Kawagoe City is a city in the southwestern part of Saitama Prefecture, Japan, which used to be Iruma-gun, and is currently the city of Nakanishi and the business nucleus. In the Edo period, the city was a castle town of Kawagoe clan and was very prosperous and was known as “Little Edo”. During the period when the clan was abolished and the prefecture was established, the city was the prefectural seat of Iruma Prefecture and the birthplace of the 85th Bank, one of the predecessors of Saitama Risona Bank.
Since Kawagoe City was not baptized by war, a large number of temples and historical streets remain. The city’s tourist attractions attract about 5 million visitors each year. Visitors can visit Kawagoe City Museum, Kawagoe Festival Hall, Kawagoe Minakami Park, Isanuma Park, the Clock of Time, Kawagoe Ichi Street, the old Kawagoe Castle Honmaru Goten, the Kawagoe Branch of Saitama Risona Bank (a national tangible cultural property), Kita-in Temple, Nakoin Temple, Senba Toshogu Shrine, Kawagoe Glacier Shrine, Miyoshino Shrine, Kawagoe Tatewood, and Kozenba Shell Mound.
The Kawagoe Festival, held every year on the third weekend of October, has been designated as an important intangible folk cultural asset in Japan and has been passed down from the Edo period to the present day, bringing the city’s old town to life during the event and creating a high atmosphere everywhere.
How to get there
There are three lines connecting Kawagoe with the Tokyo area.
The Tobu Tojo Line is based at Ikebukuro Station, the Seibu Shinjuku Line at Seibu Shinjuku Station, and a terminal station in central Tokyo.
The JR Saikyo Line also runs directly to Kawagoe Line, which means that all three lines run directly from central Tokyo to Kawagoe. The approximate time required for each line from Shinjuku Station is about one hour.
As for which line is most convenient, the Tobu Tojo Line offers the most rapid service.
The Kawagoe Express, newly established in spring 2019, connects Ikebukuro to Kawagoe Station in as little as 26 minutes.
The next best option is the Seibu Shinjuku Line.
The final station, Honkawagoe Station, is the closest station to the Kawagoe sightseeing area, and the “Koedo” express, a paid express for sightseeing, runs once an hour. The only downside is that transferring from other lines, including Seibu Shinjuku Station, is inconvenient.
The Saikyo Line and Kawagoe Line take a circuitous route via Omiya, so fares are somewhat expensive.
If you are transferring from other JR lines, such as the Ueno Tokyo Line, it is easy and convenient to make connections as they are operated by the same railroad company.
There are three Kawagoe Stations.
Kawagoe Station is served by the Tobu Line and JR Line.
It is very prosperous because of its proximity to downtown Kawagoe.
There is a tourist information center in the station, where you can gather information about events and maps for walking around town before sightseeing.
The area around the station is downtown, and there is some distance to the sightseeing area. It can be reached on foot, but it is convenient to use the sightseeing tour bus.
The closest station to the sightseeing area is Honkawagoe Station on the Seibu Line.
It is the terminal station of the Seibu Shinjuku Line and has a magnificent station building.
While the area in front of Kawagoe Station is downtown, Honkawagoe Station is located closer to the sightseeing area. It is only a 10-minute walk to the warehouse-zukuri district. Of course, the sightseeing tour bus also stops there.
Finally, Kawagoe-shi Station on the Tobu Line is not suitable for sightseeing.
Although the station name is confusingly similar to Kawagoe Station, it is located far from the city center and the sightseeing area. Note that Kawagoe-shi Station is also the destination of some trains and is easily misunderstood.