Vegetarian's Japan Guide

The Best Guide to Tokorozawa City’s Tourist Attractions

If you plan to visit Kawagoe, how about making it an overnight trip so you can stop by the attractions in Tokorozawa City (所沢市) nearby the next day on your way back to Tokyo? The city is recommended for those looking for a destination with a good mix of nature and urban elements. In particular, you will be amazed by the magnificence and uniqueness of the Kadokawa Musashino Museum’s building.

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Tips:
☛ For those who love hot springs, visit Tokorozawa Onsen Yura no Sato (所沢温泉 湯楽の里). Although the hot spring pools aren’t spacious, there are several onsen tubs for you to enjoy.
☛ If you want to stay in Tokorozawa, consider Tokorozawa Park Hotel. It is just a couple of minute’s walk from Tokorozawa Station.

Tokorozawa Aviation Memorial Park (所沢航空記念公園)

If you are an aviation buff, the 50-hectare Tokorozawa Aviation Memorial Park is a spot of your interest. The Tokorozawa Aviation Museum is where you can get close to an aircraft and better understand the aviation industry. In addition, the vast park built on the site of Japan’s first official airfield is now where the locals go for a relaxing stroll or jogging and enjoy the big playground and sports courts. In spring and autumn, people also gather at Tokorozawa Aviation Memorial Park to adore the scenery created by gorgeous flowers and vivid fall leaves.

Tokorozawa-Aviation-Museum-Tokorozawa-Saitama-Japan
Ⓒ photo-ac.com

For more information, refer to our article on Tokorozawa Aviation Memorial Park!

Soba Restaurant Shingen (手打そば処 信玄)

For those who don’t mind the non-vegan broth and dipping sauce, visit Shingen for lunch. It is a hidden gem but famous among those in the know.

The soba restaurant is conveniently located close to Tokogozawa Aviation Memorial Park. It has a traditional exterior and comfortable tatami flooring. You can see the bamboo forest and stone lanterns through the window, making the dining experience more unique. When bamboo shoots are in season, you can taste the bamboo shoots tempura!

The buckwheat noodles here are made by mixing three buckwheat powders of different brands. They are thinly cut but are still chewy. Because wheat is also used to make the soba noodles, you can also taste the fragrance of wheat on top of the buckwheat.

Besides the noodles, the chef does a great job making the tempura. It has just the right amount of batter and is deep-fried to the right point. And the restaurant isn’t stingy about the amount of tempura they offer per serving. You will be surprised by the amount of vegetable tempura on the plate!

Tip: The tempura here is popular, so arrive early to avoid disappointment.

In addition to the noodles, the tea served at Shingen is also buckwheat flavor. The soba tea has such a nice aroma that you will want to drink one cup after another.

Soba Restaurant Shingen’s Business Hours and Access Information

  • Soba Restaurant Shingen is a 20-minute walk from Tokorozawa Aviation Museum.
  • If you come straight from Kōkū-kōen Station (航空公園駅) east exit, it is a 35-minute walk.
  • The restaurant is open from 11:30 am to 3 pm from Wednesday to Sunday.

Confectionery Workshop Emile (お菓子の工房エミール)

After lunch at Soba Restaurant Shingen, you can visit Confectionery Workshop Emile on the other side of Kōkū-kōen Station. The Western sweets shop is so popular that even those who live in Tokyo would make their way to purchase Emile’s amazing cakes. The must-try here for the sweet tooth is the Japanese Chestnut Mont Blanc (和栗のモンブラン). The base of the cake is made of crispy meringue. The sweetness goes perfectly with a cup of black tea.

If you like cream, the strawberry short cake called Phrase (フレーズ) is your cake. The fresh cream is rich but very light. The crispy cream puff (石窯秀) filled with mellow custard is another Emile’s signatory confectionary.

Apart from the taste of the cakes, the reason that the confectionary maker is loved by many is because additives or preservatives other than coloring aren’t used. Thus, it is safe for small children to consume.

Confectionery Workshop Emile’s Business Hours and Access Information

  • Emile is open from 10 am to 7 pm from Wednesday to Monday.
    • If Tuesday is a public holiday, it will open.
  • The confectionery shop is a 10-minute walk from Seibu’s Kōkū-kōen Station (航空公園駅) west exit.

Tokorozawa Sakura Town (ところざわサクラタウン)

The coolest spot in Tokorozawa City is Tokorozawa Sakura Town. The concept of the complex is Cool Japan Forest. While the “forest” concept is mostly gone after the Musashino Forest Park (武蔵野樹林パーク) closed in January 2024, facilities such as Kadokawa Musashino Museum and Musashino Reiwa Shrine still make the complex fascinating.

For more information, refer to our article on Kadokawa Musashino Museum.

