February in Saitama, 2022. There are some exclusive events and seasonal traditions that you can enjoy in Japan in the month of February in a normal year. However, due to the Coronavirus there are less special events than normal. But there is still plenty to do in February in 2022. Below is a list of 10 things you can do in Saitama this 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. In addition, all the places listed below are commutable from Tokyo and are ideal for a day trip from Tokyo.
February in Saitama
- Celebrate the holidays
- Take in the Illumination
- Be awed by icicles
- View the Hina Dolls Displays
- Smell the wintersweet
- Ride through the Plum Blossoms
- Try your hand (feet!) at Ice Skating
- Watch animals in a hot spring
- Pick strawberries
- Hang out at Saitama’s entertainment town
1.Celebrate Setsubun and the public holidays
Date: February 3rd, 11th, 14th and 23rd
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. However, in 2022 and 2021 many were cancelled on account of the Coronavirus. But here are some resources to enjoy a “mamemaki” festival at home this year. In a ‘normal’ year, there are many temples around Saitama where you can enjoy this fun and unique Japanese ritual, including:
- The most famous; setsubun event in Kazo
- Mascot setsubun in Hanyu
- Kitain Temple in Kawagoe
- Yakyu Inari shrine in Higashimatsuyama
- Kijin Temple in Ranzan
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. But unfortunately in 2022, due to the Coronavirus, there are very few of the usual traditional events on. However, the sweet potato expo will be on in 2022. Normally, I also share information here for the various amazake events on, on February 11th, but at the moment they all seem to be cancelled. If that changes, or if I find one that is on, I will update here. Regardless, both the 11th and 23rd are a day off (for the vast majority of people) in 2022!
Only women give to men on February 14th! Furthermore, in return, men give to women on White Day. 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. They haven’t announced their Valentine line up yet, but its normally strawberry based!
2.Take in the Illumination
Date: until mid or end of February
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.
Winter illumination spots that will end in February:
- There is no illumination in Seibu Amusement park in 2022. It is usually the biggest in Saitama Prefecture.
- In the absence of Seibu’s night illumination, the Illumination at Tobu Hybrid Park is the biggest in Saitama Prefecture in 2022
- Keyaki Hiroba illumination in Saitama Shintoshin
- Cocoon City illumination
- Kawaguchi Illumination
- Sun City Illumination
There are a couple of illumination that run until mid / end of March, including Saitama Prefecture’s newest illumination display.
3.Be awed by Icicles
Date: until mid to end of February
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.
Ashigakubo icicles are on view until the end of February. Moreover, they are normally lit up at weekends during this period. Misotsuchi icicles, also known as the Otaki Ice Festival, open to the public until mid February. Furthermore, they are lit up at night until around 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 yet. That is to say, it depends on the conditions. However, light up at the Onouchi Hyakkei icicles is usually for the first two weekends of February.
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. 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.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. But prime viewing for many groves in Saitama is late January to early February. There are wintersweet in various areas of Saitama. 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
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 February 14th
Locations: Saitama City and Tokigawa Town
Saitama prefecture normally has several seasonal outdoor ice rinks. They are usually open to the public during the winter months. However, in 2022, there are only two ice rinks open that I know of. One artificial one and one 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 2022 it ended on February 6th.
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 aren’t that many places you can pick strawberries in Tokyo. But there are hundreds of places you can enjoy this seasonal activity in Saitama. However, many of the picking farms are opening later than normal in 2022 on account of the coronavirus. In addition, most of them require an advance booking during this period with the pandemic. 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 two main attractions of the town are the permanent outdoor Teamlab exhibition and Kadokawa Culture Museum. However, the latter, Kadokawa Culture Museum has several of its own attractions. For example, the Grand Gallery, the Bookshelf Theater and EJ Anime Museum. Right now, there is a Gundam exhibition at the EJ Anime Museum. Moreover, if you are looking for somewhere cool to stay in Japan, check out the EJ Anime Hotel at the town:
—- 10 things to do in Saitama this February —-
Whatever you do in February, I hope you have a great one!
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