When in Tokyo: 7 Ways to Experience Traditional Japan at Kawagoe, Tokyo’s “Little Edo”

While many associate Japan’s Edo era with the likes of Kyoto and Kanazawa, you can experience the traditional side of Japan not too far away from modern-day Tokyo. Located an hour from Tokyo Station by train, Kawagoe is a former castle town that’s commonly known as Little Edo, due to the preservation of traditional-style buildings amidst more contemporary neighbourhoods. 

Here are 7 must-try experiences to make the most of your day trip to Little Edo. 


1. Take a stroll back in time at Taisho-Roman Street 

Taisho-Roman Street is one of the first areas you would encounter on your walk over from Kawagoeshi Station. This historical stretch is home to specialty shops, coffee joints, and other quaint eateries housed in restored buildings. Come May, Taisho-Roman Street takes on a more colourful, vibrant look with rows of koinobori lined up in celebration of Children’s Day. 

Address: Renjakucho, Kawagoe, Saitama 350-0066, Japan
Google Maps
Opening Hours: 9am – 6pm daily 
Contact: +81 49 222 5556


2. Shop for traditional sweets and snacks on Kura no Machi Ichibangai Street 

North of Taisho-Roman Street is where all the action is. Stepping onto Kura No Machi Ichibangai Street is akin to stepping into another world, with olden facades as far as the eye can see. Come summer, I imagine the streets would be bustling with activity.



Koedo Mameya, home to 47 flavours of beans.

Here is where you can also shop for traditional snacks, as well as hand-crafted goods for your kitchen or everyday use. There are also a number of shops selling soft serve and pickled cucumbers to beat the impending heat.   

Google maps

3. Kick back and relax at Tsubakiya Foot Spa Tearoom 

In the mood for some tea and relaxation? Tsubakiya Foot Spa Tearoom is the perfect place to catch a much-needed break from the hustle and bustle. For 30 – 45 minutes, you can soak your feet in a refreshing foot bath on the outdoor patio while enjoying some tea and sweets.


Mandatory orders are required in order to access this limited space, which sits about six to eight people. Prices are also on the steep side given the location and its popularity. Fortunately, it was relatively empty around 2pm when I visited but, your experience might vary. You can also shop for souveniurs and even crystals in the shop out front.


Address: Kawagoe Tsubaki no Kura, 3-2 Saiwaicho, Kawagoe, Saitama 350-0063, Japan
Google Maps
Opening Hours: 
Monday to Friday: 12pm – 6.30pm 
Saturday and Sunday: 10am – 7.30pm 
Contact: +81 49 227 7030


4. Hear the bells chime at Toki no Kane Bell Tower

Toki no Kane Bell Tower is one of Kawagoe’s most iconic landmarks, not just because it… towers over everything else in the vicinity, but also for its swelling chimes which have been earmarked as one of the 100 soundscapes of Japan. The current structure is a reconstruction built from 1893, following a fire that destroyed the original one. 

Address: Japan, 〒350-0063 Saitama, Kawagoe, Saiwaicho, 15−7
Google Maps
Bell Ringing Times: 6am, 12pm, 3pm, 6pm daily  
Contact: +81 49 224 6097


5. Experience old and new in one building at Starbucks Kawagoe Kanetsuki-dori

One of Japan’s greatest draws is her ability to blend modernity with tradition, and it’s no different with Kawagoe. Located a couple of buildings away from Toki no Kane is Starbucks Kawagoe Kanetsuki-Dori

Don’t be too quick to write off this place, as its traditional facade hides a beautiful interior complemented by a picturesque, zen garden at the back. It’s a good spot to sip on your favourite cuppa while waiting around for the bells to chime. 

Address:Japan, 〒350-0063 Saitama, Kawagoe, Saiwaicho, 15−18
Google Maps
Opening Hours: 8am – 8pm daily 
Contact: +81 49 228 5600


6. Have your wishes granted at Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine

Leave the bustling streets behind and venture out to Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine, a 1,500 year-old Shinto shrine said to have matchmaking and romance powers. 


Check out the Tunnel of Ema where there an abundance of wooden prayer plates are hung, or seek your fortune at the Ai Tai Mikuji. Whether or not you are on the hunt for romance, the stillness of the shrine grounds will help you re-center after an extensive afternoon of shopping and food-hopping.



Address:Japan, 〒350-0052 Saitama, Kawagoe, Miyashitamachi, 2 Chome−11−3
Google Maps
Opening Hours:
Saturday to Thursday: 9am – 6pm 
Friday: 9am – 5pm 
Contact: +81 49 224 0589



Kawagoe is also home to a number of workshops, such as glänta, a customised jewellery brand with outposts in Kyoto. While distinctly modern, it’s a neat way to commemorate your trip by having a ring made-to-order with the width and finishing of your choice. 


Address:Japan, 〒350-0063 Saitama, Kawagoe, Saiwaicho, 6−9
Google Maps
Opening Hours: 10am – 6pm daily 
Contact: +81 49 292 0046


Kawagoe is a fun blast from the past, with numerous areas for visitors of all ages to enjoy. If you want to experience Edo-era Japan without travelling too far from Tokyo, this is a must-visit. 


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