Matsugōan Jingorō (松郷庵 甚五郎)

A soba and udon restaurant close to Tokorozawa Sakura Town is Matsugōan Jingorō. The restaurant, established in 1984, is particular about the ingredients used and tries to source as much local produce as possible. Besides the regular menu, seasonal soba and udon dishes, and a la carte menu are also popular.

Like many soba restaurants, Matsugōan Jingorō has a traditional setting. The soft deem lighting from the covered light bulb and the decor add to the restaurant’s atmosphere. The good news for those who can’t sit on the ground is that it also has table seating. No matter where you sit, you will enjoy your noodles at a log wood table.

Matsugōan Jingorō’s soba noodles contain 90% buckwheat flour, which is why the noodles here are firmer than average restaurants. Regarding the udon noodles, they are made with whole grain flour. This is why the noodles have a richer wheat aroma and are more nutritious. While whole meal bread isn’t as smooth as white bread, surprisingly, Matsugōan Jingorō’s whole meal udon is easy to eat!

If sweet potato tempura is on the menu, order it. Different from the thinly sliced sweet potato, it is thick. The 2cm-thick sweet potato tempura can be offered at Matsugōan Jingorō because the sweet potato is grilled for two hours before being battered and deep fried. Thanks to this extra process, the sweetness in the vegetable is brought out, and the deliciousness reaches the next level.

If you read Japanese, you can refer to their menu HERE.

Matsugōan Jingorō’s Business Hours and Access Information

  • Matsugōan Jingorō is open from Thursday to Tuesday from
    • 11:15 am to 2:30 pm (L.O. at 2 pm)
    • 5 pm to 8:30 pm (L.O. at 8 pm)
    • It only opens for lunch on the 2nd and the 4th Tuesday
  • The restaurant is a 15-minute walk from Tokorozawa Sakura Town or a 25-minute walk from Seibu’s Higashi-Tokorozawa Station (東所沢駅).

Tamon-in (多聞院)

If you have a car and plan to visit Tokorozawa in late spring or autumn, visit Tamon-in. The temple is a renowned spot for peony and fall foliage hunting. Besides the natural scenery, pilgrims can enjoy a couple of fun rituals. In addition, it is a temple filled with tiger elements!

For more information, refer to our Tamon-in article!

Seibuen Amusement Park (西武園ゆうえんち)

Seibuen has a Showa period vibe (early 20th century). The retro-style amusement park is a good spot for families with young children. It is also a photogenic spot to snap some photos with the township from the last century in the background. Walking in Seibuen Amusement Park gives you the illusion that you are one of the characters in Japan’s period movies.

Along the old-style 150-meter-long shopping street, there are several retro games for you to challenge yourself. In addition, this main street in Seibuen Amusement Park is where most performances take place. We aren’t referring to the large shows similar to the kinds in Disneyland. The shop owners and even the police officers will start their short personal shows according to the schedule throughout the day. So, check out the performance schedule upon arrival to plan your visit!

The Godzilla/Ultraman ride is probably the most exciting attraction in Seibuen. It will definitely excite those who love dinosaurs. Some food sold in the park is also Godzilla themed. Water slides in summer is another highlight of the park.

Events are also planned according to each season, including the cherry blossom festival, fireworks, Halloween, and Christmas illumination. From sunset, the park might be lit up to create a different vibe for its guests to enjoy the park’s nighttime.

Tips:
☛ Visit Seibuen Amusement Park on a weekday to avoid queueing.
☛ Bring some food with you even if you aren’t a vegetarian. The aren’t many restaurants in the amusement park and the food choice is limited.

Seibuen Amusement Park’s Business Hours, Admission Fee, and Access Information

  • Seibuen Amusement Park is open from 10 am to 8 pm.
  • The admission fee is
    • 4,900 yen for adults
    • 3,600 yen for children
  • The amusement park is next to Seibūen Yuenchi Station (西武園ゆうえんち駅).

Sayama Indoor Skiing Ground (狭山スキー場)

If you are a beginner and want to enjoy skiing, consider visiting the Sayama Indoor Skiing Ground. The slope has a total length of 300 meters. To get to the top of the slope, take the escalator instead of the usual lift. With a width of 30 meters, it has a large capacity as an indoor snow world. Of course, ski and snowboard gear can be rented from the counter. Changerooms are available, too.

Because it is indoor, many risk factors for skiing are eliminated. Thus, it is perfect for children to learn skiing or snowboarding. Younger children can enjoy sledding as well. This is why a large percentage of guests are young families. In addition, a range of fun events and activities are held every day, such as snowball fights!

Note that as the snow here is produced by machine, the snow is harder than natural snow.

In summer, the ski field is transformed into a water-slider world. The thrill you will get from the slider set up from the top of the slope won’t be less than from skiing on the soft white snow!

