Kawagoe

Kawagoe (川越) is an old trading outpost of the ancient capital Edo. Located in Saitama prefecture, the city is now a small suburban city of around 33.000 people, but the preserved warehouse district draws around 4 million visitors to the city each year, and have earned the city the nickname of little Edo (Koedo).

Get in

By train

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.

Get around

While it's perfectly feasible to walk around to the main sights, the city also has a network of buses. The most interesting for visitors are the Koedo Kawagoe loop bus, a regular bus that covers all the main attractions in a 40 minute loop, a one day pass costs ¥300. And the vintage Koedo Loop Bus that also loops around the main attractions in about an hour and cost ¥500 for a day pass.

See

Kawagoe is known as "Little Edo" (小江戸 Koedo), after the old name for Tokyo, and its old wooden houses of the Ichiban Gai area, still draw tourists looking for a taste of days gone by.

Warehouse district

Following an event known as the Kawagoe Great Fire in 1893, wealthy traders supplying the old Edo capital with boats down the Shinagashi river, began to reconstruct their warehouse in the Kurazukuri style. While very costly to build, this method of construction, which - while still looking distinctively Japanese - is made from fire-resistant materials, rather than the clay and wood traditionally used. The buildings are crowned with steep tile roofs featuring immense, fire-deflecting Onigawara (Ogre tiles). Although virtually all of Japan has lost such buildings in the pre world war II era, unusually a preservation movement arose in the town in the mid 1960’ties, after a great deal of the traditional warehouses had been demolished, to preserve what was left of the historic district, and develop it as an attraction.

Today the warehouse district covers a few 100 square meters, about 1,5 kilometers north Kawagoe station. While narrow sidewalks along a fairly trafficked road takes away some of the charm, it is still a worthwhile excursion from Tokyo, for those interested in catching a fleeting glance of the elusive "old Japan".

Other attractions

Do

Buy

Kashiya Yokocho (Penny Candy Lane)

Kashiya Yokocho (菓子屋横丁) – This is a traditional shopping district. You can buy many kinds of cheap candies. One of the most popular foods is fugashi. It is very long, like a sword. Its taste is sweet.

Eat

Sleep

Most people choose to make Kawagoe a day trip from Tokyo, but there are some options:

Budget

Mid-range

Go next

Routes through Kawagoe

END  W  E  TokorozawaTanashi Seibu-Shinjuku
Yorii Higashimatsuyama  N  S  Narimasu Ikebukuro
END  W  E  ŌmiyaShibuya Ōsaki
Takasaki Higashimatsuyama ← Tsurugashima  N  S  Tokorozawa Tokyo
Yokohama SagamiharaHachioji  W  E  ŌmiyaKasukabe Kashiwa


This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Sunday, March 20, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.