Spend time wandering through the rows of historical stores in "Little Edo." Be sure to try the simple, traditional sweets.
Located in the center of Saitama, Kawagoe City flourished as a castle town in the 17th century during the Edo Period. The city has been designated an important preservation district for groups of historic buildings where rows of magnificent merchants' houses in the traditional storehouse-style stand side-by-side. It is called "Ko-edo," or "Little Edo," because of its city architecture. The feudal lord of Kawagoe Castle ordered a bell tolling the time be built in the 17th century. The bell has been rebuilt several times, and the present 4th-generation bell is a symbol of Kawagoe, together with the streets lined with these traditional houses.
The area around Saiwai-cho, Moto-machi, and Naka-machi with the Ichibangai or the first street at the center, is one of the oldest towns in the Kanto region, where houses, including a draper's mansion, the Osawa family, and other palatial houses remain. Kita-in Temple boasts Kyakuden, a reception hall, and a study hall Sho-in, both of which are important cultural properties. You can also see the Gohyakurakan which is over 500 stone statues representing the disciples of Buddha, Shaka Nyorai, Amida Nyorai and so on.
Another specialty of Kawagoe is Kashiya-yokocho, a confectionary lane. It is a five-minute walk from the Fudanotsuji bus stop. Shops selling Japanese candies, sweet potato cakes, rice crackers, and other snacks stand in a row on both sides of the stone-paved lane. Their simple, nostalgic taste will satisfy both your tongue and heart.
The Kawagoe-matsuri Festival celebrated in the fall is one of three best festivals in the Kanto region. You will see exquisitely decorated seven-meter tall floats parading the city.
[Rail] 24 min from Tokyo to Ikebukuro Station by JR Yamanote Line, and 33 min from Ikebukuro to Kawagoe Station by Tobu-Tojo Line (regular express).