Hello, this is _hiroyuki.ta. This time, I toured Kawagoe, which is called Little Edo in Saitama Prefecture. Kawagoe is a castle town that flourished during the Edo period, and its historic buildings and charming townscape remain. It’s also a place where you can enjoy all day long, with plenty of delicious gourmet food and souvenirs. I rode a Harley Sports Glide (FLSB) to Kawagoe and will report on the experience.
What is Kawagoe?
Kawagoe is a city located in the southeastern part of Saitama Prefecture, approximately 30 km from central Tokyo. The population is approximately 350,000, making it the second largest city in Saitama Prefecture after Saitama City. Kawagoe developed as a political, economic, and cultural center since the Musashi Province magistrate’s office was located there during the Edo period. For this reason, many samurai residences and merchant houses were built, and many fire-resistant storehouse-style buildings remained. These old buildings and townscapes are affectionately known as “Little Edo.” Kawagoe is not only a historical tourist destination, but also has events such as the Kawagoe Festival and Sweet Potato Festival, as well as famous gourmet foods such as potato sweets and Kawagoe udon.
- Route to Kawagoe I rode a motorcycle from central Tokyo to Kawagoe. The route is as follows.
- From central Tokyo, take Shuto Expressway No. 5 Ikebukuro Line and get off at the Ikebukuro exit.
- Proceed northwest on National Route 254, passing through Nerima Ward, Itabashi Ward, and Wako City.
- Enter National Route 463 in Iruma City, Saitama Prefecture, and head for Seibuen Amusement Park.
- After passing Seibuen Amusement Park and driving for a while, it merges with National Route 254.
- Proceed northwest again on National Route 254, passing through Tokorozawa City and Miyoshi Town, Iruma District.
- Enter Kawagoe City, Saitama Prefecture, and turn right before intersecting National Route 16.
Arrive at Kawagoe Station East Exit.
This route will take you on local roads instead of using expressways. The distance is approximately 40km and the journey time is approximately one and a half hours. The time may change depending on traffic jams and traffic lights, so please leave with plenty of time to spare. There are also convenience stores and gas stations along the way, so don’t forget to take a break and refuel.
Highlights of Kawagoe
When you arrive at Kawagoe, park your bike at the parking lot and start sightseeing. Kawagoe’s sightseeing spots are mainly concentrated around the townscape of storehouses. We recommend getting around on foot or by bicycle. I will introduce the sights I visited.
- Kura-zukuri townscape The Kura-zukuri townscape, a symbol of Kawagoe, is a landscape lined with storehouses and merchant houses built during the Edo period. Currently, it is used as a souvenir shop, cafe, and restaurant. It’s fun to enjoy Kawagoe’s famous sweet potato sweets and Kawagoe udon while looking at the historic buildings. We also recommend riding a rickshaw around the city. The driver will also guide you and take photos for you.
- The Bell of Time The Bell of Time, located in the warehouse-style townscape, is famous as a landmark of Kawagoe. The bell tower gate was built in 1636, and the bell still rings four times a day (6:00, 12:00, 15:00, and 18:00). The bell of time is a familiar symbol that protects the lives of citizens and protects the city from disasters. The Bell of Time has been designated as a national important cultural property.
- Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine is a shrine built in 1470 as the guardian of Kawagoe Castle. It is said to bring good luck in matchmaking and business prosperity. The precincts are decorated with colorful matchmaking votive tablets. In addition, the two large camphor trees on the left and right sides of the main hall are called the couple’s camphor trees, and are said to symbolize marital harmony and family safety. Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine is designated as a national important cultural property.
- Kita-in Temple Kita-in Temple, also known as Kawagoe Daishi Temple, was founded in 1300. It is said to bring good luck and warding off evil spirits. There are many attractions within the temple grounds, including the wooden Great Buddha, which is said to be the oldest in Japan, and the three-storied pagoda, which has been designated as a national treasure. Kita-in Temple also holds a festival dedicated to Kobo Daishi (Kukai) on the 21st of every month. During the festival, it is crowded with many stalls and worshipers.
- Kashiya Yokocho Kashiya Yokocho is a retro shopping street that retains the atmosphere of the early Showa era. There are about 30 shops lined up, selling Kawagoe’s famous sweet potato sweets and rice crackers. You can also sample the sweets, so it’s fun to find the sweets that suit your tastes. You can also try making your own sweet potato sweets and rice crackers at Kashiya Yokocho.
Kawagoe motorcycle parking lot
There are several parking lots in Kawagoe where you can park your motorcycle. I will introduce the parking lot that I used.
- Kawagoe Municipal Parking Lot This is a municipal parking lot located near Kawagoe City Hall. You can use it for a fee on holidays, but on weekdays it is free for visitors, so be careful not to use it for sightseeing. You can go to the warehouse-style townscape in about 15 minutes on foot from Kawagoe City Hall.
This time, I toured Kawagoe on a Harley Sports Glide (FLSB). Kawagoe is a spot where you can enjoy the historic townscape known as Little Edo, as well as delicious gourmet food and souvenirs. If you ride a motorcycle, you can get there in about an hour and a half from central Tokyo using public roads. There are several parking lots where you can park your motorcycle, so it’s best to check in advance. Kawagoe is also a recommended tourist destination for motorcycle enthusiasts. Please come and visit us at least once.
*Kawagoe (English): Kawagoe