Take a trip to the Edo period. Kawagoe City!

Most of the old Japanese scenery was burned to the ground during WWII, which makes Kawagoe valuable as one of the only cities to have maintained its historical sites.
How about stepping away from Tokyo’s busy streets for a day and going on a day trip to rediscover the Edo period?

2017-04-21   Destinations, Travel Destinations, Saitama,

Kawagoe: A one-day trip


【contents】
1.Honkawagoe Station? Kawagoe Station? Kawagoe City Station?
2.First stop, Hikawa Shrine! Good luck awaits.
3.Walk on over to Kawagoe’s Candy Alley!
4.History in one hand, snacks in the other
5.The old world, only an hour from Tokyo!

Honkawagoe Station? Kawagoe Station? Kawagoe City Station?

 station

Kawagoe City has three different stations, all in close proximity to each other.
Make sure you know which one you’ll be arriving at before your trip.
Attention: Most of these lines are NOT under the JR system, which means you can’t use your JR railway pass.

Honkawagoe Station: This is the last stop for the Seibu Shinjuku Line. The Red Arrow Limited Express, Express, and the Local Seibu Shinjuku Line will take you to the Honkawagoe Station. The Seibu Shinjuku Line will be a good choice if you’re not too great at changing lines at different stations, as this line will take you directly to Kawagoe City.
The only stations that this line arrives to and departs from are the Seibu Shinjuku Station and the Honkawagoe station. Be careful–the Seibu Shinjuku Station is a ten-minute walk to the Shinjuku station. These two can be confusing, even for Tokyoites.
The Express takes about an hour to Honkawagoe and costs 500 yen.
If you reserve a seat on the Red Arrow Limited Express, it takes 45 minutes and costs 920 yen.

Kawagoe Station: For everyone using transportation from the Shinjuku station

-Yamanote Line→Ikebukuro Station→Tobu Tojo Line→Kawagoe Station (630 yen)
-Yamanote Line→Shonan Shinjuku Line→Ikebukuro Station→Tobu Tojo Line→Kawagoe Station (630 yen)
-Saikyo Line→Kawagoe Station (760 yen)
-Marunouchi Line→Shinjuku 3 chome Station→Fukutoshin Line F-Liner→Kawagoe Station (550 yen)

All of these lines only take 45~55 minutes! I would recommend taking any of these if you’re staying along any of these lines, or if you don’t mind switching lines and stations.

Kawagoe City Station: The Tobu Tojo line stops at this station, but is one station before the Kawagoe Station. Make sure you don’t get off at this station if you’re going sightseeing!

Hikawa Kawagoe Shrine

First stop, Hikawa Shrine! Good luck awaits.

The Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine and Kawagoe Hikawa Castle are both 30 minutes by foot from Kawagoe Station. It’s walkable, but it’s best if you take the bus during the sweltering summer heat.
The easiest way to get there is to take the CO-EDO Loop Bus, or the Koedo Famous Locations Loop Bus that travels around the entire Kawagoe area tourist spots, for 500 yen.
Planned on walking? It might be interesting to walk through the Claire Mall Shopping street on your way there.
Here are the bus routes:
http://www.new-wing.co.jp/koedo/index_e.html#rosenzu

Here are the bus services that the city offers:
http://www.koedo.or.jp/foreign/english/bus/

Hikawa Shrine is known for its deities of good fortune and relationships. Twenty, “En-musubi-dama” (little rocks cleansed and blessed with a prayer for good relationships) are given out every morning. People gather from all across Japan, clamoring for these amulets.

Twenty-two mini-shrines line up within the Kawagoe Shrine itself. The main shrine’s walls are carved out to create beautiful and intricate art, which took seven years to make during the Edo period. Water bubbles out of a spring and runs through the shrine.
You won’t regret this trip to the origin of Kawagoe City: Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine!

Hikawa Kawagoe Shrine

Kawagoe’s Candy Alley

Walk on over to Kawagoe’s Candy Alley!

Head over to Kawagoe Candy Alley after you’ve made some wishes for good relationships. Handmade hard candy, sticky-rice dango, and kinako sticks are available throughout this street. Personally, I was struck by the dagashi called, “takosen”. Takosen is a snack with takoyaki sandwiched between senbei rice crackers. I’ve never seen anything quite like it.

Make sure you set the date right when you visit. Candy shops squeezed into the short L-shaped alleyway get crowded on weekends and holidays. (Note: strange shops that aren’t usually there, suddenly appear on some weekends)

Pictured above is “Matsu-riku”, one of the candy stores in the alley. They sell Japan’s longest fugashi, measuring up to 95cm in length!

Kawagoe’s Candy Alley

the Kura-zukuri

Saitama Resona Bank
Saitama Resona Bank

History in one hand, snacks in the other

Kawagoe is famous for its Satsuma sweet potatoes. “Imokoi”, a Kawagoe favorite, is one of the best choices for you to walk around with while eating. The so-called “Eat-walking” is considered bad manners in Japan, but in Kawagoe it’s welcomed! It’s even better when you have a dagashi from Candy Alley in your other hand.

The huge building towering over the First Street is Saitama Resona Bank (pictured above). Built in the Taisho period (1918), this bank blends in well with the Kura-zukuri along the street. This intermixed scenery of the old and the new best represents Kawagoe’s change through time and history.

Kawagoe is the only city that’s an hour from the original “Edo” in Tokyo, and still retains Edo scenery. Even though the city is distant from the center of Tokyo, 300,000 people still live in Kawagoe and it continues to thrive.

Kurazukuri

The old world, only an hour from Tokyo!

Kawagoe has recently become popular because of its close proximity to Tokyo.

Are the high-rises of Tokyo already very familiar to you?
Is there not enough history to enjoy within Tokyo?
Look no further. (literally)
Take a trip to Kawagoe and transport yourself back in time to Edo!

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AUTHOR

Lisa

Lisa

Writer / Translator

Introducing... Just another poor college student living in Japan! My passion for music and nature drives me to live every day to the fullest. Ask me about Shimane and my favorite local shops in Tokyo!