around and about yamamura kokusai
The school is located in Sakado City, in Saitama Prefecture, next to Tokyo.
To Ikebukuro Station on the Yamanote Line (Tokyo Circle Line), it takes 42 minutes by train. Ikebukuro is a great start to the many sites and towns of Inner Tokyo.
Only ten minutes away is Kawagoe, a major tourist venue for the Japanese, nicknamed Little Edo for its historical links with Edo (now Tokyo), and dating over 400 years. The castle is popular; and so are the original storehouses, some of the oldest surviving of their kind in Japan. With a multitude of shrines and temples and a strong character, Kawagoe is a thriving city.
The October Festival draws tens of thousands to join in the festivities and watch the traditional musical jousting as musicians on floats, born on the shoulders of their allies, compete in a battle of wills against opposing floats. Drummers, flautists and dancers try to keep the tempo of their own songs and influence the tempo of their opponents. The losers - whichever side is musically overpowered - must retreat. The irrepressible are victors.
Of interesting to visiting members of staff, Kawagoe's top brewers, "Coedo" took gold and silver awards at the 2010 European Beer Star Award. (Visiting students should be aware that by Japanese law no one under the age of twenty may drink or smoke.)
For those interested in the lazy side of life, Kawagoe offers extensive shopping, a multitude of restaurants, lively streets, karaoke galore, and the wonderful aqua-park, with four pools, diving area, wave machine, slides and plenty of snacks through the summer.
At Wakaba Station, the main station for the school, there is a large shopping mall, with fast-food outlets (ubiquitous McDonaldfs and KFC, amongst traditional Japanese fast foods like fried octopus), restaurants, many shops and a nine screen movie theatre.
Tokyo Disney Land and Tokyo Disney Sea are within two hours by train (900yen) - great for a weekend break.
In winter, there is great skiing a couple of hours away in Niigata and Gunma.
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