Saitama February

February in Saitama! There are some exclusive events and seasonal traditions that you can enjoy in Japan in the month of February annually. The post has changed a lot of the years due to the pandemic, but what’s on this list now is possible most Februaries – even if we ever have a pandemic again! Each idea has a few examples so there are over 25 places listed and mapped. Some of these events are only available during this month or for a limited period. In addition, all the places listed below are commutable from Tokyo and are ideal for a day trip from Tokyo.

February in Saitama

  1. Celebrate the holidays
  2. Take in the Illumination
  3. Be awed by icicles
  4. View the Hina Dolls Displays
  5. Hanami under winter blossoms
  6. Ride through the Plum Blossoms
  7. Try your hand (feet!) at Ice Skating
  8. Watch animals in a hot spring
  9. Pick strawberries
  10. Hang out at Saitama’s entertainment town
  11. Play in some artificial snow
  12. Take a toasty kotatsu boat down the Arakawa

>>Saitama’s February events list is here.<<

1.Celebrate Setsubun and the public holidays

Date: February 3rd, 11th, 14th and 23rd

Location: Various

The only-in-Japan tradition of Setsubun is on February 3rd annually. One of the customs of Setsubun is to catch beans for good luck at a temple. Several of the larger temples also throw other goodies such as amulets and even money. Here are a few that are usually on annually:

Mamemaki beans for the setsubun festival that happens each February in Saitama Prefecture

And here are some resources to enjoy a “mamemaki” festival at home.

National Holidays

There are two national holidays in February in Japan. February 11th is National Foundation day and February 23rd is the Emperor’s birthday. There are usually dozens, if not hundreds, of events on for these national holidays. The sweet potato expo is one of the most popular events on the Emperor’s birthday. Normally, I also share information here for the various amazake events on, but even in 2024 they have yet to come back like pre-pandemic.

Valentine’s Day

Only women give to men on February 14th! Furthermore, in return, men give to women on White Day, which is March 14th. For the lead up to Valentine’s and sometimes the other side of Valentine’s day also, you can enjoy Valentine’s dessert buffets in restaurants and hotels around the prefecture. One of the more popular ones, for example, is at Shikitei Restaurant in Omiya. You can also get a Strawberry Afternoon Tea at Kawagoe Prince Hotel.

Pancake Tuesday

This year, 2023, Pancake Tuesday will also fall on a date in February. Japan doesn’t really celebrate Pancake Tuesday, but instead they have 12 pancake days a year! Here is some places you can enjoy delicious pancakes and a recipe to make your own pancakes with a Japanese twist.

2.Take in the Illumination

Date: until mid or end of February

Location: Various

If you haven’t already been, February is the last chance for illumination many locations in Saitama. However, please note, a lot of the winter illumination typically ends on Valentine’s day. Seibuen Amusement Park’s “Memories of Light” illumination runs for the longest. It will be on until the first week in April. Others that you can see until the end of February include Hoshikawa Illumination, Sun City illumination and the illumination in Toda City Here’s even more that run until mid February.

12 things to do in February in Saitama Prefecture, near Tokyo

3.Be awed by Icicles

Date: until mid or end of February

Location: Chichibu

There are three renowned places to view icicles in Saitama: Ashigakubo, Misotsuchi and Onouchi Hyakkei Icicles. Furthermore, all are in the Chichibu area of Saitama. Moreover, this seasonal natural phenomena can only be seen in January and February each year. They each have a night light up event too on specific dates during the open season. They normally close for the season around the Emperor’s birthday. There is a possibility they will extend the period, if the conditions are good.

4.View the Hina Dolls’ displays

Date: mid February to mid March

Location: Konosu and various

The doll’s festival is celebrated annually on girl’s day, March 3rd. However, several tourist spots start showing their Japanese dolls, “hina”, from early to mid February. The Tokorozawa Dolls Festival generally starts on the Saturday nearest February 11th. Iwatsuki Dolls Festival starts on the Emperor’s birthday. Moreover, Saitama is home to the largest doll pyramid in the world. In Konosu you can see this aptly named “surprising dolls’ festival” pyramid display from the middle of February:

