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Issues to do in Kawagoe on a aspect journey from Tokyo

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Things to do in Kawagoe - Kura no Machi

Town of Kawagoe retains a lot of the attraction of the Edo interval when it grew to be a affluent and esteemed service provider city.  Edo was the historic title for Tokyo when the Tokugawa shogunate established it because the capital of Japan.  At this time Kawagoe is thought regionally as Koedo, or Little Edo and as you discover town you’ll be able to really feel nearly such as you’ve stepped again in time to a different period.  These are our picks for the highest issues to do in Kawagoe.

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As we’ve mentioned earlier than in our articles on day trips from Tokyo, we love the massive metropolis however discover we have to take quick breaks from the depth and crowds.  Kawagoe is a an excellent aspect journey, it’s a really quick distance to journey, there’s a lot to see and do, and it supplies an actual distinction to  the trendy metropolis of Tokyo.

Methods to get to Kawagoe

Kawagoe is a straightforward 30 minute practice trip from Ikebukuro station in Tokyo on the Tobu Railway line.  A regular return ticket will value Y 940 however for worldwide vacationers there’s a selection of two passes relying on whether or not you wish to additionally use the buses in Kawagoe for getting round.

  • The Kawagoe Low cost Cross is Y 750 and contains the return practice journey from Ikebukuro plus low cost vouchers to make use of in each Kawagoe and Ikebukuro.
  • The Kawagoe Low cost Cross Premium is Y 950 and contains the return practice journey, low cost vouchers plus use of buses inside central Kawagoe.  The Tobu Koedo Loop Bus begins from the Kawagoe practice station and stops at, or close to, a lot of the main points of interest.

Many guests will discover Kawagoe on foot, a lot of the points of interest are in a compact space and this might be sensible for many individuals, it’s how we’d usually cowl an space this dimension.  Choose up a strolling map from the guests centre or use Google Maps in your cellphone you probably have a cellular wifi connection in Japan.

If you wish to get rapidly between two factors there are taxi’s accessible.  For the quick distances round city the value is corresponding to what you’d count on to pay in Australia for inside metropolis journeys.

If you wish to scale back the quantity of strolling and get to plenty of completely different factors of curiosity an alternative choice is to make use of the limitless Kawagoe Co-Edo Loop bus ticket.  It may be bought at a reduction as a part of the Kawagoe  premium move talked about above.  If you happen to haven’t bought the move and determine later you wish to take the bus again to the station you’ll be able to both pay money on the bus or contact on and off with an IC card similar to SUICA or PASMO.

Issues to do in Kawagoe

1. Stroll the streets of the Outdated City (Kura no Machi)

You’ll start to really feel the historical past of Kawagoe as you stroll the streets of Kura no Machi.  In Japanese Kura are warehouses and Kurazukuri confer with the clay clad warehouse buildings that had been utilized in Kawagoe and nonetheless seen within the outdated city immediately.  Commerce with Tokyo within the Edo interval made Kawagoe retailers fairly rich and enabled many to them to not solely construct their warehouses on this model but in addition their shops and houses.  That is one thing you don’t normally see in different cities.

Regardless of this extra hearth resistant model the Nice Kawagoe Fireplace of 1893, shortly after the tip of the Edo interval, destroyed most of the buildings however they had been subsequently rebuilt in the identical model to protect the historical past and character of the city.

Osawa House Kawagoe

Be careful for Osawa Home as you wander down the principle avenue of the outdated city.  That is the one authentic constructing that is still from the Edo interval and was the inspiration for rebuilding the realm after the fireplace.  It belonged to a rich kimono service provider and was constructed in 1792.  At this time the bottom ground has native handcraft on the market.

Most of the warehouses down the principle avenue have been transformed into small retailers and cafes.  Take your time to wander out and in, browse the gadgets on the market and cease for some time for a refreshing drink and to soak up the ambiance.

2. Toki no Kane

Toki no Kane Kawagoe

The bell tower is the distinctive image of Kawagoe.  It has rung out throughout the city asserting the time since early within the Edo interval though the present tower was rebuilt instantly after the Nice Fireplace in 1893.  It’s positioned within the warehouse district and nonetheless sounds Four instances a day.

[You can hear the bell at 6 am, noon, 3 pm and 6 pm.]

 

On the prime you’ll discover a big bell and striker just like what you’ll see in temples throughout Japan.  The distinction right here is that the big pole strikes the bell robotically on the scheduled instances.

3. Penny Sweet Lane (Kashiya Yokocho)

Penny Candy Lane Kawagoe

Most of the classic sweet shops in Penny Sweet Lane are solely open on the weekend and that’s once you’ll wish to be right here to see the artisans at work creating onerous sweet figures.  I’ll embody a few images right here of two artists at work forming the taffy like sweet right into a figurine after which hand portray it.  These had been taken on the Solamachi procuring centre subsequent to Tokyo Skytree as I didn’t get the prospect to {photograph} it in Kawagoe.

Creating hard candy art in Japan
Painting hard candy art in Japan

4. Kita-in temple

Sanmon gate to Kita-in in Kawagoe

Kita-in is a vital historical temple advanced relationship again to 830.  There are a couple of distinctive and curiosity elements to look out for on a go to right here.

