KawagoeSaitama (prefecture) : Kawagoe
During the Edo Period (1603-1867), Kawagoe was an important city to Tokyo (called Edo at the time) for trade and strategic purposes. Close ties were formed between the two cities and over the years Kawagoe gained many aspects of Edo culture and architecture. Kawagoe is called “Koedo” (little Edo) because it was one of the most prosperous suburbs of Edo. And there are the strong Edo period atmospheres now.
Kawagoe has a Pacific-coast climate. Northwest winter winds are strong and there are many days of fine weather and dry air in winter. In summer, temperatures reach 30゜C and the town experiences occasional thunderstorms. In the rainy season, June and July, there is a lot cloudy weather and rain. Spring and fall are the best seasons to visit due to predicable, comfortable weather.
Kawagoe is located in Saitama and is about 30 minutes by train from central Tokyo. Kawagoe is a satellite city of Tokyo but it’s also the commercial and business center of southwest Saitama. Kawagoe is surrounded by rivers. Kawa means 'river' and Goe means 'over,' since one would need to cross a river by ship to reach the town in earlier times.
Kawagoe station (川越駅) is a stop on the JR Saikyo Line and the private Tobu Tojo line. From Tokyo the fastest route is the Tobu Tojo line from Ikebukuro, which takes 30mins on the express and costs ¥450. From Omiya the Saikyo line takes 17 mins and costs ¥320.
Hon-Kawagoe station (本川越駅) is closer to the temple district and is part of the private Seibu-Shinjuku line. Express trains from Shinjuku take 47 mins and cost ¥480.
Kawagoe Station and Shinjuku Station are connected by the direct rapid train Omiya on the JR Saikyo/Kawagoe Line. It takes 55 mins and costs ¥740.
Kawagoe's nearest airports are Narita International Airport and Haneda Airport, both in Tokyo. A shuttle is available form Narita to Kawagoe, which costs ¥3500 and takes 90 to 150 minutes. Haneda offers a similar shuttle service, which costs ¥1700 and takes 65 to 125 minutes.
The Koedo Kawagoe Loop Bus provides access to all the main attractions of the city, and a one-day pass costs ¥300. The buses make their round-trips every 50 minutes on weekdays and every 15 to 30 minutes on weekends and holidays.
Kawagoe is known as "Little Edo" (小江戸 Koedo), after the old name for Tokyo, and its old wooden houses still draw tourists looking for a taste of days gone by. A famous landmark is the Toki no Kane, or Tower of Time, a bell tower located near the Kashiya Yokucho.
- Kitain Temple is the head temple of the Tendai (a Buddhist sect) in the Kanto region. Kitain has a long history of 1200 years. Visiting schedules can change due to restorations.
Admission: Adults ¥400 ; Children ¥200.
- Gohyaku Rakan Statues 540 stone statues of the disciples of Buddha, each with its own facial expression. It said that you can find one that looks like you.
- Toki-no-Kane A clock tower located the center of Kuradukuri street. This street has many old houses.
- Honmaru Goten (Kawagoe Castle) A symbol of the Kawagoe feudal domain. Visiting hours are 9:00 - 17:00 (Admission until 16:30).
Admission: Adults ¥100 ; Children ¥50.
In Kawagoe, there are many eel shops. Kawagoe became famous for eel dishes during the Edo Period. Kawagoe is also famous for sweet potatoes. There are many traditional Japanese sweets made from sweet potato. From mid-September to early November, you can experience picking potatoes at local farms.
- Crea Mall, the shopping strip running between Kawagoe and Hon-Kawagoe stations, offers many of the usual chains and numerous ramen shops. There is a good kaiten sushi place towards the Kawagoe end.
- Kawagoe Kashiya-yokochou. Located near Youjyuin-temple (養寿院) since Edo period, It was prospering as temple town of Youjyuin and one of the place which started to make dagashi (駄菓子=cheap sweets). In the beginning of Showa period, in its peak, there were about 70 shops. It is still mirthful and selling cheap sweets, and including those made from sweet potato, one of the well-known products of Kawagoe. edit
- Koedo - a Unagi restaurant that serves Sweet-potato beer. This drink is a sweet beer made from the area's famous purple sweet potatoes.
- Oatman Diner, +81 49-222-8398, . Mon-Fri 11:30am-3pm, 6pm-11pm, Sat 11:30am-12am, Sun 11:30am-11pm. Just off Crea Mall, this hamburger joint is decorated like a retro American diner with wacky memorabilia covering all available surfaces. Oatman has a wide selection of burgers, hot dogs and tex-mex style dishes as well as an interesting cocktail list. The portions are generous by Japanese standards and the burgers are juicy and yummy. English Menus. Meals ¥600-¥1150, Drinks ¥400-¥600.
- Ganjya, +81 49-226-1194. 1-1-8 Shintomi-cyo Kawagoe-shi. Ganjya is one of the most popular local ramen shops. Guests often have to wait in long lines to eat.
- Baisen-Ramen Karent, +81 49-270-4549. 1-2-2 Rokken-machi Kawagoe-shi. Mon-Fri 11:30am-2pm, 5:30pm-12am, Sat-Sun 11:30am-12am.
- Capsule Inn Kawagoe
18-3 Wakitamachi, Kawagoe, Saitama Prefecture 350-1122, Japan If you are looking quickly for a place to spend the night, there is a capsule hotel located near the Kawagoe Train Station that offers rooms for around 3,000 yen per night. The hotel can be easily spotted from the train station by the giant red cap on the top of its building, reading CAPSULE HOTEL in large white letters. The hotel has a sauna, showers, locker rooms, laundry machines, and a lounge. It is staffed 24/7 by Japanese employees and has procedures on hand for English-speaking customers.
- Sakuma Ryokan, +81 49-224-0012. 2-5-4 Matsue-cho Kawagoe-shi.
- Matsumura-ya, +81 49-222-0107. 1-1-11 Motomachi Kawagoe-shi.
- Wakatake ryokan, +81 49-222-1664. 2-21-3 Nakahara-machi Kawagoe-shi.
- Kawagoe Tobu Hotel, +81 49-225-0111. 29-1 Wakita-machi Kawagoe-shi.
- Kawagoe dai-ichi Hotel, +81 49-226-3711. 7-34 Sugawara-cho Kawagoe-shi.
- Kawagoe Prince Hotel, +81 49-227-1111. 1-22 Shintomi-cho Kawagoe-shi.