Explore Interesting Museums in Saitama

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Explore Interesting Museums in Saitama
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Museums have always been one of the lesser visited attractions, but in the land of the rising sun, Japanese museums are very different and intriguing, providing an entirely different experience for visitors.

This time, let’s turn our attention to a more culturally rich part of the Saitama Prefecture. It is often considered as part of the Greater Tokyo Area due to the close proximity to the metropolis. This prefecture is well known as a commercial area for manufacturing food, optical, cars and one of Japan’s most famous dolls – Hinamatsuri Dolls. Usually, visitors tend to take day trips to Saitama from Tokyo, but you could spend a night or two here to fully experience this part of Northern Japan. Below are some of the unique museums found around Saitama.

A peek inside the Railway Museum.
Image credit: Saitama Japan on Facebook

Railway Museum

Who doesn’t love Japanese trains? If you are a huge train fan, the Railway Museum in Saitama is not to be missed! It’s touted to be one of the best train museums in Japan. Owned by JR East (Japan Railway East), this museum was part of the JR East 20th Anniversary Project in 2007.

Today, the massive museum covers an area of 42,500 square meters and there are two main areas – a history zone and a learning zone. The museum also houses 30 different trains and many other railway related items that range from yesteryear until current times.

Exploring train models in the museum.
Image credit: Aapo Haapanen on Flickr / CC BY 2.0

One of the highlights here is the unique train driving simulators. Visitors could experience driving a shinkansen (bullet train), a D51 steam locomotive, and general trains along some of Tokyo’s popular subway lines. A ¥500 additional fee is required for the D51 steam locomotive simulator, but the others are free.

Inside the Railway Museum of Saitama.
Image credit: Aapo Haapanen on Flickr / CC BY 2.0

At this museum, you could see the first train in Japan which is the Class 150 steam locomotive with the name No.1 on it. There are also many other steam and electric locomotives on display, but the Imperial Carriages are the most unique.

Besides this, there is a railway cafeteria, a museum shop for interesting souvenirs, and a research room for students or anyone who is into railways.

Railway Museum
Address: Japan, 〒330-0852 Saitama Prefecture, Saitama, Omiya Ward, Onaricho, 3丁目47
Phone: +81 48-651-0088
Opening Hours: 10.00 AM – 6.00 PM
Admission Fee: ¥100 – ¥1000
Website: http://www.railway-museum.jp/

The Bonsai Art Museum.
Image credit: Guilhem Vellut on Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Omiya Bonsai Art Museum

Have you ever been fascinated by the famous Japanese Bonsai plant? This is the place you should visit. The Omiya Bonsai Art Museum showcases some of Japan’s centuries-old gardening hobby and almost everything you wanted to know about Bonsai. There are also special Bonsai demonstrations, exhibitions and even workshops available, depending on the time you are visiting. It is best to check the English version website for the workshop and demonstration days. One of the highlights here is the history of Bonsai, which is quite fascinating.

Visitors dressed to pose with some of the Bonsai plants outdoors.
Photo by Saitama Japan on Facebook

Omiya Bonsai Art Museum
Address: 2 Chome-24-3 Torocho, Kita, Saitama, Saitama Prefecture 331-0804, Japan
Phone: +81 48-780-2091
Opening Hours: 9.00 AM – 4.30 PM
Admission Fees: ¥100 – ¥300
Website: http://www.bonsai-art-museum.jp/en/

View of the museum in Saitama.
Image credit: MOMA on Facebook

Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)

For modern art lovers, MOMA or the Museum of Modern Art is where you can find some of the best modern Japanese and Western artists’ work on display. The great thing about MOMA is that it is located in a beautiful park with lots of greenery – perfect to explore open-air art sculptures placed outside the museum.

There is also a musical fountain in the centre of the park here displaying different types of water routines according to different music. The dancing fountain performs a show every two hours starting from 10 am until 8 pm and is free of charge.

