12 things to do in Saitama this February

Saitama February

Saitama February – There are some exclusive events and seasonal traditions that you can enjoy in Japan in the month of February. Below is a list of 12 things you can in Saitama in February. 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. All the places listed below are commutable from Tokyo and are ideal for a day trip from Tokyo.

1.Participate in Setsubun

Date: February 3rd

Location: Various

The only-in-Japan tradition of Setsubun is on February 3rd annually. This year, like last, it is on a weekend which means the events will be larger than the years it falls on a weekend. 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. There are many temples around Saitama where you can enjoy this fun and unique Japanese ritual.

Saitama February

One of the most famous places for Setsubun in Saitama is the highly entertaining setsubun event in Kazo. Two other popular spots featured on this blog are Kitain Temple in Kawagoe and Yakyu Inari shrine in Higashimatsuyama.

2.Take in the Illumination

Date: until mid to end of February

Location: Various

If you haven’t already been, February is the last chance for many locations in Saitama. Winter illumination typically ends on Valentine’s day.

Winter illumination spots that will end in February:

3.Be awed by Icicles

Date: until mid to end of February

Location: Chichibu

There are three renowned places to view icicles in Saitama: Ashigakubo, Misotsuchi and Onouchi Hyakkei Icicles. All are in the Chichibu area of Saitama. 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.

Ashigakubo icicles are on view until February 24th. They are lit up at weekends during this period. Misotsuchi icicles will be open to the public until February 17th. They are lit up at night until February 11th. When the light up is on at these places there are extended opening hours. Onouchi Hyakkei icicles do not have a fixed closing date. It is expected that you can see them until the first week of March. Light up dates of the Onouchi Hyakkei icicles are February 2nd, 9th, 16th and 23rd.

4.Celebrate the Dolls’ Festival

Date: mid February to mid March

Location: Konosu and various

The doll’s festival is celebrated annually on girl’s day, March 3rd. Several tourist spots start showing their Japanese dolls, “hina”, from early to mid February. 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 February 20th:

5.Smell the Wintersweet

Date: January to February

Location: Nagatoro, Chichibu

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. There are wintersweet in various areas of Saitama, but the Wintersweet gardens in Nagatoro are probably the most famous. The wintersweet are in the Hodosan Wintersweet, accessible by hike or by ropeway.

The Nagatoro Wintersweet festival will be on until February 24th. For the last two days you can also enjoy the plum blossom festival:

6.Ride through the Plum Blossoms

Date: mid February to mid March

Locations: Omiya, Ogose, Nagatoro

The Nagatoro Plum blossom festival will overlap with wintersweet festival on February 23rd and 24th. The plum blossom festival will then continue on until mid March. Other places renowned for plum blossoms that have plum blossom festivals too are Omiya Dai Ni Park and Ogose. During the latter children can enjoy a ride through the blossoms on a mini steam locomotive. There is also a plum blossom grove in Shinrin Park, but they don’t typically bloom until early March.

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

Date: until mid February

Locations: Various

Saitama prefecture have several seasonal outdoor ice rinks. They are usually open to the public during the winter months. The only natural outdoor ice rink is in Tokigawa. That one closes earlier than the others around the 10th of February. The artificial rink in Koshigaya Lake Town will be open until early March (weekends only), but Kawaguchi green center will close on February 24th.

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 both the Saitama Children’s zoo and Chikozan Park zoo. The latter, Chikozan, also has a seasonal Japanese monkey onsen:

9. Pick Strawberries

There aren’t many places you can pick strawberries in Tokyo, but there are plenty of places you can enjoy this seasonal activity in Saitama. The linked event post below shares some of the more popular places to pick strawberries in Saitama:

10.Indulge in a Pop up cafe

Pop up cafes are rare in Saitama, normally we have to travel into Tokyo to enjoy a limited period pop up cafe or restaurant. But for three weeks in February (and three in January) we have the rare opportunity to indulge in an exclusive cafe in Koshigaya. The Hamtaro (Hamutaro) cafe will be open until February 24th:

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

There are other seasonal events in February in Saitama. For example,

#11. Valentine’s day is celebrated in Japan. However, only men give to women on February 14th! You will be able to enjoy seasonal Valentine’s events, such as Valentine’s dessert buffets, during early February.

#12. Another February event in Saitama, that will be of interest to some is the annual Saitama Cycle expo (click to be brought to more information).

Whatever you do in February, I hope you have a great one! If there are any February events you would like to recommend, please do share in the comments. Thank you 

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2 comments on “12 things to do in Saitama this February

    1. L M N Post author

      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!!

      Reply

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