This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Saitama" city – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (September 2011) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Saitama
さいたま市
Saitama City
From top left: Saitama Stadium 2002, Urawa Parco, Gyokuzouin, Hikawa Shrine, Saitama New City Center, Saitama Super Arena, Musashi urawa
From top left: Saitama Stadium 2002, Urawa Parco, Gyokuzouin, Hikawa Shrine, Saitama New City Center, Saitama Super Arena, Musashi urawa
Flag of Saitama
Official seal of Saitama
Location of Saitama in Saitama Prefecture
Location of Saitama in Saitama Prefecture
Saitama is located in Japan
Saitama
Saitama
Coordinates: 35°51′41″N 139°38′44″E / 35.86139°N 139.64556°E / 35.86139; 139.64556Coordinates: 35°51′41″N 139°38′44″E / 35.86139°N 139.64556°E / 35.86139; 139.64556
CountryJapan
RegionKantō
PrefectureSaitama
Government
 • MayorHayato Shimizu
Area
 • Total217.43 km2 (83.95 sq mi)
Population
 (March 1, 2021)
 • Total1,324,854
 • Density6,100/km2 (16,000/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+9 (Japan Standard Time)
Phone number048-829-1111
Address6-4-4 Tokiwa, Urawa-ku, Saitama-shi, Saitama-ken 330-9588
ClimateCfa
WebsiteOfficial website
Symbols
FlowerPrimula sieboldii
TreeZelkova serrata
Saitama City Hall
Saitama City Hall

Saitama (さいたま市, Saitama-shi, Japanese: [saꜜitama]) 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. Being in the Greater Tokyo Area and lying 15 to 30 kilometres north of central Tokyo, many of its residents commute into Tokyo. As of 1 February 2021, the city had an estimated population of 1,324,854, and a population density of 6,093 people per km² (15,781 people per mi²). Its total area is 217.43 square kilometres (83.95 sq mi).[1]

Etymology

The name "Saitama" originally comes from the Sakitama District (埼玉郡) 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" () which means "colorful". The "sai" () used in the prefectural name is a rare form of a common character () that means 'cape' or 'promontory'.

Geography

The city is located 20 to 30 km north of central Tokyo, roughly at the center of the Kantō Plain. Situated in the southeast of Saitama Prefecture, the city is topographically comprised by lowlands and plateaus, at mostly less than 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.

Surrounding municipalities

Climate

Saitama has a Humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa) characterized by warm summers and cool winters with light to no snowfall. The average annual temperature in Saitama is 15.2 °C (59.4 °F). The average annual rainfall is 1,371.3 mm (53.99 in) with September as the wettest month. The temperatures are highest on average in August, at around 27.0 °C (80.6 °F), and lowest in January, at around 3.9 °C (39.0 °F).[2]

Climate data for Saitama (1991−2020 normals, extremes 1976−present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 18.7
(65.7)
25.5
(77.9)
26.9
(80.4)
31.2
(88.2)
34.2
(93.6)
38.0
(100.4)
39.3
(102.7)
38.7
(101.7)
37.4
(99.3)
33.1
(91.6)
25.6
(78.1)
25.1
(77.2)
39.3
(102.7)
Average high °C (°F) 9.4
(48.9)
10.3
(50.5)
13.7
(56.7)
19.2
(66.6)
23.8
(74.8)
26.5
(79.7)
30.5
(86.9)
31.8
(89.2)
27.7
(81.9)
21.9
(71.4)
16.5
(61.7)
11.7
(53.1)
20.3
(68.5)
Daily mean °C (°F) 3.9
(39.0)
4.9
(40.8)
8.4
(47.1)
13.7
(56.7)
18.6
(65.5)
22.0
(71.6)
25.9
(78.6)
27.0
(80.6)
23.2
(73.8)
17.5
(63.5)
11.4
(52.5)
6.2
(43.2)
15.2
(59.4)
Average low °C (°F) −1.1
(30.0)
−0.2
(31.6)
3.3
(37.9)
8.4
(47.1)
13.9
(57.0)
18.3
(64.9)
22.2
(72.0)
23.2
(73.8)
19.5
(67.1)
13.5
(56.3)
6.8
(44.2)
1.2
(34.2)
10.8
(51.4)
Record low °C (°F) −9.8
(14.4)
−8.8
(16.2)
−5.0
(23.0)
−2.0
(28.4)
4.8
(40.6)
11.5
(52.7)
14.7
(58.5)
16.3
(61.3)
9.5
(49.1)
3.6
(38.5)
−2.4
(27.7)
−6.7
(19.9)
−9.8
(14.4)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 42.4
(1.67)
39.6
(1.56)
88.0
(3.46)
101.9
(4.01)
121.4
(4.78)
144.8
(5.70)
148.0
(5.83)
164.0
(6.46)
202.8
(7.98)
196.8
(7.75)
70.9
(2.79)
45.2
(1.78)
1,371.3
(53.99)
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 3.8 4.6 8.7 9.0 10.0 11.6 11.8 8.8 10.8 10.0 6.7 4.4 100.8
Average dew point °C (°F) −5
(23)
−4
(25)
1
(34)
8
(46)
13
(55)
18
(64)
22
(72)
23
(73)
19
(66)
12
(54)
6
(43)
−1
(30)
9
(49)
Mean monthly sunshine hours 201.4 186.4 186.6 187.1 185.3 128.4 152.5 181.9 135.6 135.1 156.6 181.1 2,018
Source 1: Japan Meteorological Agency[2]
Source 2: Time and Date (dewpoints, 1985-2015)[3]

See or edit raw graph data.