5.Hanami under winter blossoms

Date: January to March

Location: Various

Hanami means to picnic under flowers. In February there are three main type of tree blossoms you can see. They are early blooming cherry blossoms called Kawazuzakura, wintersweet and plum blossoms. Plum blossoms are featured in the next paragraph. The Kawazuzakura are a beautiful fluffy pink cherry blossom that you can start to see around mid to late February into early March. Here are 10 places for kawazuzakura in Saitama Prefecture, including the Insta-famous Washinomiya kawazu cherry blossoms:

Wintersweet, roubai in Japanese, is a tree that blooms in winter. You can usually start seeing and smelling the beautiful yellow bloom from early January, in some places even mid December. But prime viewing for many groves in Saitama is late January to early February. However, the Wintersweet gardens in Nagatoro are probably the most famous. Here are 9 other places to see wintersweet in Saitama:

6.Ride through the Plum Blossoms

Date: mid February to mid March

Locations: Various

The most famous plum blossom grove in Saitama is in Ogose. During the festival children can enjoy a ride through the blossoms on a mini steam locomotive. Other places renowned for plum blossoms (with festivals) in February in Saitama include, for example, Omiya Dai Ni Park and Nagatoro. There is also a plum blossom grove in Shinrin Park. Here’s even more places to see plum blossoms in Saitama Prefecture:

7.Try your hand (feet!) at Ice Skating

Date: until mid February

Locations: Saitama City and Tokigawa Town

Saitama prefecture used to have several seasonal outdoor ice rinks. They are usually open to the public during the winter months. Unfortunately, we lost several during the pandemic and we are losing another, the very popular ice rink at Numakage in 2024. It will be tore down after the 2024 season. However, we still have a natural outdoor ice rink in Tokigawa. The latter’s closing date is based on the conditions. Normally it runs until at least mid February, but in the last few years its ended early due to unseasonably warm weather:

8.Watch Animals in onsens

Another of the ongoing winter events in Saitama is the animal hot springs. You can see Capybara enjoying an onsen in three of Saitama’s zoos and monkeys in two. Saitama Children’s zoo capybara onsen is probably the most popular. There are no monkeys in the Saitama Children’s zoo, but there are in both Tobu Zoo and Chikozan Park zoo. Both of those have both a monkey and capybara onsen. However, Chikozan Park Zoo only has both the monkeys and capybara on weekends, and they alternate on weekdays:

Of course, it is also a great month to indulge in one yourself! Why not try one of these award winning hot springs in Saitama:

9. Pick Strawberries

There are hundreds of places you can pick strawberries in Saitama. Some of them are conveniently located close to train stations. If you are taking a day trip to Chichibu to see the icicles or for the wintersweet etc, you can find some places to pick strawberries too. However, since the pandemic began, most of them require an advance booking. Information for some strawberry farms in Western Saitama in the following article:

10.Hang out in Saitama’s entertainment town

Tokorozawa Sakura Town is Saitama’s newest entertainment town. It opened in November 2020. There is so much to do in the town and the line up changes frequently. The main attraction of the town is the Kadokawa Culture Museum, which has several of its own attractions. For example, the Grand Gallery, the Bookshelf Theater and EJ Anime Museum which change their excellent exhibitions frequently:

11.Play in some artificial snow!

Saitama Prefecture rarely gets snow, but in winter we can enjoy an artificial semi-indoor snow land in Tokorozawa City! It was originally opened as a skiing ground, but since 2020 it also has a snow park for kids. They hold several events during the day, including snowball fights! Located close to a station and on the border of Tokyo it is a very popular place for enjoying ‘snow’ on the weekend.

12.Take a toasty kotatsu boat down the Arakawa

February may not sound like a great time for a boat ride, but in the months of January and February only, the Line Kudari boats in Nagatoro have kotatsu on them. A kotatsu is a low table with a heater under the tabletop. You can keep nice and warm while you take a scenic ride down Saitama’s most popular river – the Arakawa.

—- 12 things to do in Saitama this February —-

Whatever you do in February, I hope you have a great one!

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Lynda Hogan also writes for several Japan related websites such as and Japan Travel.

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Saitama February


    1. Haha! We were camping in the Chichibu area yesterday and had great intentions to go see the naturally formed ones, but they are quite remote and are very far from where we were staying (even though all in “Chichibu”) so we didn’t make it. Next time! We did go to the Wintersweet garden at the top of Mt Hodo, the smell was divine! I don’t know why the other name for them is “Allspice” because they have a very sweet smell not spicy at all!!

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