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Kawagoe city is known as “Koedo” where you can still feel the atmosphere of Edo, and see the streets with profound Kura-zukuri style. There are many spot for sightseeing around this area, for example: Kawagoe Ichibangai where the streets are still remained with Kura-zukuri style, Kashiya Yokocho(Penny Candy Alley) with nostalgic taste, or Kawagoe’s symbol Toki no Kane, which has been still telling time for 400 years.
Another highlight is that there are a lot of old buildings, shrines or temples such as Honmaru Goten of Kawagoe castle or Kita-in Temple in Kawagoe city. They have Kawagoe Festival in every October, which they carry gorgeous floats and walk around so there are a lot of visitors at that time. The speciality in Kawagoe is sweet poteto, and you can try various kinds of sweets made of sweet potato, so you can enjoy walking and eating around.
- 1. Spot Ranking
- 5th Toki no Kane
- 4th Hondenmaru-Goten of Kawagoe
- 3rd Kitain Temple
- 2nd Kashiya Yokochō
- 1st Kawagoe Ichibangai Shopping Street
- 2. Getting in
- 3. Other Area List
1. Spot ranking in Kawagoe area
5th. Toki no Kane
Toki no Kane was said to be built arounfd 400 years ago, and is now a symbol of Kawagoe and still telling time as a bell tower today. This tower was built by Sakai Tadakatsu, a feudal lord of Kawagoe. However, the tower was renewed several times due to the fire, and the one exists today is the 4th tower. There used to be a person called “Kanetsuki Mori” who ring the bell, but today it is mechanized.
The timbre from the bell is recognized as “Nihon no Otofukei Hyakusen” (100 selection of soundscape in Japan) by Ministry of the Environment in 1996. You can visit the tower for free of charge. After you visit the tower, you can explore the street of Kawagoe with full of Kura-zukuri style. The speciality of Kawagoe is sweet potato, so you can try various kinds of sweets using sweet potato around this area.
To get to Toki no Kane: get off at Kawagoe Station of JR/Tobu Tojo Line, take Tobu Bus with “Shinmei Cho direction”(via Kura no Machi), get off at Ichibangai stop, and walk for 1 minute. There is another route for the bus: take CO-EDO loop bus, get off at Kura no Machi, and walk for 1 minute or take KOEDO KAWAGOE loop bus, get off at Ichibangai stop, and walk for 1 minute. If you get off at Hon-Kawagoe Station of Seibu Shinjuku line, it takes 15 minutes by walk.
4th. Hondenmaru-Goten of Kawagoe Castle
Hondenmaru-Goten of Kawagoe Castle is a central building in Kawagoe Castle. There are Entrance, great hall, Karo-Tsumesho (a guardroom for chief retainers) that still remained and open for public. Karo-Tsumesho has been relocated and restored. This Hondenmaru-Goten was built by Matsudaira Narisada, a feudal load of Kawagoe, in 1848, and still preserve the image of Edo.
Since those buildings in Honmaru-Goten are unique relic among other old buildings in Japan,it is designated as cultural property of Saitama Prefecture. Other spots such as Fujimi-Yaguraato(the trace of Fujimi turret), earthworks, or dry moat remid of old times of Edo. When you enter the building, you will walk through the corridor that has historical atmosphere and look around the big hall with 36 mat of size.
There is a veranda in Karo-Tsumesho(a guardroom for chief retainers), and you can enjoy the view of the garden from the veranda. If you would like to feel the Edo closely in a relaxed way, we recommend you to visit this area. Hondenmaru-Goten of Kawagoe Castle is open from 9:00-17:00(last entry: 16:30), and closed on Mondays(If Monday is a holiday, the next day will be closure day)/ 4th Friday of the month (If the day is a holiday, it will be open)/ and New Year’s holiday.
