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is the capital and the most populous city of Saitama Prefecturemarker in Japanmarker, situated in the south-east of the prefecture. Its area incorporates the former cities of Urawamarker, Ōmiyamarker, Yono and Iwatsukimarker. It is a city designated by government ordinance. Being in the Greater Tokyo Areamarker and lying 15 - 30 kilometres north of central Tokyomarker, many of its residents commute into Tokyo.

History

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, seeUrawa-ku and Saitama, Ōmiya-ku and Saitama and Yono and Saitama, respectively.

On April 1, 2005, it merged with the city of Iwatsuki to its east, which became a new ward, Iwatsuki-kumarker.

Geography

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 Rivermarker 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.

Wards

Saitama has ten wards (ku), which were assigned official colours as of April 2005:
1 - Chūō-kumarker 中央区 (Rose red)
2 - Iwatsuki-kumarker 岩槻区 (Ochre)
3 - Kita-kumarker 北区 (Dark green)
4 - Midori-kumarker 緑区 (Green)
5 - Minami-kumarker 南区 (Lemon yellow)
6 - Minuma-kumarker 見沼区 (Sky blue)
7 - Nishi-kumarker 西区 (Blue)
8 - Ōmiya-kumarker 大宮区 (Orange)
9 - Sakura-kumarker 桜区 (Cherry blossom pink)
10 - Urawa-kumarker 浦和区 (Red)


Economy

Saitama Shintoshin


The economy of the city is basically as one of the commercial centres in the Greater Tokyo Area and as a business centre to serve Saitama Prefecture, North Kantō, and northeast Honshū.

Manufacturing includes automotive, food, optical, precision and pharmaceutical products. Iwatsukimarker is famous for manufacturing of hinamatsuri dolls and ornate kabuto (samurai helmets).Biotechnology is an important industry in the city.

Transportation

Saitama is a regional transportation hub for both passengers and freight.

Ōmiya Stationmarker, 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 Airportmarker and Narita International Airportmarker, both about two hours away. Honda Airportmarker in Okegawamarker is for general aviation and offers no scheduled transport services. Commuter helicopter flights to Narita Airport are offered from Kawajimamarker [345901].

Politics and Government

The directly-elected, executive mayor 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.

Elections



Culture

Education

Universities



Junior Colleges



High Schools



Professional Graduate School

Omiya Law School

Sports

Saitama is home to two J. League football teams: the popular 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.



Mass media

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

Origin of the name "Saitama"

The name "Saitama" originally comes from the Sakitama (埼玉郡) district of what is now the city of Gyōdamarker 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 Urawamarker, Ōmiyamarker, 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.

Sister cities

Saitama has six sister cities.



Visitor attractions



External links



References

  1. [1]
  2. Haneda bus and Narita bus
  3. The Japan Times, May 25 2009: DPJ triumphs in Saitama election



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