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The 10 Best Things To Do in Kawagoe

Explore historical landmarks, indulge in delicious street food and immerse yourself in the culture of Kawagoe.

By 5 min read

Kawagoe City or koedo (Little Edo) in Saitama Prefecture is a great day trip from Tokyo. This historical city offers a unique opportunity to experience Japan’s rich cultural heritage across different periods, from Meiji to Heisei. With its well-preserved Edo-era townscape and traditional architecture, Kawagoe exudes an old-world charm that transports you back in time.

From exploring the ancient castle ruins to savoring local delicacies, Kawagoe offers many activities to entertain you. Let’s dive into the top 10 things to do in Kawagoe and discover what this hidden gem has in store.

1. Kurazukuri Old Town

A district dating back to the Edo Period featuring fire-resistant warehouses.

Kurazukuri Old Town dates back to the Edo period. It’s a remarkable showcase of fire-resistant warehouses with mud walls covered in black plaster. The district was created in response to the frequent large fires that plagued the area. Today, around 30 storehouse-style merchant houses stand as testaments to the city’s resilience. Dressing up in a kimono and leisurely strolling these Edo-like streets is a wonderful way to absorb the quintessentially Japanese atmosphere.

Saiwaicho, Kawagoe, Saitama - Map
Nearest Bus Stop: Ichibangai

2. Toki no Kane

A symbol of the spirit and culture of Kawagoe.

Toki no Kane or the time bell tower, is a precious historical landmark in Kawagoe. The tower was built almost 400 years ago and has faced repeated destruction by fires over the years, yet they were often rebuilt throughout the Edo period. Despite the calamities, the tower stands tall at 16 meters high and remains one of the most sought-after tourist attractions in the city. The bell chimes four times daily and echoes throughout the city, adding to its charm and allure. The tower is one of the “100 Japanese Soundscapes to Preserve,” and it symbolizes the spirit and culture of the city.

15-7 Saiwaicho, Kawagoe City, Saitama Prefecture  - Map
Nearest Bus Stop: Ichibangai

3. Kawagoe Festival Museum

A great resource for learning about the local festival.

Kawagoe is a city with a rich cultural heritage and history, and it has several museums that showcase its past. Visitors can explore the Kawagoe City Museum, the Kura-Zukuri Museum and Trick 3D Art in Coedo, among others. However, the Kawagoe Matsuri Kaikan (Kawagoe Festival Museum) is a must-visit for anyone interested in experiencing the Kawagoe Festival, which has been celebrated for about 370 years. The museum has two of the actual floats that are paraded in the festival, and visitors can watch videos of the festival on a large screen.

1-1-10 Motomachi, Kawagoe City, Saitama Prefecture - Map
Nearest Bus Stop: Fudanotsuji
Admission: ¥300
9:30 A.M. -6:30 P.M. (Apr.-Sept.) 9:30 A.M. - 5:30 P.M. (Oct.-Mar.)

 4. Kitain Temple

A historic site with several buildings related to Edo Castle.

Kawagoe has many temples, but Kitain Temple is especially significant. Established in 830, Kitain Temple is a historic site with several buildings related to Edo Castle. One of its most notable features is the 540 Arhats, a group of stone Buddha statues. Whether you visit in spring for the Sakura viewing or in winter for setsubun (a bean-throwing ceremony), visitors can enjoy the scenic beauty of the temple throughout the year.

1-20-1 Kosemba-machi, Kawagoe City, Saitama Prefecture - Map
Nearest Bus Stop: Nakaharacho
9 A.M. - 4:30 P.M.

5. Kawagoe Festival

Festivalgoers cheer on the performers and hold paper lanterns to add to the ambiance.

The Kawagoe Festival, officially known as the Kawagoe Hikawa Festival, is an annual event held in Kawagoe in mid-October. This festival is one of the three major festivals in the Kanto region and is a Nationally Important Intangible Folk Cultural Asset. It is associated with the Hikawa Shrine, which has a long history dating back to the sixth century. It features impressive floats called dashi that parade through the town accompanied by a traditional Japanese orchestra called hayashi.

