Kawagoe in Tokyo’s neighbouring Saitama prefecture is a popular weekend destination that’s just 30 minutes by train from Ikebukuro Station. It’s especially famous for its well-preserved Koedo area, known as Little Edo. This small Edo-era (1603-1868) town is packed with souvenir shops, eateries and cafés, all inside kurazukuri, traditional warehouse-style buildings.
You’ll spot lots of visitors exploring the historical streets in kimono or yukata while snacking on local treats. Kawagoe’s speciality is sweet potato, so keep your eyes open for sweet potato ice cream, or imo kenpi (sweetened sweet potato fries), available along the cosy Kashiya Yokocho, dubbed Penny Candy Alley in English.
But it’s not all about food. Kawagoe is a great destination year round: the little stream behind Hikawa Shrine is lined by cherry blossoms in spring, large koinobori (carp streamers) decorate the Taisho Roman Yume Street around Children’s Day in May, and the famous Kawagoe Matsuri festival kicks off in October.
To make the most of your visit, we’ve curated a list with everything you need for a great getaway in Kawagoe.
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