Tips:
☛ Bring your food to Sayama Indoor Skiing Ground. While light meals can be purchased here, the cost is high, and the menu lacks vegetarian options.
☛ If you are a beginner, visit Sayama Indoor Skiing Ground on a weekday so you have enough space to practice at the lower part of the slope.

Sayama Indoor Skiing Ground’s Business Hours, Admission Fee, and Access Information

  • Sayama Indoor Skiing Ground is open from 10 am to 9 pm from the beginning of November to March for skiing.
  • The one-day admission fee is 4,000 yen for junior high school students and older.
  • If you enter the park after 2 pm, the cost is reduced to 3,000 yen.
  • If you enter the park between 6 pm and 9 pm, the admission fee is 2,000 yen.
  • The admission fee for children from 3 years old to elementary school students is 1,000 yen.
  • The skiing ground is a 3-minute walk from Seibu’s Seibu Kyūjō-mae Station (西武球場前駅).

Yamaguchi Kannon (山口観音)

Konjō-in Hōkō-ji (金乗院 放光寺) at the top of a hill is a temple erected by the Kōbō Daishi (弘法大師) with gorgeous scenery and buildings. We reckon it is the best temple in the area. Not only does the temple have a scenic precinct, but you will also find Buddhist elements of various styles. Furthermore, with many dragon statues and carvings, the temple is like the home to dragons!

Sayama Lake (狭山湖)

The artificial lake, completed in 1933 by sourcing water from the Tama River (多摩川), is also referred to as Yamaguchi Reservoir (山口貯水池). Don’t underestimate the stunning lake; Sayama Lake plays a key role in Tokyo’s water supply. Because of its rich nature and beautiful scenery, it was chosen as one of Japan’s Top 100 Dams.

The lake is surrounded by Sayama Nature Park (県立狭山自然公園). In autumn, the vivid colors make Sayama Lake a photogenic spot. Moreover, it is a hidden spot to view Mt. Fuji. You might be able to see the mountain reflected on the lake!

Besides walking, cycling through the promenade is a more active way to enjoy the lake. This is particularly a great idea in summer for the chill breeze created by your speed to chase away the heat.

In addition, Sayama Lake is also a wintering ground for waterfowl. In fact, it is a great spot for birdwatching throughout the year as most human activities are banned here to ensure the water quality. If you are lucky, you might even spot a couple of mammals!

Ⓒ (一社)埼玉県物産観光協会 複製・再転載禁止

Tip: The sunset at Sayama Lake is stunning.

How to Get to Sayama Lake

  • Sayama Lake is is a 5-minute walk from Seibu’s Seibu Kyūjō-mae Station (西武球場前駅).

Yamaguchi Dango (山口屋だんご店)

For a traditional snack, visit Yamaguchi Dango. The famous dango maker has been making delicious rice cakes in Tokorozawa for over 100 years. The rice cake skewers grilled with specially made soy sauce over charcoal taste amazing. It is just hard not to drool when you smell the nice fragrance of the lightly burnt sauce.

The freshly baked dango rice cakes are certainly chewy. But the owner, Kaneko-san, recommends eating her grilled rice cakes about two hours later. Why? Because the rice cakes are chewier, and the flavors change for the better over time. The rice cakes are made the night before. While you might think the rice cakes aren’t fresh, it might be the secret of how her rice cakes stay delicious after they become cold.

Yamaguchi Dango’s Business Hours and Access Information

  • Yamaguchi Dango is open from 10 am to 1:30 pm from Wednesday to Saturday or until sold out.
  • The dango specialist is a 12-minute walk from Seibu’s Kotesashi Station (小手指駅).

Totoro Forest (トトロの森) and Kurosuke’s House (クロスケの家)

If you are a fan of Ghibli’s movie My Neighbor Totoro and the beauty of Japanese nature, the Totoro Forest (トトロの森) is a destination you don’t want to miss. Just a 20-minute walk from Seibu Kyūjōmae Station (西武球場前駅), you will be immersed in Mother Nature’s generosity. A deep forest with beautiful lakes, a vast sky, and thousands of amazing living creatures await you.

Discover Tokorozawa’s Neighbor, Kawagoe

Toki-no-Kane-Kawagoe-Saitama-Japan
Click the photo to discover the attractions in Kawagoe!

Just a couple of stations away from Tokorozawa, Kawagoe (川越) is where you can travel back in time into the Japanese township in the Edo and the Meiji/Taisho periods. Recognized as the prefecture’s Historical City, Kawagoe houses many historical and cultural properties.

On top of that, there are many delicious street food shops, cafes, and restaurants that you would want to stop by when you visit the retro district of Kawagoe!

For more information, refer to our Kawagoe article!

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