Kawagoe (pronounced kawa-go-eh) is home to a historic old town, nicknamed ‘Little Edo’ because of how well preserved it is. Locals love to dress up in kimono when visiting Kawagoe, which can be reached in just 40 minutes from Ikebukuro station. Here’s how to make the most of a day-trip to Kawagoe from Tokyo.
Kawagoe is a great day-trip from Tokyo to explore ‘old Japan’, because of all the well-preserved buildings you can wander around. It’s also a souvenir shop and street food paradise, with many vendors selling small food items to take away or take home. Take a tour of the old town, or have a wander yourself to discover Kawagoe and ‘Little Edo’.
Looking for other things to do in Tokyo after Kawagoe?
- Read up on my Tokyo itinerary – The Perfect Three Days in Tokyo Itinerary
- Check out the highlights – Top 15 Things To Do In Tokyo
- See Tokyo’s weird and quirky side – 20 Weird And Unique Things To Do In Tokyo
- Learn where to escape the crowds – Off-The-Beaten-Path Places In Tokyo
- Get out of the city for a day – Best Day Trips From Tokyo
- Gain some elevation over Tokyo – Six Amazing Tokyo Viewpoints
How to Get to Kawagoe from Tokyo
Top Things To Do On A Kawagoe Day-Trip
Visit Kawagoe's Main Shopping Street
Learn About Saitama at the Koedo Kurari Tourist Center
Sample Sake from a Vending Machine
Kawagoe Kumano Shrine
This shrine in Kawagoe is a unique one because of the many rituals that you can take part in that are not common at other shrines around Japan. A day-trip to Kawagoe from Tokyo is not complete without a look around this shrine.
Upon entering the shrine gate, you will notice two rows of different-shaped rocks jutting out of the ground. You have the option to take your shoes off and walk down this painful road! The rocks will push into the soles of your feet to improve your health in different ways.
At the Kawagoe Kumano Shrine there is also a little waterfall, where you will see many baskets and ladles stacked next to. Locals put their coins (sometimes bills) inside these baskets and wash them in the running water. This is tied to a belief that washing your money here will cause it to multiply and return to you.
Admire Kawagoe Clock Tower, Toki no Kane
Visit Candy Alley, Kashiya Yokocho
Enter Kawagoe Matsuri Kaikan, a Museum of Mikoshi
Wander the Kurazukuri no Machinami / Warehouse District
Street food that Kawagoe is famous for include red bean and sweet potato filled manju glutinous rice balls, roasted dango, and freshly made sweet potato chips.
Traditional Japanese souvenirs that you can buy here include yukata, fuurin wind chimes, chopsticks (get them engraved for free), jewelry, and of course, candies and sweets. There are more current gift shops here also, such as Studio Ghibli’s Donguri no Mori gift shop.
When retuning to Tokyo from Kawagoe, you can pass through the same busy shopping street, and eat a quick meal in a cheap restaurant before heading back to Tokyo.
Making a Kawagoe Day-Trip from Tokyo?
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Are You Prepared For Japan and your Day-Trip to Kawagoe?
- Book Your Flights – To find the cheapest flights, flexibility is key. I use both Google Flights for their low fare calendar, and Skiplagged, which uses airfare loopholes to get the lowest prices. For a trip to Japan, check flights to both Tokyo airports (Haneda, Narita) and to Osaka (Kansai).
- Getting Around Japan: Prepare your JR Pass and Suica transit card before you depart.
- Book Your Accommodation – Check out Booking.com for the largest selection of accommodation in Japan. For backpackers, Hostelworld.com is also a favorite.
- Book Local Excursions – Don’t miss out on world-class experiences, like Teamlab Borderless or Tokyo Disneyland, by booking tickets online now. Check GetYourGuide and Voyagin for fun experiences all around Japan.
- Stay Connected: Order a pocket WiFi for airport pickup if you’re traveling with family or with a large group. Solo traveling to Japan? Order a SIM card just for you.
- Buy Travel Insurance – It’s better to protect yourself from mishaps when traveling. Get a quote from World Nomads to see how much it’ll cost to get you covered!
- Pack Your Essentials – Check out my posts about Long Term Travel Gear, and Carry-On Luggage Packing Essentials.