Historical population

Historical population
YearPop.±%
1920 123,655—    
1925 140,357+13.5%
1930 158,304+12.8%
1935 178,012+12.4%
1940 202,689+13.9%
1945 257,368+27.0%
1950 320,453+24.5%
1955 364,088+13.6%
1960 420,442+15.5%
1965 530,675+26.2%
1970 657,425+23.9%
1975 817,712+24.4%
1980 879,291+7.5%
1985 922,757+4.9%
1990 1,007,569+9.2%
1995 1,078,545+7.0%
2000 1,133,300+5.1%
2005 1,176,314+3.8%
2010 1,222,910+4.0%
2015 1,263,982+3.4%
2020 1,326,278+4.9%

Wards

Saitama has ten wards (ku), which were assigned official colors as of April 2005:

Wards of Saitama
Place Name Map of Saitama
Rōmaji Kanji Color Area (km2)
1 Chūō-ku 中央区 (Rose red) 8.39
2 Iwatsuki-ku 岩槻区 (Ochre) 49.17
3 Kita-ku 北区 (Dark green) 16.86
4 Midori-ku 緑区 (Green) 26.44
5 Minami-ku 南区 (Lemon yellow) 13.82
6 Minuma-ku 見沼区 (Sky blue) 30.69
7 Nishi-ku 西区 (Blue) 29.12
8 Ōmiya-ku 大宮区 (Orange) 12.80
9 Sakura-ku 桜区 (Cherry blossom pink) 18.64
10 Urawa-ku 浦和区 (Red) - administrative center 11.51

History

Pink: former UrawaBlue: former ŌmiyaGreen: former YonoYellow: former Iwatsuki
Pink: former Urawa
Blue: former Ōmiya
Green: former Yono
Yellow: former Iwatsuki

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:

On April 1, 2005, Saitama absorbed the city of Iwatsuki to its east, which became a new ward, Iwatsuki-ku.

Government

Saitama has a mayor-council form of government with a directly elected mayor and a unicameral city council of 64 members. Saitama contributes 14 members to the Saitama Prefectural Assembly. In terms of national politics, the city is divided between the Saitama 1st district, Saitama 5th district and Saitama 15th districts of the lower house of the Diet of Japan.

Elections

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.[4]

Economy

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 Kanto, and northeast Honshu.

Saitama is also home to various manufacturers, exporting automotive (Honda manufactures the Honda Legend at Sayama Plant), food, optical, precision and pharmaceutical products. Calsonic Kansei, a global automotive company is headquartered in the city.[5] Iwatsuki is famous for manufacturing of hinamatsuri dolls and ornate kabuto (samurai helmets).

Transportation

Omiya Station, a major railway hub in Saitama
Omiya Station, a major railway hub in Saitama

Further information: Transportation in Greater Tokyo

Representative station is Urawa Station. Saitama is a regional transportation hub for both passengers and freight train lines. Ōmiya Station, part of the Shinkansen high-speed train network, serves as the biggest railway hub in the prefecture.

The closest major airports are Haneda Airport and Narita International Airport, both about two hours away.[6] Honda Airport in Okegawa is for general aviation and offers no scheduled transport services. Commuter helicopter flights to Narita Airport are offered from Kawajima.[7]

Railway stations

JR logo (east).svg
JR East
Tōhoku, Akita, Yamagata, Jōetsu and Hokuriku Shinkansen
Utsunomiya Line
Takasaki Line
  • (<<Through to the Utsunomiya Line<<) - Ōmiya - Miyahara
Keihin-Tōhoku Line
Saikyō Line
Musashino Line
Kawagoe Line
Saitama Railway Logo.svg
Saitama Rapid Railway Line
Tōbu Tetsudō Logo.svg
Tōbu Railway - Tōbu Urban Park Line
Saitama New Urban Transit Logomark.svg
Saitama New Urban Transit ("New Shuttle") - Ina Line

Highways

Culture

Education

Universities

Junior Colleges

Professional Graduate School

Sports

Saitama was one of the host cities for the playoffs and the final of the official 2006 Basketball World Championship.

It is home to two J. League football (soccer) teams: the Urawa Red Diamonds, formerly owned by Mitsubishi, and Omiya Ardija, formerly owned by NTT.

The city and Tokorozawa are home to the Japan Professional Basketball League team the Saitama Broncos.

Since 2013, the city has hosted the Saitama Criterium cycling race sponsored by the Tour de France, held at the end of October.

Mass media

Most of Saitama Prefecture's mass media presence is concentrated in this city. See Mass media in Saitama Prefecture for details.

Sister cities

Saitama has six sister cities.[8]

Visitor attractions

Saitama Museum of Modern Art
Saitama Museum of Modern Art

References

  1. ^ "Saitama city official statistics" (in Japanese). Japan.
  2. ^ a b 気象庁 / 平年値(年・月ごとの値). Japan Meteorological Agency. Retrieved May 19, 2021.
  3. ^ "Climate & Weather Averages in Saitama Suijō Kōen". Time and Date. Retrieved 24 July 2022.
  4. ^ "DPJ Triumphs in Saitama Election", The Japan Times, 25 May 2009.
  5. ^ "Company Profile." Calsonic Kansei. Retrieved on January 29, 2015.
  6. ^ Haneda bus and Narita bus
  7. ^ Connecting TOKYO and Narita Int'l Airport – NARITA HELI EXPRESS
  8. ^ 姉妹友好都市 [Sister Cities] (in Japanese). Saitama Tourism and International Relations Bureau. Retrieved 12 May 2013.