June Saitama 2021~ Some brand new ideas specifically for 2021 in the annual list of 15 things to do in June. The attached Google My Map has also been updated and this time, I’ve added numbers for easy reference. Number 1 on the map correlates with number one on the list. In addition, the 2021 version, just like the 2020 version, caters for the situation with the Coronavirus outbreak. However, this year there are a lot more events on than there was in 2020. Yes, several events have also been cancelled, but in comparison to 2020 there is definitely a lot more on offer. And while events maybe cancelled there’s no stopping the seasonal phenomena! The weather has warmed up and the lavender, irises and hydrangea are already blooming despite Covid-19.
June in Saitama
Here is a selection of some things that might cheer us up this June:
…art, antiques, barbecue, blueberry picking, boats, camping, flowers, hot spring, kakikori, outdoor TeamLab, paddling, pinwheels, take-out…
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
What is more useful than an umbrella in rainy season? How about a sky of umbrellas! And that’s just what you get with the Umbrella Sky Project in Metsa. This is the third year in a row that Metsa will have the event. And this year – 2021 – they are actually having two different umbrella skies. The change between the two displays actually happens in June so you can get to see two different umbrella skies in Metsa this June. However, please note the first umbrella sky is in the part you have to pay into – Moominvalley Park:
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. This year, 2021, they’ve added a new section opposite the shrine grounds in what used to be the “dai ichi” car park. The car park was closed so they could put a kaikan there in place of the old one that is being torn down. Now the space in front of the new kaikan is a patio with some flowers and, for June only, a display of 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. In 2021 the festival has been cancelled. And until May 31st the parking lot is closed. However, all things equal, they plan to reopen the car parks on June 1st and you can still view the flowers. There are also several other places around Saitama where you can see hydrangea. Check out this selection of ten on a Google Web Story.
4. Stop and smell the … lavender
Until 2018, the lavender fields in Ranzan where the largest in Kanto. Now they are the largest in Japan. The lavender bloom annually during rainy season. There is usually a lavender festival too. It was cancelled in both 2020 and 2021. Moreover, the fields are completely off limits. However, you can also smell the lavender and see some Irises in Kuki in early June. Their festival has been cancelled, but the flowers will be in bloom and at this moment in time they are planning to allow visitors.
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 excellent Hot spring cafe Bivouac in Kumagaya and / or Showa Retro Tamagawa Hot Spring in Tokigawa. The latter has a “Tera Tera Bozu” event on in June and a small umbrella sky in the rotemburo. You will find the vast majority of hot springs are open in Saitama. Most of them didn’t even close during the two main State of Emergencies.
6. Seibu Train Festa
The beloved Seibu Train Festa is back this year. Unfortunately it was cancelled in 2020, but it is going ahead in 2021. However, they are only allowing up to 5000 people participate. Moreover, you need to book in advance to visit this much loved train festival. More information in English.
7. Paddle your feet
There are places you can paddle your feet all year round, such as at the foot spa cafe in Kawagoe, but paddling pools are seasonal. Unfortunately the majority of paddling pools and wading streams didn’t open in 2020. At the moment it looks like they won’t open in 2021 either. However, you can always paddle your feet in rivers. You can use the paddling pool / wading stream category to find suitable places in Saitama.
Although it is rainy season, between the showers it is a good month for hiking and camping before it gets too hot to do either. Camping is one of the few activities that has avoided being cancelled despite Coronavirus. However, in 2020 when there was a stricter State of Emergency, many (but not all) of the campsites closed. This year, they all seem to be open. There maybe a few conditions though. For example, even if you opt to stay in a cabin rather than a tent you may have to bring your own bedding with you. That has happened to us several times since the pandemic began. You can find dozens of campsites on this website, but perhaps the most popular is Kinomura Campsite in Tokigawa:
9. Ride a boat
Saitama maybe landlocked, but thanks to the abundance of rivers and lakes there are plenty of places you can take a boat ride. For three days only there is also an opportunity to ride on a traditional boat at the Ukiya No Sato Festival. Unfortunately it has been cancelled in 2021. However, never fear, for the whole month of June and right up to October you can take a boat or dinghy out at the Koshigaya lake town seasonal dinghy park;
10. Check out Saitama’s Outdoor Teamlab
This time last year we were eagerly awaiting the opening of the first ever permanent outdoor Teamlab exhibition. It opened on August 1st 2020 and has been enjoying a roaring trade ever since. The only thing is that with June being the rainy season, the exhibition will not be opened daily. They don’t open on days when there is more than a drizzle of rain.
11. Find a charm at an Antique Fair
If you want to get in out of the rain, normally the Kottou Antique fair in Saitama Super Arena is normally ideal. And has over 200 antique dealers under the one roof. An annual event during the rainy season in Saitama. However, due to the Coronavirus unfortunately the event was cancelled in 2020 and 2021. But, don’t worry, there is always the monthly (outdoor) antique fair, weather permitting, at Kawagoe Naritasan on the 28th of the month. (This is also subject to change due to the Coronavirus outbreak). There are also several flea markets scheduled, for example Tokorozawa Aviation Memorial park on June 26th. Due to the Coronavirus you now have to book in advance to visit these flea markets, but at least they are back on in 2021. (Same with their popular hot air balloon ride).
Despite the rainy season, June is a popular month for barbecuing in Japan. Saitama has many different locations where you can barbecue. It depends on what setting you want. River barbecues double up as a water play opportunity for the kids. The Kurakake Clear Stream Village is a popular place for both – BBQ and water play. You can actually even swim in the water – the Arakawa River – at Kawasemi-gawara. And Ranzan Valley barbecue is rated as number one by JTB Rurubu for river barbecues in Saitama;
13. Treat yourself to some take out
Due to the Coronavirus outbreak hundreds of restaurants around Saitama Prefecture are offering a take out service. Several of them also have delivery options. You can see the full list on the Saitama Prefecture’s dedicated web page here. And those that feature on In Saitama include:
- Creative cuisine restaurant Modesty for the best Bagna Cauda in Kawagoe
- Healthy yet delicious vegetable OR meat platter from Yururi Cafe
- Delicious light fluffy pancakes from Cafe Matilda Kawagoe
- Kawagoe Bakery Raku Raku
- Hatsuneya Garden also in Kawagoe
- Udon, baum kuchen and more, Kinbue Shoyu Park in Kawajima
The 2019 version included information for the “Jewelry Aquarium” pop up cafe in Koshigaya. That event is on not on this year, June 2021 Saitama.
14. Sample some seasonal food
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 Kakigori never tastes as good as in June when the weather starts to heat up in Saitama! However, in recent years you can actually get take snow cones all year round. There has been an emergence of specialty all-year-round Kakikori restaurants, such as Kore Ga Kaki Gori. They have a take-out option all year round:
15. Savor some fresh blueberries
Rainy season is also prime blueberry picking season. Blueberry picking generally starts around mid June in Saitama. Hilltop farm in Namegawa opened as normal in 2020 and plan to do the same in 2021. They are aiming for a mid June start date in 2021.
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?