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Location of Saitama in Saitama Prefecture
|• Mayor||Hayato Shimizu|
|• Total||217.49 km2 (83.97 sq mi)|
|Population (November 1, 2010)|
|• Density||5,664.08/km2 (14,669.9/sq mi)|
|• Tree||Zelkova serrata(Keyaki)|
|Time zone||Japan Standard Time (UTC+9)|
|City Hall Address||6-4-4 Tokiwa, Urawa-ku, Saitama-shi
Saitama (さいたま市 Saitama-shi?) is the capital and the most populous city of Saitama Prefecture in Japan, situated in the south-east of the prefecture. Its area incorporates the former cities of Urawa, Ōmiya, Yono and Iwatsuki. It is a city designated by government ordinance. Being in the Greater Tokyo Area and lying 15 - 30 kilometres north of central Tokyo, many of its residents commute into Tokyo.
- 1 History
- 2 Geography
- 3 Wards
- 4 Economy
- 5 Transportation
- 6 Politics and government
- 7 Culture
- 8 Sister cities
- 9 Visitor attractions
- 10 References
- 11 External links
The city was founded on May 1, 2001, and was designated on April 1, 2003 as a government ordinance. For the histories of Urawa, Ōmiya and Yono before the merger, see:
The name "Saitama" originally comes from the Sakitama (埼玉郡) district of what is now the city of Gyōda in the northern part of what is now known as Saitama Prefecture. "Sakitama" has an ancient history and is mentioned in the famous 8th century poetry anthology Man'yōshū. The pronunciation has changed from Sakitama to Saitama over the years.
With the merger of Urawa, Ōmiya, and Yono it was decided that a new name, one fitting for this newly created prefectural capital, was needed. The prefectural name "Saitama" (埼玉県) was changed from kanji into hiragana, thus Saitama City (さいたま市) was born. It is the only prefectural capital in Japan whose name is always written in hiragana, and belongs to the list of hiragana cities.
However, Saitama written in hiragana (さいたま市) actually finished in second place in public polling to Saitama written in kanji (埼玉市). Despite this, government officials decided to name the new city Saitama in hiragana, not kanji. In third place in the poll was Ōmiya (大宮市). In fourth was Saitama (彩玉市), written with an alternative kanji for "sai" (彩) which means "colorful". The "sai" (埼) used in the prefectural name is a rare form of a common character (崎) that means cape or promontory.
The city is located 20 to 30 km north of central Tokyo, roughly at the center of the Kantō Plain. Within Saitama Prefecture, the location corresponds to the southeastern portion bordered by Ageo City, Hasuda City, and Shiraoka Town to the north; Asaka City, Kawaguchi City, Toda City, and Warabi City to the south; Koshigaya City to the east; Kasukabe City to the northeast; and Kawagoe City, Shiki City, and Fujimi City to the west.
Situated within the Kantō Plain, the city is topographically comprised by lowlands and plateaus, mostly falling below 20 m above sea level, with no mountain ranges or hills within the city boundaries. The western portion of the city lies on the lowland created by the Arakawa River along with those created by small rivers such as the Moto-Arakawa River, Shiba River, and Ayase River. The rest of the area mostly resides on the Ōmiya Plateau lying in the north-south direction. Dispersed in this region, major rivers flow southward, almost paralleling to one another.
Saitama has ten wards (ku), which were assigned official colours as of April 2005:
|■1 - Chūō-ku||中央区||(Rose red)|
|■2 - Iwatsuki-ku||岩槻区||(Ochre)|
|■3 - Kita-ku||北区||(Dark green)|
|■4 - Midori-ku||緑区||(Green)|
|■5 - Minami-ku||南区||(Lemon yellow)|
|■6 - Minuma-ku||見沼区||(Sky blue)|
|■7 - Nishi-ku||西区||(Blue)|
|■8 - Ōmiya-ku||大宮区||(Orange)|
|■9 - Sakura-ku||桜区||(Cherry blossom pink)|
|■10 - Urawa-ku||浦和区||(Red) - administrative center|
Saitama's economy is principally constituted by commercial business. The city is one of many commercial centers of the Greater Tokyo area and serves Saitama Prefecture, North Kantō, and northeast Honshū.
