Nicknamed “Little Edo”, Kawagoe is a former castle town famed for its old clay warehouses and kurazukuru merchant homes. Historic temples and castle remains dot the atmospheric streets, together with museums detailing the city’s fascinating history.
Things to do in Kawagoe
Gain insight into the city’s cultural heritage at the Kawagoe City Museum, home to excavated relics and beautifully preserved artefacts. Learn how kurazukuri merchant houses were built and see a model of the former castle town, then visit the adjacent City Art Museum to admire its art exhibitions.
Across the street from the Kawagoe City Museum is the Honmaru Goten, the only building to have survived from the 15th-century Kawagoe Castle. The Honmaru Goten was added in 1848 as a residence for the Tokugawa Shogunate and features spacious gardens and tatami rooms decorated with period furnishings and model feudal lords.
A short walk from the Honmaru Goten takes you to the Kitain Temple, which dates back to 830 AD and features 540 stone Gohyaku Rakan statues depicting the disciples of Buddha. The complex also includes the only remaining palace buildings from the Edo Castle after they were relocated here following the Great Kantō earthquake of 1923.
Wander through the Warehouse District, which is clustered with Edo-period karazukuri buildings and clay warehouses, many of which now house Japanese restaurants and boutiques. See how their interiors once looked at the Museum of Kurazukuri, situated within a former tobacco shop.
Getting around Kawagoe
Kawagoe is a 1.5-hour train ride from Tokyo and around two hours from Haneda International Airport. Buses travel throughout Kawagoe, but most of its sights are within walking distance of the train station.