Kawagoe, a historic town nicknamed Koedo, has long prospered as a merchant town. The buildings in the warehouse style constructed during the Meiji period still line the streets today, and you will feel the elegant atmosphere of those days just strolling around the area. Along with warehouse-style buildings along the street, there are many historic spots in the city of Kawagoe, such as Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine, a historic shrine founded about 1500 years ago, and Kitain Temple, built in the Heian period, which is known as a power spot! Also Kawagoe features a wonderful lunch spot featuring egg dishes, and cafes where you can savor matcha, perfect for sightseeing. We will recommend a course that will allow you to fully enjoy a day trip to deeply historic Kawagoe!
First, buy train tickets at Seibu Railway Seibu-Shinjuku Station. To go to Hon-Kawagoe Station, the SEIBU
KAWAGOE PASS (700 yen) is recommended. It is a good value for making the round-trip between
Seibu-Shinjuku Station, Takadanobaba Station, or Ikebukuro Station and Hon-Kawagoe Station (On the
return trip, you can get off at a different station than the one you started at.)
Buy the SEIBU KAWAGOE PASS and the limited express ticket (500 yen) at the red Limited Express and Reserved Seat Ticket Counter in the center of the picture.
If you need any help or tourist information, please feel free to ask the staff at the SEIBU Tourist Information Center shown on the left side of the picture!
*English-speaking staff members are available.
This is a picture of the SEIBU KAWAGOE PASS. When you board the train, show the pass to the staff at the counter at Seibu-Shinjuku Station, and then a station attendant will put a date stamp on the pass. When you arrive at Hon-Kawagoe Station, please present the SEIBU KAWAGOE PASS at the counter again.
Get on the Limited Express Koedo 5 which will leave Seibu-Shinjuku Station at 9:00, towards Hon-Kawagoe
It takes about 50 minutes from Seibu-Shinjuku Station to Hon-Kawagoe Station.
All seats are reserved on the limited express. They are comfortable, and free Wi-Fi is available.
Take Koedo Loop Bus from Hon-Kawagoe Station to go to the first spot, Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine.
You can get on Koedo Loop Bus at the bus stop shown in the picture, right outside the east exit of Hon-Kawagoe Station.
If the timing is right, you can take the nostalgic bonnet bus which matches the Koedo town.
When you get on the bus arriving at 10:01, put the bus fare (200 yen) in the slot shown in the
* The fare slot may vary depending on the bus.
Please don’t worry if you don’t have exact change. There is a change machine in the lower right of the picture.
Enjoy the 25-minute ride from Hon-Kawagoe Station to Hikawa Shrine Mae.
When the next stop is Hikawa Shrine Mae, press the button near the window.
As shown in the picture, when the upper part of the button lights up, the bus will stop at the next bus stop.
Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine is a short walk from Hikawa Shrine Mae bus stop. The approximately 15 m tall torii gate is a landmark.
Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine is a historic shrine founded about 1500 years ago. Known for the “god of marriage“, many people visit the shrine every year. The buildings were constructed in the Meiji period, and the Main Shrine was built in the Edo period. They exude a solemn atmosphere. Brochures in other languages are available. Please ask exhibition concierge at the counter.
The shrine is a sacred place where a god is enshrined. Please don’t be loud or shout. Use good manners.
As you are taking the trouble to visit the shrine, we will elaborate on how to visit and pray at a shrine!
After purifying your hands at the chozuya behind the buildings, pray at the shrine.
First, put money in the offering box shown in the picture. There is no specific rule on the amount of money to put in the offering box. It is common to put in small change.
Next, follow the “bow twice, clap twice, bow once” procedure. First, bow twice and clap your hands twice, and then put your hands together and pray to make a wish. Then bow once to complete the prayer.
When you’re wondering what to do next at the shrine, draw a fortune! Have your fortune told. These fortune slips have a sea bream motif. The fortunes written in English are also available at specified box .
Place 300 yen in the hole on the right, and draw a fortune slip. It might be good to pray for a good one while drawing your fortune!
