There are about 20 candy shops along the stone-paved Kashiya Yokocho (Penny Candy Alley) selling candy, rice crackers, dango dumplings, ice cream and other taste treats. Why not buy some to nibble on while walking through Kawagoe.
Go east along the main street with its many storehouses and you will come to Honmaru Goten, part of the former Kawagoe Castle.
The Kita-in Temple (Kawagoe Daishi) was founded in about 830 by Jikaku Daishi Ennin. The temple was closely associated with the Tokugawa Government; for example, “the birthplace of the third Shogun Iemitsu” and “the dressing room for Kasuga no Tsubone,” Iemitsu’s nanny, were moved here from Edo Castle in Tokyo. Kita-in Temple is also famous for “Gohyaku Rakan,” more than 500 statues of Rakan (arhats) were created over the 50 years between 1782 and 1825. The 538 statues have a delightful variety of facial expressions . Senba Toshogu Shrine, one of the three major Toshogu shrines in Japan, is located north of Kita-in Temple.
The Kawagoe Festival is held annually on the second Saturday and third Sunday of October. Gorgeous floats with elaborately made dolls are paraded around town. When two floats meet, they compete in dancing and making music. This is called “Hikkawase” and is the highlight of the festival. Kawagoe Matsuri Kaikan (festival hall) has an exhibit of 29 of the colorful floats. (admission: 300 yen).
During the Edo period (1603-1867), the cultivation of sweet potatoes began in Kawagoe. Now, ice cream and even beer are made from sweet potatoes. Kawagoe has designated 18th day of every month “Kimono Day” and, on this day, anybody in kimono will receive discounts and special offers at more than 100 shops in the city. Kimonos are available to rent.
Shinjuku Sta. -> 48 min by train on the JR Saikyo Line -> Kawagoe Sta.
Ikebukuro Sta. -> 30 min by express on the Tobu Tojo Line -> Kawagoe Sta. or Kawagoe-shi Sta.
Seibu Shinjuku Sta. -> 43 min by limited express “Ko-Edo-go” on the Seibu Shinjuku Line -> Hon-Kawagoe Sta.