Running from Shinjuku and Ikebukuro stations through Tokyo's western suburbs and all the way up to Kawagoe and Chichibu in Saitama, the Seibu train lines are great for exploring some of the city's less trendy 'hoods, filled with age-old public baths, run-down shopping arcades and quirky parks, not to mention rowdy izakayas, ethnic eateries and box-sized cafés.
Our complete guide to fun along the Seibu lines takes you from the heart of Tokyo all the way to the historic town of Kawagoe, which features one of the few remaining Edo-period streetscapes, and scenic Chichibu, where you can do things like spend a night in a temple and go river rafting in a traditional wooden boat. Check out our picks below and start exploring – and consider also reading up on 'Aranumano', one of the most interesting areas along the yellow train's tracks.
This is an old-school senbei (rice cracker) shop that's been around since 1933 and is trying to keep up with the times by developing new flavour combinations, for example, a thin cracker wrapped in soft nori seaweed or paired with a combo of nori and cheese. Kintoki Senbei
Never mind the location (right above a Seven-Eleven) – you’ll forget you’re in Tokyo as soon as you enter this speciality coffee shop, run by a fellow who looks like he could just as well be serving his masterful drip brews in 18th-century Vienna. Café Très Bon
At this warren of Asian restaurants on the roof of an ageing Kabukicho tower block, diners are free to sit at one shop and order food from neighbouring eateries. The free-for-all atmosphere lends itself well to a rowdy night of drinking. Shinjuku Asia Yokocho
At Kitain temple, you'll find 538 statues representing the disciples of Buddha, known as arhats. They were carved between 1782 and 1825, and no two statues are alike. It's said that if you visit them at night and touch each statue until you find one that is warm, this will be the arhat that most resembles you. 500 Arhats at Kitain Temple
Cycle around town...
Admire the scenery on an electric bike rented at spots including Seibu-Chichibu and Nagatoro stations for ¥600 for two hours (other plans also available). Bring cash and your passport. Rental bicycle at Seibu-Chichibu and Nagatoro stations