You can bring the drawn fortune slip home as a souvenir.
At the Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine, The Enmusubi Furin Festival (wind chime festival for prayers of love) is held from early July to early September every year. It is an event where 2000 wind chimes with strips of paper on which wishes are written are displayed. The rich colors and tones entertain people visiting the shrine. The tones of the wind chimes shifting in the breeze make you feel cooler. Why don’t you come listen to them?
A 15-minute walk from Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine is the Kawagoe Festival Museum. The Kawagoe Festival Museum contains exhibits from the Kawagoe Festival, a traditional festival held in Kawagoe on the third Saturday and Sunday of October every year. You will learn and experience the history of the Kawagoe Festival through exhibits and videos.
Upon entering the museum, pay the admission fee (300 yen) at the reception desk.
Brochures in English, Chinese and Korean are available at the back of the reception area. Please use them for reference as you explore the building.
When entering the building and heading inside, you will see these cardboard cutouts of people participating in the Kawagoe Festival! Why don’t you put your face in the cutout and take a picture as a keepsake?
In the building, two floats that were used in the festival are displayed. The floats, which feature elaborate sculptures created by craftsmen and beautiful gradients of black, red, and gold, are spectacular!
Videos showing the Kawagoe Festival are played on the large screen in this hall, giving you the feeling of being at the festival.
These are miniatures of the dancers on the floats. You can catch a glimpse of the mask from behind, and you can see the view from the standpoint of the dancers.
Other highlights include an assembly hall which was used as a command center for overall directions during the festival, and exhibition corners where the history of the Kawagoe Festival is explained, and tools used for the festival are displayed. Please come to see the museum.
So, you’ve been on the move since the morning and you’re starting to get hungry. Have lunch here! Koedo Ohana is about 10 minutes on foot from the Kawagoe Festival Museum. You can savor excellent eggs, carefully prepared from when the chickens were raised.
Koedo Ohana is a restaurant where you can enjoy egg dishes with mild flavors that anyone can enjoy, with the focus on the eggs, stock, and chicken. It is so popular that it is usually packed during lunch time. Most of the staff members can speak English, so you can relax and order confidently.
The standard course at Koedo Ohana is the lady’s egg sandwich (850 yen) as an appetizer, and the premium chicken-and-egg bowl (1200 yen) as the main dish. So we gave them a try!
White eggs with an especially sweet taste are used for the lady’s egg sandwich. When you put it in your mouth, the soft, sweet taste will spread from the fluffy eggs. The spicy taste of mustard spread over the bread matches it perfectly! They say that many diners are hooked on the taste, and become regular customers.
This is our main dish, the premium chicken-and-egg bowl. It uses red eggs from chickens raised with a special management method, and a stock which was created by blending 7 kinds of fish and shellfish to produce an excellent dish. You will find the rich flavors of the eggs mixed with the stock, and the fresh and juicy texture of the Jidori chicken produced in Iwate irresistible! Please try it.
After you’ve had lunch and feel full, take a small break and enjoy a cup of matcha at a café with a traditional Japanese atmosphere. A 10-minute walk from Koedo Ohana will take you to Sayama Tea Café Wahouan.
Sayama Tea Café Wahouan is a café run by Nagamine-en, which sells Sayama Tea, one of Japan’s greatest teas. You can enjoy drinking Sayama Tea in their relaxing space.
Climb the stairs from the entrance to get to the café on the second floor. Shoes are strictly prohibited on the second floor. Please take them off and put them in one of their bags shown in the picture, and carry them with you.
The floor with tatami mats and the seats conveys traditional Japanese style. The sound of flowing water makes the space all the more soothing.
The recommended item on the menu is Sayama matcha kinusa (600 yen.) Sayama matcha made in Saitama comes with original sweets that goes well with Matcha.
