Saitama was not a typical destination for pop culture fans, but Tokorozawa Sakura Town recently changed that! Read about our trip to this cool new development that turned out to be a perfect day trip from Tokyo.
About Sakura Town
Tokorozawa is one of the biggest cities in Saitama Prefecture with a population of 340,000 people. One of the most popular places in the city is the Tokorozawa Baseball Stadium. But now there is a new kid in town. Tokorozawa Sakura Town is a newly developed complex in Tokorozawa City that opened in August 2020.
Sakura Town has quickly a new home base for Japan’s Kadokawa Corporation, whose business fields include publishing novels and comics, making movies, games, and web services. So it’s no wonder that there was a large emphasis on pop culture when planning the complex. They wanted to make the facility an ambassador of Cool Japan, an initiative to strengthen ties between Japan and other countries. The complex consists of a library, museum, hotel, Shinto shrine, event/exhibition hall, a book store, other shops, and restaurants.. The complex was planned by
Kadokawa Culture Museum
The main facility in the complex is a museum. This outstanding building was designed by the famous architect Kengo Kuma who also designed the main stadium of the Tokyo Olympics. The museum itself is like an art space. There are also a library and art gallery in the building.
With a standard ticket, you can see the main part of the building on the 4th and 5th floors. They stock about 350,000 books. The style of categorizing the books is quite interesting. Their categories include ‘Books for Your Gray Matter’ and ‘Success through Uniqueness’. You cannot borrow the books to read them at home, but you can read the books in the library. The most amazing thing in the library is the Bookshelf Theater. It is an 8m high room covered with a bookshelf. They hold a projection mapping show every 30 minutes. The art gallery holds temporary exhibitions that you can see with your standard ticket.
If you pay an extra fee, you can see the Manga and Light-novel Library. There you can find 25,000 books published by Kadokawa. You would need another ticket for the special exhibition on the 1st floor.
Restaurant Sacula Diner is on the 5th floor.
Fee: Standard Ticket: 1,200 yen for adults / 1,000 yen for senior and junior high school students / 800 yen for elementary school students
Manga and Light-novel Library: 600 yen for adults / 300 yen for senior and junior high school students / 200 yen for elementary school students
Grand Gallery (special exhibition): the fee depends on the exhibition.
Hours: 10 am to 6 pm (Sunday through Thursday) / 10 am to 9 pm (Friday and Saturday)
Musashino Reiwa Shrine
The modern shrine building is not a historical Shinto shrine, but constructed as a part of Sakura Town. It was also designed by Kengo Kuma, praying for the safety and prosperity of the businesses in Sakura Town.
The name Reiwa is the name of the current era in Japan, which means ‘beautiful harmony’. It enshrines Amaterasu, the goddess of the sun and her brother Susanoo. Combining two gods, together they call them Kotodamano Okami. Kotodama means the spirit of words. This word was chosen because words play an important role in the businesses operated by Kadokawa. There is a painting of a dragon on the ceiling.
Shops and Restaurants
The main shop is a bookshop called Da Vinci Store operated by Kadokawa. Its concept is ‘Discovery and Association’. They sell anime goods and hold events in the store. The Rock Museum Shop sells goods related to the Kadokawa Culture Museum and also handcrafts made in the Musashino area.
Besides Sacula Diner there are 7 other restaurants. Are you looking for locally produced food? Kadokawa Shokudo serves dishes using local fresh ingredients, and Kado Café serves sweets using local sweet potatoes.
EJ Anime Hotel
EJ Anime Hotel has 33 rooms. The rooms have anime-themed concepts and are equipped with audio-visual machines. All rooms boast a huge 150-inch screen so that the guests can enjoy anime in the room. Dinner is also served with an anime spirit. So, if you stay at the hotel, you can really be steeped in the world of anime.
One of the privileges of the hotel guests is that they can go up to the rooftop. On a sunny day, you can see Mt Fuji very well from here!
Higashi Tokorozawa Park
It is a park right next to Sakura Town. Most of the park is covered by greenery, but some parts are reserved for an event in the evening. The name of the event is ‘Resonating Life in the Forest’. It is a light-up event by teamLab who operates digital museum Borderless in Odaiba, Tokyo.
Our Visit to Tokorozawa Sakura Town
I visited Sakura Town on February 9, 2021, and I needed an online reservation. Whether the reservation system will continue after the pandemic isn’t yet known, but it is better to check before your visit. From Higashi-Tokorozawa Station, I could find the way to the venue easily because there are manholes with an anime design. It only took about 10 minutes on foot.
When I arrived, I saw a big object on the wall of the museum. It was a ‘Leather Kite’ that was made for the Amabie Project wishing for the pandemic to end. It was a sunny day and I could see M. Fuji clearly from the outside stairs of the event hall building.
I entered the museum with the standard ticket so I could see the library and bookshelf theater. The projection mapping on the bookshelf was very unique. There was a special exhibition ‘That is why I wanted to be saved’ by Ken & Julia Yonetani. There were fantastical artworks installed in a dark room.
After the visit, I had lunch at Sacula Diner on the 5th floor of the museum. I ordered a one-plate lunch which includes duck meat and local organic vegetables. It was delicious!
Tokorozawa Sakura Town Access Information
From Ikebukuro (one of the Yamanote Line stations), take Tobu-Tojo Line to Asakadai. Then change to JR Musashino Line and get off at Higashi-Tokorozawa Station. Or, take the Seibu-Ikebukuro Line to Akitsu, then change to JR Musashino Line to the same station. It takes about 40 minutes either way. Then it takes about 10 minutes from the station to Sakura Town.
Your Japan Tour
As seasoned Japan experts, we can help you create your perfect Japan tour. We can guides who can tell you all about Japanese pop culture. The guide can take you to Tokorozawa Sakura Town if you wish. Check out our group tours and private tours, or contact us to start planning your unforgettable holiday to this fascinating country. Japan is full of once-in-a-lifetime experiences, culture, history, nature, and delicious food!