Tokyo Shorts – Kawagoe “Little Edo”

While technically in Saitama rather than Tokyo proper, the small city of Kawagoe (川越) makes for the perfect day trip from the megalopolis at just a 30-minute ride from Ikebukuro Station. During a recent weekend, I took a Sunday off to check it out.

Gabled Buildings

The area, known as Little Edo (小江戸) for its traditional wooden houses, provides a glimpse into a Japan which is more familiar to a samurai film than the modern-day urban sprawl we’re used to.

Toki No Kane (Bell of Time)

One of its famous landmarks and symbol of the city is the Toki No Kane (時の鐘 – Bell of Time) which rings four times a day as it has done for 350 years.

Tiled Roofs

Some of the oldest buildings on the streets around Ichiban Gai date back to 1792.

Knife Shop

There are many traditional food and craft shops in the area, including this knife shop the proprietor was demonstrating just how thinly he could slice a radish!

Neko Chan

A rather poorly looking Neko-chan.

Purifying Water

There are also many temples and shrines dotted around the area.

Kita-in Temple

The biggest and most famous of which is Kita-in (喜多院) which was part of the original Edo Castle and contains 540 statues of Buddha’s disciples, each unique.

Mizu Dragon

The temple has a fancy water purification dragon.

Magic Noodles

If you’re feeling peckish after all that walking there’s a shopping strip running between Kawagoe and Hon-Kawagoe stations, called Crea Mall, that has plenty on offer. More directions here.

David avatar

2 responses

  1. I spent a whole afternoon and evening in Kawagoe back in May (went there after a morning visit to the railway museum in Saitama city) which means I had to skip Kita-in because of the lack of time, but taking a stroll through the warehouse district with its Edo-esque feeling has been a refreshing experience and luckily it wasn’t packed with people (most likely because it was during the week right after Golden Week). If it wasn’t for the road semi-congested by the local traffic passing through the district, partially ruining that picturesque part of the city, it would be perfect.

    PS: I’ve just come across your blog while searching for ideas for a one-week trip to Hong Kong and it’s full of interesting reads. Needless to say, I added it to my feed reader 🙂

    1. Hi Daniele – thanks for your comment! Hope you will have a good time in Hong Kong – it’s an awesome city!


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