To get to Honmaru-Goten of Kawagoe Castle: get off at Kawagoe Station of JR/Tobu Tojo Line or Honkawagoe Station of Sebu Shinjuku Line, take Tobu Bus West (via Kura no Machi) and get off at Fuda no Tsuji stop, walk for 10 minutes. Other buses are also available: Take CO-EDO loop bus and get off at Honmaru-Goten Stop, walk for 0 minutes/ take KOEDO KAWAGOE loop bus(Tobu Bus West) or shuttle bus and get off at Hakubutsukanmae Stop, walk for 1 minute.
3rd. Kitain Temple
Kitain Temple, formally named Hoshinosan Muryojuji Kitain Temple, was built by Jikaku Daishi in 830 and is a famous temple of Tendai sect. The temple is known as the temple where Tenkai Daishozo, the great priest, servied as chief priest in the early Edo period. In addition, this temple is well known as it has a lot of cultural properties such as a building relocated from Edo Castle and related to the 3rd shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu and Kasuga no Tsubone.
Now Kitain Temple is known among not only Kawagoe but represents one of the famous temple in Saitama. When Tenkai Shozo got trust from Tokugawa Ieyasu and became the 27th great priest, many stuff was reassembled here from Edo Castle with the heavy protection from the shogunate.
The stuff includes “Kyaku-Den” room, where the Iemitsu was born and has gorgeous wall paintings and black‐and‐white paintings, or Kasuga no Tsubone’s makeup room called “Shoin” where Kasuga no Tsubone used. Not only those buildings related to Edo Castle, but also Sanmon(the main gate), Shoro-mon(the bell tower), or Jigan-Do(where Tenkai is enshrined) are alo designated as important cultural properties. Moreover, there is another shrine called Senba Toshogu located nearby. When Tokugawa Ieyasu passed away in Sunpu, they carried his body to Nikkosan. Since they held a Buddhist service here, they built this shrine.
Senba Toshogu Shrine is one of the three Toshogu Shrine in Japan. In this way, Kitain Temple has a strong connection with Tokugawa Family and reminds of Edo period. The Five Hundred Disciples of the Buddha called “Gohyakurakan”, which is the 540 of stone buddha statues with faces of various kinds of different feelings is another popular spot in this temple. You also can enjoy seasonal events such as Daruma fair in New year, Setsubun Ritual in Feb, or Cherry Blossom Festival in spring.
The admission fee is 400 yen for adults, 200 yen for elementary-junior high school students. The opening hour is from 8:50-16:30(Mar 1st – Nov 23th)/ 8:50-16:00(Nov 24th – End of Feb) on weekdays, and 8:50-16:50(Mar 1st – Nov 23th)/ 8:50-16:20(Nov 24th – End of Feb) on weekends.
To get to Kitain Temple: get off at Kawagoe Station of JR/Tobu Tojo Line, walk for 20 minutes.
2nd. Kashiya Yokochō
Kashiya Yokocho is a street with full of Japanese style candy shops. It has a nostalgic atmosphere so that not only kids but also adults can enojoy. The history of this street is back in Meiji period, and after the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923, they started to manufacture and supply candies instead of confectioner in Tokyo. It was said to be that there were over 70 different confectioner at that time.
Currently there are still about 20 shops remained in this street. They sell candies, cheap sweets, or sweet rice damplings, which all of them were made with old and simple way. Originally, candy was the main product sold so the street was once called “Ameya Yokocho” (candy street), but there are only a few shops still making candies now. “Tamariki Seika” is still famous as a candy maker today.
When you enter the shop, you will see colorful candies and smell sweet. Another famous shop is “Matsuriku”, an old established confectioner, where they sell dried wheat gulten snack and it is popular for souvenir. It uses black suger from Okinawa, and they even make wheat gulten cake by themselves. This snack is a staple product of the shop pride. You will be surprised by its size, as it is 95cm(they also have 85cm version)!
