VIDEO| Virtual Vacation: Kawagoe, Japan

Photos by Takahiro Takiguchi
Photos by Takahiro Takiguchi

VIDEO| Virtual Vacation: Kawagoe, Japan

by Takahiro Takiguchi
Stripes Okinawa

Welcome to virtual vacation video series where we can explore destinations from the comfort of our homes.

Join us as we take a short virtual journey to Kawagoe.

The great thing about this destination is that it is easily accessible from Tokyo and most U.S. military bases in the Kanto Plain with only a couple of hours by car or train.

Kawagoe is also known as “Little Edo,” for its quaint, old-timey atmosphere and historic buildings. This beautiful castle town packed is with traditional clay-walled warehouses, an impressive bell tower, a majestic castle and numerous Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples. Free parking is available, and the Koedo Kawagoe Loop Bus is a convenient way to get around to all the sights. You’ll find many shops, cafes and other attractions which make Kawagoe a great, quick getaway.

Some of the must-see spots in Kawagoe include:

  • Kawagoe Castle and City Museum— The castle is a symbol of the feudal domain and a glimpse into history. A grand hall with gorgeous pictures on the walls and the drawing room with its low ceiling, which was designed to help prevent sword attacks, are must-see. Nearby, the City Museum features a variety of exhibits that chronicle the history of the castle town, with miniature models and reproductions of a local school classroom and a “dagashiya” sweets shop from the 1970s. 

  • Traditional Street— A walk down Kawagoe’s main street is like taking a walk back in time. The tiled roofs and historic buildings are in pristine condition and many house souvenir and other shops.  Follow the crowds towards the Toki no Kane, a 53-foot three-tiered wooden belltower which has been a famous landmark and symbol of Kawagoe since it was built in 1639. “Kashiya Yokocho” or Penny Candy Lane is home to a number of small sweet shops selling cheap candies, rice cakes, various toys and crafts.

  • Kitain Temple – Boasting more than 1,200 years of history, Kitain Temple is the head temple of the Tendai Sect of Buddhism in the Kanto region. Among its magnificent temple buildings and traditional Buddhist garden, you can check out “Gohyaku Rakan,” 540 stone statues of the disciples of Buddha, each with its own facial expression. It is said that you can find one that looks like you among them.

While you're there, don't forget to sample local tasty eel and udon noodles. Since Kawagoe is famous for sweet potatoes, you can try a variety of traditional Japanese sweets made from them as well.

I hope you enjoyed a look at Kawagoe through my travel photos and that it has inspired your next trip. Stay safe and get ready to travel with us in our next video. Thanks for watching!

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