A while ago, when the cherry trees were still blooming, I spent one of my holidays in Kawagoe–a small town in the Saitama Prefecture. Though being near Tokyo, Kawagoe often known as “Little Edo”, is a nostalgic town completely different from the urbanized Tokyo city. It is a place less busy and boisterous but more tranquil and relaxing.
Little Edo “Kawagoe”
The transportation from Tokyo to Kawagoe is very convenient, and it doesn’t take a lot of time, which therefore makes Kawagoe an ideal place for one day tour. My departure place was Ikebukuro, so I bought the ticket from the Tobu-Tojo Line counter in Ikebukuro Station. There is a direct train from Ikebukuro, and it takes only 30 minutes to Kawagoe (470 yen one-way).
However, since I wanted to have a relaxing while overall visitation of several different spots in Kawagoe area, I chose the one-day free pass sold by the Tobu Railway Company. The one day pass enabled me to take not only the round-way trains between Ikebukuro and Kawagoe, but also the Tobu buses and local tourist buses in Kawagoe. This 950 yen one day pass is indeed a cost-effective choice for those who would like to visit various places in Kawagoe without walking too much.
After arriving at Kawagoe Station, I decided to take the bus first to Miyashitamachi to visit Hikawa Shrine and to see the riverside view and the sakura trees next to the Shrine. Hikawa Shrine is a very famous shrine for its power for love and marriage, and it is often assigned as the location for traditional Japanese wedding ceremonies; there was actually a wedding ceremony taken place when I visited there. Moreover, the Ema tunnel in Hikawa Shrine was stunning; the Emas–with the words “良緣祈願 (Praying for Love)” on every wooden plaque–symbolize every prayer’s longing for love and for an ideal family.
In addition to the Emas, other kinds of Omamori (the Japanese protective talismans) and fortune-telling slips in Higawa Shrine are also very interesting. Here you can find the carp-fish omamori or the fortune-telling slip with a “magatama” (a curved bead) wrapped inside.
You can also do the “Doll Flow” here, which is to protect people from evil and illness; paying 100 yen, you can get a human-shaped paper doll from the shrine, and then you put it into the water and let it pass through the rope.
Aside from the shrine itself, the river at the back of the shrine is also very worth-visiting. The cherry trees blooming along the river created a breath-taking scenery during late March and early April. It would also be a great pleasure to have a relaxing walk along the riverside and enjoy the beautiful view even out of the sakura season.
After leaving Higawa Shrine, I took the bus to Kuranomachi Station and spent a whole afternoon visiting the Edo-style old street.
Kawagoe Clock Tower
This street is the core of Kawagoe; walking in this area is like travelling back to the old days of Japan. You can enjoy the nostalgic Japan, which obviously differs from the metropolistic Tokyo, and can taste various kinds of Japanese desserts, such as Macha snacks, ice cream, Japanese manju, soy sauce dango, etc. Moreover, the Japanese roasted tea in this street is very delicious. You should definitely try it if you come her
If you have time to have a relaxing one day trip, we really recommend you to visit Kawagoe to experience the more traditional and classical Japanese town!
See you in the next blog!!!