It’s always nice to visit a location the subject of many positive posts. Kawagoe being only an hour or so north of Tokyo makes it really accessible for the visitor.
From Shinjuku, take the JR Saikyo Line Rapid service direct to Kawagoe, taking 55 minutes. Or take the Tobu Tojo Line express, taking only 40 minutes.
The old town is just a 5 minute taxi ride from the stations, or a flat 20 minute walk. You will see a number of well-preserved ‘kura-zukuri’ —fireproof merchant houses dating back to the Edo and Meiji periods.
The old centre of Kawagoe seems to be framed around the Tokai no kane (Time Bell Tower) that can be seen from many vantage points. This bell tower is one of Kawagoe’s most distinctive buildings. The bell inside this 16m, chocolate-colored structure tolls four times a day (at 6am, noon, 4pm and 6pm), rung by a clever device that pulls back a log to strike it, without any human assistance.
Fukashi and I were lucky enough to be there right on Noon to watch the log pull back and strike the bell with a deep toll that resonates for some time. Now you too can see and hear this through this video!
And who can go to Kawagoe without treating themselves to a sugar hit at the ‘Kashiwa Yokocho’ (Penny Candy stores). In addition to lots of lollies and treats, there are also a few stores that sell small toys and games.
Walking down a laneway we came across a window front store, where a craftsman made beautiful jewelry. I bought a lovely brooch for my wife. Unfortunately I did not keep details of that place to share with you.
To end our short time we had lunch at Touho Yamawa that I have posted about earlier.
I know places like Kawagoe deserve that visitors spend more than a couple hours there, before moving off to somewhere else. Kawagoe’s history is important and interesting, and its proximity to Tokyo make it a recommended day trip.
I will go there again and spend those deserved extra hours.