Hi! Chances are you stumbled across this blog post because your favourite idol group is having a concert there, and you realized - like me - that this concert venue is out in the middle of nowhere Saitama (Tokorozawa, to be exact)... and not in the middle of Tokyo proper.
Of course, it's not like it's impossible to spend your day in Tokyo before you head over, but if you've already explored a lot of Tokyo already, and want this opportunity to see outside of Tokyo, this is the blog post for you!
(the concert I went to!)
The area immediately outside of Metlife Dome isn't very overly developed. In fact, it borders between a more suburban and countryside area. There's a lot of plazas that line the main road leading to the dome with large parking spaces (to take advantage of extra income by making people pay for parking).
It is also quite hilly in some parts a bit further down the road.
Not exactly an inviting place, but it is very walkable. If you want to see more local neighbourhoods in Japan, this is a good place to get a view of how most of Japan is like.
This is your closest attraction to the Metlife Dome. I didn't get to go due to time constrains, but from the pictures, it seemed like a really interesting temple to visit.
It might also be wise to find a toilet here if you are a lady attending a concert at Metlife Dome.
The toilet situation at the concert I attended was TERRIBLE.
There weren't many toilets in and near the dome. By the family mart, there is a set of toilets and there are also toilets inside the dome area, but at my concert just one hour out from the concert, there were more than 100 people lining up at the outside toilets and more than 600 ladies waiting for a toilet inside the dome area.
If you can find a toilet here on this excursion before you head back to the dome, I highly recommend it.
The Totoro Forest
If you're a casual hiker and love Totoro, this is a hike for you.
The nature around these parts consists of Sayama Hills, which spans through areas in Saitama and Tokyo. A local foundation wanted to protect the nature in this around, so they lovingly set almost close to 60 checkpoints in this "Totoro Forest".
It would be impossible to do all the checkpoints in one day, especially if you are planning to attend a concert, but a few of these Totoro Forest checkpoints are about a 20 minute walk from the Metlife Dome.
Particular, checkpoints 1, 3 and 15 are manageable walks if you have one or two hours to spare. You can choose to cover more ground around these checkpoints if you have more time.
Checkpoint 1 is a charming little forest entrance that has a light circular trail going deeper into a forest to checkpoint 45 and some surrounding ones. This seems a popular trail for locals as I saw many children playing in the area and other hikers. It also has a few benches and nice resting spots for a lunch break or snack break.
Is there anything in particular to see at the checkpoints?
Just a lot of lovely nature and a nice hike! Have to enjoy the journey, right?
(cute little bench area outside of someone's property)
Checkpoint 15 is a up a very hilly road to a huge open cemetery. It does give you a lovely view of the town below, and I think that's sort of worth the hike to.
I hope this helps someone looking for a day's activity and don't want to risk being late commuting in from Tokyo.