Tokorozawa, Saitama

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Tokorozawa
所沢市
Special city
Central Tokorozawa from Hachikokuyama
Central Tokorozawa from Hachikokuyama
Flag of Tokorozawa
Flag
Location of Tokorozawa in Saitama Prefecture
Location of Tokorozawa in Saitama Prefecture
Tokorozawa is located in Japan
Tokorozawa
Tokorozawa
Location in Japan
Coordinates: 35°48′N 139°28′E / 35.800°N 139.467°E / 35.800; 139.467Coordinates: 35°48′N 139°28′E / 35.800°N 139.467°E / 35.800; 139.467
Country Japan
Region Kantō
Prefecture Saitama Prefecture
Government
 • Mayor Masato Fujimoto (since October 2011)
Area
 • Total 71.99 km2 (27.80 sq mi)
Population (March 1, 2012)
 • Total 342,939
 • Density 4,763.70/km2 (12,337.9/sq mi)
Time zone Japan Standard Time (UTC+9)
Symbols
- Tree ginkgo
- Flower tea flower
- Bird skylark
Address 1-1-1 Namiki, Tokorozawa-shi, Saitama
359-8501
Phone number 04-2998-1111
Website www.city.tokorozawa.saitama.jp

Tokorozawa (所沢市 Tokorozawa-shi?) is a city located in Saitama Prefecture, Japan. It is located in the central part of the Musashino plain, about 30 km west of central Tokyo. Tokorozawa can be considered part of the greater Tokyo area; its proximity to the latter and lower housing costs make it a popular bedroom community.

Location[edit]

Tokorozawa City Office

Tokorozawa borders the Tokyo communities of Kiyose, Higashimurayama, Higashiyamato, Musashimurayama, and Mizuho; and the Saitama communities of Iruma, Sayama, Kawagoe, Miyoshimachi, and Niiza.

Most of Lake Sayama falls within city boundaries; Lake Tama also touches the south-western part of the city. Today the city is an agricultural market for locally grown Sayama green tea. Other agricultural products include spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes, burdock, pears and grapes.

The area around Tokorozawa Station's west exit is built up as a shopping district with several department stores. Prope Street is a popular shopping arcade.

History[edit]

During the Kamakura period, the area was host to a series of battles fought in May 1333 that were part of the Genko War that ultimately ended the Kamakura Shogunate. These include the 1333 Battle of Kotesashi and the Battle of Kumegawa. Kotesashi was again the site of another battle nineteen years later.

During the Edo period (1603–1867) the area's major industry was silk textile production. It was also an important trading center, being located at the intersection of roads connecting Edo with the towns of Hachioji, Chichibu, Kawagoe and Fuchu.

Tokorozawa became the site of Japan's first air base and air service academy in 1911. The base was used through the end of World War II and fell under the control of the United States Armed Forces after the war. The US returned most of its property in Tokorozawa to Japan in 1971, but retains a communications facility in the city which is operated by the 374th Airlift Wing of the Fifth Air Force, based at Yokota Air Base to the southwest. The facility houses antennas for communications with USAF aircraft in the region. Much of the land returned to Japan has been converted into a public Tokorozawa Aviation Memorial Park.

Tokorozawa was established as a city on November 3, 1950 and was designated as a special city in 2002. It currently meets the conditions to be designated as a core city but has yet to receive this designation.

Economy[edit]

Seibu department store in central Tokorozawa

Public sector[edit]

Tokorozawa houses the Tokyo Area Control Center, which controls airspace in the Kantō, Jōetsu, Tōhoku, Chūbu, and Hokuriku regions and a portion of the Kansai region. [1]

Private sector[edit]

Tokorozawa is the headquarters of Seibu Holdings, the parent company of Seibu Railway. Several Seibu group companies, including its railway and bus divisions, are headquartered in the vicinity of Tokorozawa Station. Seibu owns an amusement park, baseball stadium (Seibu Dome) and velodrome (Seibu-en Velodrome) in the "Seibu-en" district near Lake Tama in the southwestern corner of the city.

Citizen Holdings operates a watch factory in Tokorozawa.

Professional sports teams[edit]

General points of interest[edit]

Seibu Dome
Tokorozawa Aviation Museum

Historical points of interest[edit]

Events[edit]

The Tokorozawa Matsuri is a festival held each year in October and features traditional Japanese parade floats (mikoshi), taiko drums, and samba dancers.

A two-day festival featuring music, cultural and sports exhibitions, community group activities and food booths takes place in late October in Kokukoen Park on the grounds of the former airfield. A similar 1-day festival, the Shimin Bunka Fair, takes place in early April in the park.

The business community around Tokorozawa station sponsors the Tokorozawa Shun no Ichi, a 2-day festival in the facilities of the mothballed Seibu train repair facilities near Tokorozawa station. The festival features music performances in an old hangar, cultural exhibitions, a swap meet, and food stands.

The city and local business community decorates the west side of Tokorozawa station with holiday lights from early December through mid March, and separate lighting ceremonies featuring local musicians, politicians, and sports figures are conducted for various portions of the lighted areas.

Transportation[edit]

Railways[edit]

Map of Seibu Railway

Tokorozawa houses the headquarters of Seibu Railway and its parent company Seibu Holdings, and Tokorozawa Station forms a hub in the Seibu Railway network which serves western Tokyo and southern Saitama. Tokorozawa is at the intersection of Seibu's two main lines, which respectively run to Ikebukuro Station and Seibu Shinjuku Station in central Tokyo.

Bus[edit]

The city is served by Seibu Bus.

Buses run frequently between Tokorozawa and both Haneda domestic airport and Narita international airport. Buses leave from Tokorozawa Station (east exit) and Higashi-Tokorozawa Station.

Roads[edit]

The main highway in Tokorozawa is National Route 463, which passes through the city center. Route 463 interchanges with the Kan-Etsu Expressway in eastern Tokorozawa.

Areas[edit]

Notable people[edit]

Born in Tokorozawa[edit]

  • Bokuzen Hidari (1894–1971), actor born in Kotesashi Village (which was absorbed into Tokorozawa)
  • George Tokoro (Takayuki Haga), comedian

Living in Tokorozawa[edit]

Tokorozawa in popular culture[edit]

  • Scenes in the Japanese horror film Ju-on were filmed in Tokorozawa. The area around Tokorozawa Station is identifiable.

Sister cities[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]