Kawagoe: Strawberry Picking In An Edo Townscape Just One Hour From Tokyo
Kawagoe in Saitama Prefecture is only an hour away from midtown Tokyo. A castle stood here during the Edo Period, as the town had a powerful influence at that time. The castle no longer remains, but visitors can appreciate the Kurazukuri (Kura-style architecture) from that period, which has been well-preserved in Kawagoe.
This article is about sightseeing and things to do in Kawagoe, including strawberry picking at a nearby farm.
How to Get to Kawagoe
As Kawagoe is in the southwestern part of Saitama, neighboring Tokyo, riding a train is the best way to go. There are many stations in Kawagoe: Kawagoe Station (JR Keihin Tohoku Line/Tobu Tojo Line), Honkawagoe Station (Seibu Shinjuku Line), and Kawagoe-shi Station (Tobu Tojo Line). For sightseeing, head for either Kawagoe Station or Honkawagoe Station. In addition to the routes listed below, Honkawagoe Station can be reached directly by taking the Red Arrow Express from Seibu Shinjuku Station or Takadanobaba Station.
From Shinjuku to Kawagoe
Time Required: About forty minutes/One-way Fare: From 556 yen and up.
Take the JR Shonan Shinjuku Line from JR Shinjuku Station, and switch to the Tobu Tojo Line express at Ikebukuro Station. Take a rapid train on the JR Saikyo Line, which goes to Kawagoe Station.
From Shibuya to Kawagoe
Time Required: About fifty minutes/One-way Fare: From 597 yen and up.
From Tokyo Metro Shibuya Station, take the Tokyo Metro Fukutoshin Line, and transfer to the Tobu Tojo Line express at Wako Station. The JR Saikyo Line rapid train offers a direct ride to Kawagoe Station.
From Ueno to Kawagoe
Time Required: About fifty minutes/One-way Fare: From 639 yen and up.
From JR Ueno Station, ride the JR Yamanote Line, and transfer to the Tobu Tojo Line express at Ikebukuro Station. There are no direct routes to Kawagoe from Ueno, so visitors must switch trains at least once.
From Airports to Kawagoe
Time Required: About two hours and five minutes/One-way Fare: 3,400 yen.
Take the airport bus that operates ten times a day, going directly from the terminals to the west entrance of Kawagoe Station.
Time Required: About an hour and 35 minutes/One-way Fare: 1,780 yen.
Take the airport bus that operates eight times a day and runs directly from the terminals to the west entrance of Kawagoe Station.
Public Transportation in Kawagoe
Kawagoe is divided into three areas: Kita-in Area, Ichibangai Area, with Kura-style buildings, and Kawagoe Castle area, where Honmaru Goten is located. Although the sightseeing spots are close to each other, it is recommended to ride a bus or a taxi when moving from one area to another. Visitors should take the Koedo Loop Bus and Koedo Famous Locations Loop Bus, as the bus stops are all located near sightseeing spots.
Koedo Famous Places Loop Bus (Tobu Bus)
One-day Fare: 300 yen
This bus departs from the east entrance of Kawagoe Station, and stops at various spots such as the Kita-in Temple, Kawagoe Castle Honmaru Goten, Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine, and Kashiya Yokocho (Penny Candy Alley). The ticket can be purchased both at the tourist information center in Kawagoe Station, and from the bus driver. It can also be used for buses running regular routes, in a designated area.
Koedo Loop Bus (Eagle Bus)
One-time Fare: 200 yen/One-day Fare: 500 yen
This bus departs from the west entrance of Kawagoe Station, and stops at various spots such as the Kita-in Temple, Kuranomachi, and Kashiya Yokocho. The announcements on the bus are made in Japanese, English, and Chinese. Please note that there are two routes (orange/purple), so choose the route according to your destinations.
Base Fare (up to two kilometers): 740 yen/Additional Fare: 90 yen per 296 meters.
While most sightseeing spots can be visited by bus, it would be best to use a taxi to some spots in the suburbs, including places to enjoy strawberry picking.
Strawberry Picking in Kawagoe
Kawagoe Strawberry Field Sujino
Located near Kawagoe Castle Honmaru Goten, visitors can taste and compare four types of strawberries, including Benihoppe and Akihime. The farm operates on a first-come-first-served basis and will close as soon as the berries run out. For further information, please check this page.
Check this page for details.
This farm is located away from the sightseeing areas, so it would be better to use a taxi. The facilities include a fruits shop and a café along with the greenhouse, so visitors can also enjoy shopping or beverages as well. Please note that a reservation is required for the strawberry picking.
