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Omiya Ward, Saitama




Hi! I am Matthew Komljenovic, I study at Saitama University and love to travel, and make friends.


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For those that have experienced rush hour in Tokyo, it is difficult to imagine that settings like those can exist in normal suburban Japan. However, each prefecture will have their own business hub where crowds gather, and it is extremely interesting to contrast these hubs with Tokyo. Omiya is the most active business centre in Saitama Prefecture, just one hour away from Tokyo. The train station at Omiya feels just as intense as Shinjuku, as many commute towards Omiya as well as away from. Omiya ward has a range of interesting attractions nearby, making it a great place to spend a day trip. A lot of these attractions can only be seen here, so I highly recommend people to go if they have an interest in Japanese culture.


Iwatsuki city of dolls


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Japan has a long tradition of doll crafts, with many different types of humanoid dolls being used in Japanese culture as souvenirs, gifts, festival celebrations and story-telling. These dolls can be seen in all parts of Japan, and there is no doubt that you will see one upon visiting. One particular town near Tokyo, has a history of doll making that has continued up until this day since the 17th century. They call it the city of dolls, or (人形のまち Ningyō no Machi). Visting Iwatsuki is a very good way to see how Japanese craftsmanship has been preserved over the many years. The small suburb has dozens of doll shops scattered throughout where doll makers showcase their works and sell their dolls at high prices. As many of the store owners are proud of their works, they are very willing to allow tourists to view and take pictures. Whilst in Iwatsuki, the best place to learn about the history and culture of doll-crafting is to visit the museum.


Tougyoku Doll Museum


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The museum showcases the many different types of Japanese dolls and how they have changed over the years. For example, one famous category of dolls are the Hina dolls which are used for the Hinamatsuri, a doll festival on March 3. The various dolls are displayed in glass cabinets, with descriptions and histories described underneath them. There is also a screen which plays a short documentary about Iwatsuki, and the history of the Japanese doll-making culture. Unfortunately the museum offers limited English, however it is easy to gather information on what is offered.


Admission fee 200 yen
Opening Hours Everyday: 10AM-5PM

 1 Chome-3-9 Honchō, Iwatsuki-ku, Saitama-shi, Saitama-ken 339-0057

Official site


 Iwatsukijoshi Park


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watsuki castle, built around 500 years ago still has remains today, which have turned into a park for leisure and recreation. Iwatsukijisho park has different parts of the castle scattered through the park making it extremely interesting to walk through. At one corner of the park for reasons unknown, there is an abandoned train for children to play on. Surprisingly the train is air conditioned inside and is free to enter. The park is a good place to visit in combination with the doll shops and museums if you visit Iwatsuki.


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Admission fee Free
Opening Hours 24 Hours
Address 〒339-0052 Saitama-ken, Saitama-shi, Iwatsuki-ku, Ōta, 3 Chome−3−4


The Railway Museum


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The closest railway museum to Tokyo is in Omiya, built as a celebration of JR’s 20th Anniversary. The railway museum offers a fantastic experience to any type of crowd, whether you're a train geek or ordinary tourist. I was extremely surprised, thinking it would be completely boring beforehand, and leaving smiling afterwards. The railway museum is essentially a giant hall filled with different empty trains. As you walk through the hall, you also walk through history as each model of train upgrades to the next. It is very informative and fun to see what worked and what didn't (in terms of technology) with models of trains and how technologies available at the time influenced train designs. Sitting in the carriage of an old steam train really does make you feel like you've travelled to the past and vice versa with a bullet train from the future.  There is also a train simulator and instructor to help you, so you can see what it’s like to be a train driver for a day.


Admission fee

Adults: 1000 yen

Students: 500 yen

Children:  200 yen

Opening Hours All Days:   10AM-6PM

〒330-0852 Saitama-ken, Saitama-shi, Ōmiya-ku, Ōnarichō, 3丁目47

Official site


 Omiya Bonsai Art Museum


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Similar to the doll crafting, the art of bonsai has been preserved over the years with new bonsai trees still being grown today. Just like Iwatsuki, a certain suburb called Kita (otherwise known as the Omiya Bonsai Village) has a history of Bonsai Tree growing and all throughout the suburb there are many shops and merchants displaying their Bonsai. Walking through each shop you can see many different types of trees grown in so many different ways, it will leave you astounded. The most impressive pieces of art however are displayed at The Omiya Bonsai Art Museum in the area. The museum showcases dozens of impressive works by famous artists, some of which are hundreds of years old. Histories and techniques are also explained at the museum with examples showcased. The museum is a great place to experience the serenity of Japanese culture and can be enjoyed by anyone, including people that don’t have any particular interest in art. The museum takes only an hour to get through, so even busy people can have time to drop by.


Admission Fee

 Adult : 300 (200) yen

 High school/University students and persons over 65 : 150 (100) yen

 Elementary School and Junior High School student : 100 yen ( 50 yen)

 *Admission is half price for a person with a disability certificate and accompanying person.

 *Figures in parentheses are individual fees for groups of 20 or more visitors.

Opening Hours Hours

9:00-16:30 during March-October

9:00分-16:00 during November-February

Last admission 30 minutes before closing



Thursday (except for National Holiday)

Closed on December 29 – January 3.

*Temporary close during exhibition preparation.
Address 2-24-3 Toro-cho, Kita Ward, Saitama City, Saitama, 331-0804
Official site