Saitama is also home to various manufacturers, exporting automotive (Honda manufactures the Honda Legend here), food, optical, precision and pharmaceutical products. Calsonic Kansei, a global automotive company is headquartered in the city. Iwatsuki is famous for manufacturing of hinamatsuri dolls and ornate kabuto (samurai helmets).
Saitama is a regional transportation hub for both passengers and freight.
Ōmiya Station, part of the Shinkansen high-speed train network, serves as the biggest railway hub in the prefecture. The Musashino and Saitama Railway lines offer connections at other stations. The Shuto, Tokyo Gaikan and Tōhoku expressways serve the city. National Highway Routes 16, 17, 122, 298 and 463 also serve the city.
The closest major airports are Haneda Airport and Narita International Airport, both about two hours away. Honda Airport in Okegawa is for general aviation and offers no scheduled transport services. Commuter helicopter flights to Narita Airport are offered from Kawajima.
- ■ East Japan Railway Company
- ■ Tōhoku, Akita, Yamagata, Jōetsu and Nagano Shinkansen
- - Ōmiya -
- ■ Utsunomiya Line
- ■ Takasaki Line
- - Urawa - Saitama-Shintoshin - Ōmiya - Miyahara -
- ■ Keihin-Tōhoku Line
- ■ Saikyō Line
- ■ Musashino Line
- ■ Kawagoe Line
- ■ Tobu Railway
- ■ Tōbu Noda Line
- ■ Saitama New Urban Transit
- ■ New Shuttle
Politics and government
The executive mayor, who is directly elected, is Sōichi Aikawa, an independent backed by the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito. On May 24, 2009, Aikawa lost his bid for reelection against Hayato Shimizu, who was backed by the opposition DPJ. The city assembly of Saitama has 64 elected members.
- Mejiro University
- Nihon University Faculty of Law
- The Open University of Japan Omiya Study Center
- Saitama University
- Shibaura Institute of Technology
- University of Human Arts and Sciences
- Urawa University
- Kokusai Gakuin Saitama Junior College
- Urawa University Junior College
- Omiya Nishi High School
- Omiya Kita High School
- Urawa High School
- Urawa Minami High school
Professional Graduate School
- Urawa Red Diamonds - J. League football (soccer)
- Omiya Ardija - J. League football (soccer)
- Saitama Broncos - bj league basketball (The base is Saitama Prefecture, main is Saitama, Tokorozawa.)
- Saitama Seibu Lions - NPB (baseball)
Most of Saitama Prefecture's mass media presence is concentrated in this city. See Mass media in Saitama Prefecture for details.
Saitama has six sister cities.
- Toluca, Mexico (1979)
- Zhengzhou, China (1981)
- Hamilton, New Zealand (1984)
- Richmond, Virginia, United States (1994)
- Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada (1996)
- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States (1998)
- Akigase Park
- Besshonuma Park
- Hikawa Shrine
- John Lennon Museum
- Minuma Rice Paddies
- Ōmiya Bonsai Village
- Railway Museum
- Saitama Stadium 2002
- Saitama Super Arena
- Omiya parks 1,2,&3
- "Company Profile." Calsonic Kansei. Retrieved on January 29, 2015.
- Haneda bus and Narita bus
- Connecting TOKYO and Narita Int'l Airport - NARITA HELI EXPRESS
- "DPJ Triumphs in Saitama Election", The Japan Times, 25 May 2009.
- 姉妹友好都市 [Sister Cities] (in Japanese). Saitama Tourism and International Relations Bureau. Retrieved 12 May 2013.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Saitama, Saitama.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Saitama.|
- Saitama City official website (Japanese)