2-11-3 Miyashita-cho, Kawagoe City, Saitama Prefecture - Map
Nearest Bus Stop: Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine

6. Honmaru Goten of Kawagoe Castle

The palace served as a residence for samurais during the Edo Period.

Kawagoe Castle is a historic landmark of Saitama Prefecture. The castle was built in the mid-15th century by Ota Sukekiyo and his son Sukenaga, and it played a vital role in defending the north of Edo during the Edo Period. In 1848, Matsudaira Naritsune rebuilt the castle’s only remaining structure, the Honmaru Goten. The palace served as a residence for samurais during the Edo Period. Today, people can visit Honmaru Goten and see the beautiful rooms with their intricate details. You can also see models of feudal lords that will give you a glimpse into the past and how they lived.

2-30-1 Kakucho, Kawagoe City, Saitama Prefecture - Map
Nearest Bus Stop: Fudanotsuji or Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine
9 A.M. - 5 P.M.

7. Penny Candy Lane

This vibrant street boasts around 30 shops.

Penny Candy Lane, or Kashiya Yokocho, has existed since the Meiji Era. This vibrant street boasts around 30 shops, each with a unique charm. The scents of fruit candy, mint candy and honeycomb toffee fill the air, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Regardless of how the world changes, Kashiya Yokocho remains a peaceful haven that will leave you feeling nostalgic and content.

1-3-1 Motomachi, Kawagoe City, Saitama Prefecture - Map
Nearest Bus Stop: Takazawa Bridge 

8. Buy Local Textiles

Gofuku Kanda offers a wide range of kimonos and accessories made with Kawagoe tozan.

In the Edo Period, Kawagoe tozan weave fabric was popular in the region for its soft texture, similar to silk. However, the rise of machines in the 20th century caused a decline in production. Around 30 years ago, locals revived it as a local specialty. Gofuku Kanda, a shop that uses Kawagoe Tozan, offers a wide range of kimonos and accessories. To experience the traditional atmosphere, dress up or rent a traditional tozan weave kimono and take a rickshaw to visit the beautiful Koedo.

3-1 Saiwaicho, Kawagoe, Saitama Prefecture - Map
Nearest Bus Stop: Ichibangai
10 A.M. - 6:30 P.M. (Closed on Tue.)

9. Kawagoe Streetfood

Love sweet potato? Try this in Kawagoe.

Kawagoe is a great place to explore if you’re a food lover. The town is famous for its local mom-and-pop shops offering Kawagoe local cuisine. Indulge in unagi (eel), imogashi (sweet potato snacks) and more. Visit Ogakiku, a restaurant serving eel dishes for over 200 years. Beer lovers can’t miss out on trying local brews at Coedo.

3-22 Nakamachi, Kawagoe City, Saitama Prefecture - Map
Nearest Bus Stop: Nakamachi 

10. Souvenir Shopping

Commemorate your trip to Kawagoe with a locally-made souvenir.

Before concluding your trip, consider visiting the charming craft shops in Kawagoe for souvenirs. Tsuchikane Store is an excellent starting point, offering traditional local toys and folk crafts that showcase the city’s rich cultural heritage. You can find eye-catching items such as masks of tenko (fox mask), Plump-face Woman, and Man with a Pursed Mouth, fan-shaped kites and miniature that feature Kawagoe’s sightseeing landmarks such as the bell tower or festival floats. The building is also a cultural treasure that adds to the overall experience.

1-5-4 Shintomicho, Kawagoe City, Saitama Prefecture - Map
Nearest Bus Stop: Nakaharacho
10 A.M. - 4 P.M. (Closed on Tue. and Wed.)
What do you think of our list of the top 10 things to do in Kawagoe? Comment below and share your go-to spots with us!

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