Private jet charter to Kumagaya
Kumagaya is a small residential city and popular commuter town in the Saitama Prefecture. Although named after ancient warrior Kumagai Naozane, it’s actually a relatively young city; beginning life as an Edo-period post town in the mid- to late-19th Century and becoming an important silk trade centre. One of the many settlements swallowed up by Tokyo’s rapid growth, Kumagaya is now part of the Greater Tokyo area. Get a fast quote from Air Charter Service to charter a private jet to Kumagaya.
Two rivers border the city – the Arakawa to the south and the Tone to the north. Both are lined with pretty parks where residents walk, cycle, run and enjoy cherry blossom-viewing picnics in the spring. The blossom season here differs slightly from other areas of Japan; some 500 cherry trees bloom in various shades of white, violet and pink along the Arakawa riverbank, while rapeseed fields are swathed in bright yellow flowers. The contrasting colours are a photographer’s dream.
Aside from the riverside parks, Kumagaya’s main attraction is the Menuma Shodenzan Temple. First founded in 1179, this beautiful place of worship is one of the country’s three main Shoden temples. As you enter the grounds, you’ll pass through three gates: the huge Kiso gate which is adorned with carved images of lions and dragons; the smaller Shikyaku gate, the oldest of the three; and the Nio gate, which is home to two carved images of the Kongo Rikishi guardian deities. You’ll then reach the main hall of the temple, Kangi-in Seitendo, which is a listed National Treasure. The current structure dates back to the mid-1700s and is almost completely covered in intricate and elaborately painted carvings.
While Japan’s rail network is one of the most technologically advanced in the world, there’s still the chance to ride on a number of heritage lines throughout the country. The Paleo Express, an old steam locomotive, makes one return journey a day from Kumagaya to Mitsumineguchi. As you travel through rural Saitama, you’ll pass rice paddies, cross the Arakawa River and enjoy stunning views of the river gorge and Chichibu Mountains. The train ride takes just under three hours one way and is a real antidote to Greater Tokyo’s modern urban sprawl.
Kumagaya is best known as the setting of the unique Uchiwa Matsuri, also known as the Japanese Fan Festival. For a few days at the end of July, people flock to this suburb city to celebrate the tradition of handing out free uchiwa fans to keep people cool during the humid summer. The festival is basically an excuse for hundreds of thousands of people to get together and watch a parade of floats, listen to a noisy but spine-tingling drumming competition and enjoy a good party.
While there’s little else to do in the city itself, it’s a great base from which to explore further afield, with cultural and natural attractions located an hour or two away. To the west, the town of Nagatoro is a pretty spot where you can hike or white-water raft along the Arakawa River. The river drops quite quickly in places as it passes through the high rock walls of the river gorge and you’ll experience the thrill of the rapids in a wooden 20-person boat. The experience is even more scenic during autumn (mid- to late November), when the leaves of the trees lining the river turn bright shades of yellow, orange and red.
Travel south from Kumagaya and you’ll reach the heritage city of Kawagoe, with its beautiful warehouse district Kurazukuri no Machinami. Here you can view fine examples of Edo-period architecture, where goods were once stored before being sold on to Tokyo. These clay structures were very expensive to build, but the merchants grew rich as they traded with the powerful, great and good of the time. Take a look inside some of these picture-perfect buildings – many have been restored and now house shops and restaurants.
Another city within easy reach of Kumagaya is Chichibu, which is best known for its numerous shrines, surrounding mountain scenery and the Chichibu Night Festival in early December – which involves an evening parade of floats decorated with lanterns and wood carvings, street food stalls and one of the country’s only winter firework displays. If you’re visiting in the spring, the city’s already scenically spectacular Hitsujiyama Park becomes even more beautiful from late April to early May thanks to the flowering of thousands of square feet of white, pink and lilac mosses.
The closest airport is Tokyo Haneda Airport, which is approximately an hour and a half away by both road and rail. Simply contact our team and we’ll arrange everything you need to charter a private jet to Kumagaya.