , O park Ogose and Jomine Camp. Others allow day campers and / or use of the barbecue facilities only. Such as Peach Moon campsite in Saitama City! But one of the most scenic – and one of the closest to Tokyo – is Kinomura in Tokigawa:
Have you plans for this June in Saitama? What are you planning to do and / or see? Is there another big event or seasonal activity you recommend?
In case you missed the previous years round up, here are some of the locations that previously featured on “15 things to do in June in Saitama”:
- Ranzan Barbecue
- Koshigaya Boat Park
- Hot Air Balloon Ride Tokorozawa
- Market Terrace
- No Tokorozawa Lily Festival in 2023
- Seibu Train Festa – on in 2023
- Musket Shooting Festival
- Eisa Kasukabe – on in 2023
- Jewelry Aquarium
- Koshigaya International Festival
- Nogoji, Saitama’s most famous hydrangea temple in Kumagaya
- Kinoshita Circus
- Foot spa cafe and shop “Tsubaki No Kura”
well it’s already rained plenty down here as we’ve hit winter!
Swap!? No sign of the rainy season yet and its been unseasonably hot. I will melt before my flight home next home!!