Saitama is the capital and the most populous city of Saitama Prefecture, Japan. Its area incorporates the former cities of Urawa, Ōmiya, Yono and Iwatsuki. It is a city designated by government ordinance. Saitama Prefecture is bordered by Tokyo, Chiba, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Nagano, and Yamanashi Prefectures. It is located central-west of the Kanto region, measuring 103 km from east to west and 52 km from north to south. At 3,797.75 km2, it ranks as the ninth-smallest prefecture.
Historical, Cultural facts & Religion
Saitama, capital of Saitama ken (prefecture), east-central Honshu, Japan. Situated in the south-eastern part of the prefecture, the city was created in 2001 through the merger of the former cities of Urawa, Yono, and Ōmiya. Saitama Prefecture is world-famous for its Bonsai plants. A bonsai is a form of traditional Japanese art and culture where a tree is planted in a pot, and then meticulously groomed to the artist’s vision. The culture of Bonsai is to appreciate the shape of these branches, leaves and the trunk line. Shinto is animism that believes there are thousands of kami, or spirits, inhabiting forests, rivers and mountains. People are encouraged to live in harmony with the spirits and can ask for their help.
Brief City History
Saitama, capital of Saitama ken (prefecture), east-central Honshu, Japan. Situated in the south-eastern part of the prefecture, the city was created in 2001 through the merger of the former cities of Urawa, Yono, and Ōmiya. It lies near the northern limit of the Tokyo-Yokohama metropolitan area, about 20 miles (32 km) north of central Tokyo. The city site is on the level to gently rolling lowlands of the Kantō Plain, the southeast-flowing Ara River constituting the western boundary of the municipality. Ōmiya, formerly the prefectural capital and now the northern portion of Saitama city, and Urawa, the southern part of the new city, were roughly equal in size at the time of the merger. Both had been posted towns on the Nakasendō highway between Ōsaka and Edo (Tokyo) during the Tokugawa period (1603–1867), and both grew rapidly in the 20th century, especially after World War II. Between them was the much smaller Yono, which did not become urbanized until after the war and whose area was restricted by its two expanding neighbors. Merger discussions among the three were initiated before the war but did not begin in earnest until the early 1990s; negotiations continued for another decade before a final agreement was reached. The city is now divided administratively into nine wards, two of which—Ōmiya and Urawa—occupy the central areas, respectively, of the former cities. Saitama combines elements of a commercial and residential suburb of Tokyo with a growing industrial sector. Manufacturers include transportation equipment, machinery, metals, and processed foods. The area has long been a regional transportation hub, serving as a major rail junction and including a large railroad maintenance facility and a vast switchyard. The city is the home of Saitama University (1949). The Shintō Hikawa Shrine in Ōmiya ward is thought to have been established in the 5th century AD. The shrine and nearby Saitama Prefectural Museum are set in parkland known for its springtime cherry blossoms. Also notable is the Museum of Modern Art, Saitama (1982), in the Urawa ward. The Ōmiya area is renowned for its many bonsai (dwarf-tree) nurseries (first established there in the mid-1920s), and the Urawa vicinity includes a wild-primrose garden and a heron sanctuary. Saitama Stadium (2001) hosted games of the 2002 World Cup men’s football (soccer) finals. Pop. (2010) 1,222,434.
Language (s) Written & Spoken
The Kantō dialects ( kantō hōgen, kantō-ben) are a group of Japanese dialects spoken in the Kantō region (except for the Izu Islands).
Important Types of Commerce in Saitama
Diverse industries with an accumulation of sophisticated technology flourish in the prefecture, including the metal casting and mold making industries of Kawaguchi City and the optical device and precision machinery industries of the city of Saitama.
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