This matcha is not too bitter, and it is tasty even for customers drinking matcha for the first time. The flavor of the tea leaves will spread in your mouth. You can choose from several types of original sweets. Our choice was Sayama Tea monaka. The wafers sprinkled with Matcha powder are crunchy, and the red bean paste inside is a bit sweet to compliment the matcha. This set is great for a small break.
Now that you’ve enjoyed some matcha and feel refreshed in both mind and body, enjoy exploring the rest of Kawagoe! A 15-minute walk from Wahouan is Kitain Temple. Founded in the Heian period, Kitain Temple is full of historic sights to see! How about a stroll around the temple?
When you enter the temple, you will see the Jikeido, which has been designated a tangible cultural heritage asset of Saitama prefecture. In the temple there is a bronze bell that is a nationally designated important cultural property. The bronze bell was created in 1300, and it is only struck once a year, to ring out the old year and pray for world peace and peace for everyone.
Also, by paying an admission fee (400 yen), you can see other historic things, such as the reception hall where it is said that Tokugawa Iemitsu, the third shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate, was born.
Trees line the spacious temple’s paths for a different viewing experience every season. It is so quiet amid the abundant nature that you won’t believe it is located in the town of Kawagoe. Walk for just few minutes and you will feel the power of nature.
Of the temple’s numerous sights, one of the most amazing is the 500 Statues of Rakan. It took about 50 years to complete their construction in the Edo period, and it is regarded as one of Japan’s three greatest rakan, or disciples of Buddha, sculptures. There are 538 statues in total, and you will see rakan with many different facial expressions. Smiling rakan, crying rakan, and angry ones. Maybe you will see a rakan that looks just like you! Try to find it!
It’s a 10-minute walk from Kitain Temple to Koedo Kurari, a facility where the Meiji-period brewery was carefully renovated to maintain the image of the era. Here you can purchase unique Kawagoe souvenirs and taste local Saitama sake. Reflecting on your trip that is rapidly coming to a close, enjoy some shopping here!
First, Omiyagedokoro Meijigura offers a full lineup of sweets, foods, and folkcrafts, and it is a great spot for buying souvenirs. Since nearly all products unique to Kawagoe are available, you will surely find what you want.
The most popular souvenir is Amatama-karin. It is a small bun made from a fried cookie dough base with a sweet potato center wrapped in azuki, a sweet red bean paste. The outside is crispy, and the inside moist. Other popular products are sweets using sweet potatoes, such as Imokoi Manju and Satsuma Chips.
The next is Kikizakedokoro Showagura. It offers mainly local sake from Saitama. You can taste sake from 35 Saitama breweries,the fourth largest producer in Japan! Why don’t you taste them and search for your favorite sake?
Here are the sake tasting machines. There are 4 vending machines and 40 types of sake.
Now we will explain how to taste sake!
For tasting, use the sake cups beside the vending machines.
First, buy tokens from the token vending machine. You can buy four tokens for 500 yen, allowing you to taste a maximum of four cups.
Once you decide on the sake you want to taste, set your sake cup in the vending machine and insert the token you purchased earlier.
Next, press the green button below the sake you want to taste. Then sake will be poured into your sake cup.
Here is a cup containing sake. Enjoy it, and explore how the sake you chose tastes. The taste of sake differs enormously depending on the type of sake. There are sweet sake, dry ones, and ones in between. Find your favorite sake.
Also, most of the sake available for tasting can be purchased in the store. Your favorite one might make a great souvenir.
Other recommended stores include Makanaidokoro Taishogura where you can enjoy locally produced foods for local consumption in Kawagoe.
From Koedo Kurari, it’s a 5-minute walk to Hon-Kawagoe Station.
Upon arriving at Hon-Kawagoe Station, buy a 500 yen limited express ticket just as you did to get here, and get on Koedo 32.
Show the SEIBU KAWAGOE PASS to a station attendant at the counter, and go to the limited express platform.
What do you think about Kawagoe, with its distinct old houses lining the street and historic sights? If you’ve only got just one day, you can still fully enjoy its charm. Please come to Kawagoe!