This is the longest in Japan. Another famous shop is “Inabaya Honpo” where they sell arrowroot gruel. Since the arrowroot powder they use is high quality made in Japan, hand made arrowroot gruel taste very good and it warms your body. Opening hour is different depending on the shops, but most of the them is open from 10:00-17:00 from Tuesday to Sunday. There is no admission fee needed to enter this street.
To get to Kashiya Yokocho: get off at Kawagoe Station of JR/Tobu Tojo Line, take Tobu Bus with “Shinmei Cho direction”(via Kura no Machi), get off at Ichibangai stop, and walk for 1 minute. There is another route for the bus: take CO-EDO loop bus, get off at Kura no Machi, and walk for 1 minute or take KOEDO KAWAGOE loop bus, get off at Ichibangai stop, and walk for 1 minute. If you get off at Hon-Kawagoe Station of Seibu Shinjuku line, it takes 15 minutes by walk.
1st. Kawagoe Ichibangai Shopping Street
Kawagoe Ichibangai Shopping Street is where old buildings of Kura-zukuri style are lined along side the street.Kura-zukuri style refers to buildings with the image of Edo, such as black-plaster-wall and thick gatefold cover door. There were a lot of fires in Edo period, so people used the Dozo-zukuri(house built like a kura) in order to make the buildings strong for fire. Many of the current Kura-zukuri style were built after the Kawagoe Great Fire in 1893,there still about 30 buildings remained. Kawagoe is called “Koedo”, so if you would like to enjoy the atmosphere of Edo Period, Kawagoe is the best place to explore.
The oldest Kura-zukuri style building is The Osawa House, which is designated as national important property. This is built by Oumiya Hanemon who sold kimono fabrics. Currently, they sell folkcraft goods on the 1st floor, and exhibit paintings of Kura-zukuri buildings or houses of all over Japan on the 2nd floor. The admission fee for The Osama House is 200 yen for adults and 150 yen for students.
Please take note that it is closed on Mondays. Another spot we recommend is Kawagoe Matsuri Museum which introduces the history and attractiveness of Kawagoe Festival held in every October. They exhibit the actual float used in the festival, so you will be amazed by its size and gorgeous sculpture and decoration. The admission fee for the museum is 300 yen for general, 100 yen for elementary-junior high school students. It is closed on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of every month and new year’s holiday. There is another museum, Kura-zukuri Museum in Kawagoe.
You can learn the style and scale of Kura-zukuri style of Kawagoe. The admission fee for this museum is 100 yen for general, 50 yen for high school-college students. It is closed on Monday and new year’s holiday. *please take note that this museum is currently under construction for anti-earthquake and will be closed until 2019 Mar.
Next spot is Ichibangai. Ichibangai is located very closed to Toki no Kane, the symbol of Kawagoe and Kashiya Yokocho. There are many Japanese style craft shops, so you can buy souvenir while enjoying Edo atmosphere. There are sweets shops using sweet potato, Kawagoe’s speciality. Especially the sweets called “Imokoi” made by Kashomon is a popular one, it is a manju filled with coarse anko and sweet potato. Opening hour is different depending on the shops, and no admission fee needed to enter the street.
To get to Kawagoe Ichibangai Shopping Street: get off at Kawagoe Station of JR/Tobu Tojo Line, take Tobu Bus with “Shinmei Cho direction”(via Kura no Machi), get off at Ichibangai stop, and walk for 1 minute. There is another route for the bus: take CO-EDO loop bus, get off at Kura no Machi, and walk for 1 minute or take KOEDO KAWAGOE loop bus, get off at Ichibangai stop, and walk for 1 minute. If you get off at Hon-Kawagoe Station of Seibu Shinjuku line, it takes 15 minutes by walk.
2. Getting to Kawagoe Station from Tokyo
From Tokyo Main station, people can take JR or Subway services to Ikebukuro station, then transfer to Tōbu Tōjō Line and get off at Kawagoe station. Duration is about 1 hour. The cost is about 670 yen. Or people are able to take JR line to get Omiya via Kawagoe. Duration is about 1 hour. The cost is about 840 yen.