The temple is now residence to the one remaining buildings from Edo Fort.  In 1638 the vast majority of the temple advanced was destroyed by hearth.  Kawagoe and the temple was so necessary to the ruling Tokugawa Shogunate that a number of palace buildings had been ordered to be dismantled and moved from Tokyo to the temple grounds and reassembled.  Years later the Edo palace buildings in Tokyo had been themselves destroyed by hearth which means these are the one examples remaining from the interval.

Palace buildings from Edo Castle
Palace buildings from Edo Fort

The half I used to be most trying ahead to seeing had been the Go-hyaku Rakan, a set of 500+ stone statues of Shakyamuni Buddhas disciples.  These are in a separate courtyard with an entrance price.  The stone statues had been individually carved between 1782 and 1825 and every have distinctive options and personalities depicted.  What makes these Rakan completely different to others you’ll have seen is that many have humorous expression or cheeky antics like whispering to at least one one other.  Additionally, you will see the assorted animals of the Chinese language zodiac included amongst them, I discovered the monkey, can you discover yours?

Go-hyaku rakan of Kita-in

5. Gown in kimono or yakata to discover the city

There are various locations in Japan to hire a kimono or yakata.  Exploring historic websites or a historic city similar to Kawagoe within the conventional costume could be very fashionable for each women and men.

Many younger girls put on yakata in the course of the summer season to attend shrines and festivals which are held all through the nation.

We had been in Kawagoe a few days after the Star Pageant often known as Tanabata and in the course of the wind chimes pageant at Hikawa Shrine, each fashionable occasions for younger girls to don the normal costume.

The rental studios present all of the required elements and can provide help to costume in them appropriately, some even embody hair styling and assessories.

Costs begin from Y 2500

Explore Kawagoe in a yakata

6. Hikawa Shrine

Hikawa Shrine Kawagoe

Hikawa is a shrine for the romantics at coronary heart and it takes round 10 minute to stroll right here from the road of heritage stone warehouses.  With a 1500 yr historical past of success in matchmaking and matrimonial happiness younger girls will costume up of their finest yakata and journey right here to make their want of discovering a husband identified to the shrines deities.

Along with praying on the shrine, they’ll additionally buy a fortunate attraction, a fortune within the type of a tai (snapper fish), stroll across the blessing tree, by means of the tunnel of ema and in the course of the Enmusubi Furin pageant beneath the wind chimes.  To be sincere I used to be strolling beneath the chimes too however it was for the cooling water mist that was being sprayed on one of many hottest days of the yr to date.

Wind chimes

We had been visiting throughout summer time and from early July till early September there’s a pageant right here often known as the Enmusubi Furin.  Furin are wind chimes and are sometimes related as a sound of summer time in Japan.  They encompass a glass bowl, some type of small weight that’s positioned to strike the bowl making a sound when the chime strikes and a chunk of paper or gentle wood pill that hangs under that.  They make a surprisingly nice and delicate sound after they ring out within the breeze.

7. Take pleasure in a meal at a ryotei

Meal at Kawashima in Kawagoe

A ryotei is a standard Japanese restaurant from the Edo interval (1600 – 1867) making it the right addition to your day journey to the historic service provider city Kawagoe.  Initially ryotei sorted the Shogunate officers who traveled to the city or excessive rating bureaucrats and businessmen.  At this time ryotei proceed to be excessive class eating places and you must make a reserving to go to however many not require a members suggestion and welcome overseas guests who wish to expertise their scrumptious delicacies and environment.

We ate at Kawashima which is about 1.2 km from Kawagoe station, a 10-15 minute stroll.  The historic home was transformed to a restaurant with a fantastic backyard that may be seen from inside and several other personal eating rooms of varied sizes.  The rooms are historically embellished with tatami mats and beautiful minimalist decor so you’re taking your sneakers off as you enter the home however our room had a western model desk which might be extra comfy for an prolonged meal if you happen to aren’t used to sitting on the ground.

The meal itself blends the freshest seasonal produce, conventional methods for preparation and artwork.  If you happen to imagine as we do that you just eat first along with your eyes, a meal like this might be an actual deal with.

Inside Kawashima in Kawagoe
Our personal eating room at Kawashima

Kawashima Restaurant in Kawagoe

Location and reserving particulars:  18-5, Torimachi, Kawagoe-shi, Saitama, 350-0044

If you happen to’re utilizing Google maps to get there minimize and paste the deal with in Japanese, the English one doesn’t work effectively. It’s  〒350-0044 埼玉県川越市通町18-5

Telephone bookings on 049-224-3456, your lodge concierge will have the ability to do that for you.

When to go to Kawagoe

We regularly advocate making aspect journeys from Japans bigger cities in the course of the week when most locals are at work to minimise the crowds.  With Kawagoe we propose the other.  It’s a reasonably quiet city in the course of the week and a few of the points of interest won’t be open which means you received’t get the complete expertise.  If you wish to see the artisans at work in Sweet lane for instance they’re solely there on the weekend and several other of the shops are closed at different instances.  Within the temples too some sections are solely open on weekends and holidays.

Total we’d advocate Kawagoe as an attention-grabbing day journey from Tokyo and the quick 30 minute practice trip makes it faster to get to this a part of Saitama prefecture than some elements of Tokyo itself.

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Things to do in Kawagoe
Things to do in Kawagoe

Disclosure: My summer time 2018 go to to Nikko was hosted by Tobu Group.

The submit Things to do in Kawagoe on a side trip from Tokyo appeared first on 2 Aussie Travellers.

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