Stroll around Higashi-Matsuyama Station in the evening and you're bound to spot countless traditional lanterns along the streets. Most of these red paper lamps sell out 'yakitori', but instead of grilled chicken, in Higashi-Matsuyama that stands for skewered pork seasoned with miso — a local speciality that goes perfectly with a cold beer.
Saitama is less than an hour away from central Tokyo, making it an easy weekend getaway from the capital. Famed for Kawagoe’s historical Little Edo town with its old-fashioned streets, Saitama is also home to plenty of hidden restaurants, bars and cafés.
You’ll find long-established restaurants serving traditional cuisine using locally caught fish from the river alongside izakaya pubs boasting inventive pork yakitori skewers. For something sweet, go for fruit sandwiches, and for a real treat, head to the Scottish pub serving homemade haggis with whisky from Chichibu. We’ve rounded up the ten best restaurants, cafés and pubs to visit while you’re in Saitama.