June Saitama ~ it maybe rainy month, but there’s no need for that to rain on your parade! Things start to warm up, not just the weather, but seasonal events too. There are twice the amount of events in June as there are in May in Saitama. Here is a selection of some of those as well as other ideas for making the most of your June.
…art, antiques, barbecue, boats, camping, circus, dance, festivals, fireflies, flowers, jewelry aquarium, kakikori, paddling, trains…
Some of the fifteen events and/or activities have more than one location listed. Each idea is linked 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 June and July:
2. Find a charm at an Antique Fair
If you want to get out of the rain, the Kottou Antique fair in Saitama Super Arena is indoors. Over 200 antique dealers under the one roof on June 4th and 5th:
Don’t worry if you miss it, there is always the monthly (outdoor) antique fair, weather permitting, at Kawagoe Naritasan on the 28th of the month.
And also in Kawagoe this month there is a Flea market at the Honda Saimino festival on Sunday June 9th.
3. Stop and smell the … lavender
Until last year, the lavender fields in Ranzan where the largest in Kanto. Now they are the largest in Japan. From Sunday June 8th until Sunday July 7th there is a lavender festival in the area:
You can also smell the lavender and see some Irises in the Kuki Blue Festival from Sunday June 2nd to Sunday June 23rd.
4. Appreciate the rain loving flower of June
Not really into lavender? What about hydrangea? The largest hydrangea festival in Saitama is in Satte and will run for the whole month of June.
5. Hear the muskets fire
We had the honour of being at the inaugural musket shooting festival in Fujimi’s Nanbata Castle Park more than 10 years ago. It started out quite small, but has grown year on year. It is now held on the first Sunday of June annually:
6. Get your Okinawa Dance on at Kasukabe Eisa Festival
Kasukabe Eisa is an annual festival celebrating the culture of Okinawa. Eisa is a type of Okinawan folk dance, but they have other Okinawan attractions during the festival – including a visit from the Okinawa mascot:
7. Ride on a mini train
There were several train festivals during May, but June is when the Seibu line open up their depot to the public with a fun festival for train lovers and civilians alike:
8. Try some international food
The Koshigaya International Festival is a large and popular event held annually in June. There is food from around the world as well as live performances of dance and song from different cultures:
8. 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. Those that didn’t open in May, should be opening in June. Here is a round up of some of Saitama’s paddling pools:
9. Get out in nature
Although it is rainy season, between the showers it is a good month for camping and hiking before it gets too hot to do either. June is also firefly viewing month in Japan. Several parks and gardens in Saitama have firefly viewing events. There is even a firefly festival in Kumagaya:
10. 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.
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;
11. Pick Flowers
In Japan it is frowned upon to pick flowers without permission. Flower festivals usually afford the rare opportunity to pick flowers without penalty. Not just any old flower – they have a designated area purposefully for picking. One such flower festival with a designated flower picking spot is the Safflower festival in Okegawa on June 15th and 16th.
Despite the rain, 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. Ranzan Valley barbecue is rated as number one by JTB Rurubu for river barbecues in Saitama;
13. Visit the first and only…
“Jewelry Aquarium” pop up cafe in Koshigaya. From June 12th to July 7th in Laketown:
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 in recent years there has been an emergence of specialty all-year-round Kakikori restaurants, such as Kore Ga Kaki Gori:
15. Get the adrenaline pumping at the Kinoshita Circus
Right at the end of the month on June 29th the Kinoshita Circus will open its tent to thousands of spectators. Other circus have visited in recent years, but its the first time in six years that Kinoshita Circus (←official website) will be in Saitama:
Added on June 25th as an honorary mention and reminder to myself for the 2020 version: visit a hot spring!
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?