Inside MOMA, some of the interesting exhibitions.
Image credit: MOMA on Facebook

Besides that, there is a special ‘Museum of Chairs’ showcasing a unique collection of art designed chairs which is totally out of this world. Throughout the year, there are many different themed art exhibitions held here and you can find the list on the museum’s website below.

Museum of Modern Art
Address: 9 Chome-30-1 Tokiwa, Urawa Ward, Saitama, Saitama Prefecture 330-0061, Japan
Phone: +81 48-824-0111
Opening Hours: 10.00 AM – 5.30 PM
Admission Fees: ¥100 – ¥200
Website: http://www.pref.spec.ed.jp/momas/

The main museum building structure.
Image credit: Kaoru Yamamoto on Facebook

Toyama Memorial Museum

One of the more serious museums is found in the Toyama area, tucked away from the city life. The Toyama Memorial Museum is originally a traditional Japanese home which was completed in 1936. In 1970, it was officially converted into a memorial museum to showcase the preservation of historical buildings in Toyama.

There are three main wings and the main museum building houses rich antiques and textiles from around Japan and the world. A special collection of Japanese and Oriental antiques is also on display by Toyama Gen-ichi, the founder of this museum.

Some of the items displayed in the museum.
Image credit: Kazui Shibuya on Facebook

Visitors heading here could see and learn about the traditional central Japanese home and the beautifully landscaped Japanese gardens. In the Central Wing of the museum, you can see a special collection of Japanese dolls which are only on display during selected months. Girls’ dolls are displayed in March whereas the boys’ dolls are displayed in the month of May.

Toyama Memorial Museum
Address: 675 Shiroinuma, Kawajima, Hiki-gun, Saitama Prefecture 350-0128, Japan
Phone: +81 49-297-0007
Opening Hours: 10.00 AM – 4.30 PM
Admission Fees: ¥500 – ¥700
Website: https://www.e-kinenkan.com/

One of the traditional Japanese houses at the museum.
Image credit: Saitama Japan on Facebook

Saitama Prefectural Museum of History and Folklore

If you are a huge fan of Saitama, the prefectural museum is your best place to visit as they carry the entire history of Saitama in one place. The museum was opened in 1971 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the founding of Saitama.

While you think this place may be another boring museum, you are absolutely wrong. This museum has incorporated many different activities for both adults and children. They have a special Monozukuri Workshop for visitors to experience creating some historical art and craft of Saitama.

A bronze patina finished Japanese Samurai Warrior statue.
Image credit: Saitama Japan on Facebook

The Dreams & Experiences Plaza is the place where visitors could participate in hands-on activities. At times, the museum displays some of Japan’s National Treasures which is not to be missed. Facilities provided here include disable-friendly access, babies’ room and a common resting area.

Saitama Prefectural Museum of History and Folklore
Address: 4-219 Takahanacho, Omiya Ward, Saitama, Saitama Prefecture 330-0803, Japan
Phone: +81 48-641-0890
Opening Hours: 9.00 AM – 4.30 PM
Admission Fees: ¥100 – ¥300
Website: http://www.saitama-rekimin.spec.ed.jp/

Saitama, one of the up and coming tourist destinations in Japan.
Image credit: NineTailedSquid on Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Getting to Saitama from Tokyo

To get here, you simply need to take the trains from Tokyo to the Urawa Station or the Omiya Station for those wanting to experience the shinkansen (bullet train). Trains are probably the most convenient way to get to Saitama.

If you are staying in Tokyo, Saitama is a great place to explore as a day trip and travelling here is very easy when you take the trains. One of the best times to visit here is also during the cherry blossom season.

David Hogan Jr
David Hogan Jr
A multiple award-winning travel writer, blogger and social media enthusiast. He has been traveling to Japan since 1990 and all over the world for his work. His work has been featured on CNN Travel, Yahoo Travel, Lonely Planet and many other publications. David writes at: http://malaysia-asia.my and is on social media platforms as @MalaysiaAsia

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