Saitama Prefecture is a part of Kanto that is often overlooked by tourists and even locals, which is a surprise given its easy access from Tokyo.

Kick off a weekend in Saitama in Kumagaya, the largest city in the northern part of the prefecture. Though it's mostly known for its scorching summer temperatures (a semiofficial catchphrase for the city is "Very hot! Kumagaya!"), it's an excellent starting point for a trip that will take you all across the prefecture — from river rafting in the forested mountains of Chichibu to the historical alleys of Kawagoe.