Check this page for details (Japanese website).
Major Sightseeing Spots in Kawagoe
Be sure to visit the Toki no Kane (Time Bell Tower), a symbolic tower in Kawagoe, and the Kurazukuri Zone, where old merchant buildings are well preserved. Kashiya Yokocho, where visitors can try Japanese candy, is located nearby. Don’t miss Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine, famous for enshrining the god of married couples, and Kita-in Temple, built in 830.
Recommended Dining in Kawagoe
Ichinoya, established in 1832, specializes in unagi (Japanese eel), a Kawagoe specialty. They offer menus such as unaju (barbecued eel on rice), kabayaki (broiled eel), along with full-course meals.
Address: Saitama, Kawagoe, Matuse-cho 1-18-10
Access: Eight-minute walk from Honkawagoe Station (Seibu Shinjuku Line).
Business Hours: 11:00 -21:00
The restaurant has irregular holidays.
URL：http://www.unagi-ichinoya.jp/ (Japanese website)
Makotoya is a restaurant that serves futomen yakisoba, a Kawagoe cuisine. The thick noodles resembling udon are cooked using sauce, salt, or ketchup, offering a variety of flavors and toppings.
Address: Saitama, Kawagoe, Renjaku-cho 8-4
Access: Eight-minute walk from Honkawagoe Station (Seibu Shinjuku Line).
Business Hours: 11:00 – 16:00
Closed on Wednesdays. The restaurant will also be closed during poor weather conditions.
Recommended and Relaxing Cafes
Akariya – Japanese Sweets
Located inside a renovated house, this café serves traditional menus such as an-mitsu and kaki-gori, along with menus using sweet potatoes, another Kawagoe specialty.
Address: Saitama, Kawagoe, Shintomi-cho 1-9-2
Access: Five-minute walk from Honkawagoe Station (Seibu Shinjuku Line).
Business Hours: 11:00 – 18:30/Last order at 18:00.
Closed on Wednesdays. The cafe will also be closed irregularly.
URL：https://www.kawagoesansaku.com/akariya/ (Japanese website)
Art Café Erebato
This cafe, located inside a renovated retro Western-style building, serves a daily special meal, confections, and coffee. Visitors can also enjoy craft beer brewed in Kawagoe, and various side dishes.
Address: Saitama, Kawagoe, Naka-cho 6-4
Access: Ten-minute walk from Honkawagoe Station (Seibu Shinjuku Line).
Business Hours: 11:00 – 18:00 (Last order at 17:30.)
Closed on Wednesdays.URL：https://kawagoeartkafeerebato.gorp.jp/ (Japanese website)
Soothing Natural Hot Springs
Kawagoe Yuyu Land and Hotel Sanko
This facility is a complex consisting of a communal bath, banquet hall, hotel, and a restaurant. The main bath, furnished with towels and toiletries, has nine tubs.
Address: Saitama, Kawagoe, Shintomi-cho 1-9-1
Access: Three minute walk from Honkawagoe Station (Seibu Shinjuku Line).
Business Hours: Open 24 hours.
Price: 1,880 yen (The price includes a yukata, bath towel and face towel.)
URL： http://kawagoe-yuyu.com/ (Japanese website)
Kawagoe Onsen is divided into two zones: Ki no Yu, which has wooden bathtubs, and Ishi no Yu, furnished with stone tubs. The zones are segregated by gender, and the designation changes every day. Visitors can also enjoy dining and relaxing in the rest area.
Address: Saitama, Kawagoe, Kaminoda-machi 41-7
Access: Take the Seibu Bus from Kawagoe Station, and get off at Noda-machi bus stop.
Weekdays–10:00 – 1:00, Saturdays, Sundays, and Holidays–9:00 – 1:00
Price: Adults: 800 yen (Weekdays); 900 yen (Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays)
URL：http://www.kawagoe-onsen.com/index.html (Japanese website)
Suggested Day Trip Itinerary in Kawagoe
Start from Kawagoe (or Honkawagoe) Station.
Strawberry picking at Strawberry Field Sujino or @FARM.
Visit the Kita-in Area (Kita-in Temple, 500 Statues of Rakan, etc.)
Visit the Kawagoe Castle Area (Honmaru Goten, Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine, etc.)
Visit the Ichibangai Area for sightseeing and a late lunch. Visit Toki no Kane, Kashiya Yokocho, and other areas for shopping.
Return to Kawagoe (or Honkawagoe) Station.