Thursday, June 4, 2015

Kawagoe, The Little Edo of Japan

I was in Tokyo for 9 days this trip, so I had time to explore new places outside the city.

I love old towns, and Kawagoe, an easy 30-minute train ride from Central Tokyo, was the perfect little place for me. I took the Tobu Tojo line from Ikebukuro to Kawagoe and treated myself to a day of exploration.

Come out from the West Exit of Kawagoe Station

Take these steps down

Get on the Co-Edo Loop Bus that looks like this one in the poster

A daily pass costs 500 yen and allows to you hop on and hop off all you want in a day

 It also comes with a tourist map of Kawagoe. Everything is in Japanese, but the pictures are helpful. 

The driver also does not speak a word of English, but he understood when I said "big smile!" :)

 The bus reeks of nostalgia. I was the only one inside and it felt really special.

Check out the accents

Get off at Kura no Machi stop, the center of the Old Town.

And let this place transport you to ancient Edo

The Old Town is lined with Karazukuri which are clay-walled warehouse-style buildings that
now house souvenir shops, food mart, craft stores, and even a Hello Kitty boutique!

But first, some local snacks!

 You will find many shops like this, filled with wide variety of Japanese delicacies

 Japanese pancakes, puddings, jellies, mochis and mini cakes

 They have limited edition seasonal products, too. I spot matcha balls!

I got a pack. You know me and matcha.

It was filled with matcha paste and dotted with red beans. A bit too sweet, but what a treat!

Of course, I also had to try the original confectionery from Kawagoe

The Koedo Mont Blanc. Cake with a chestnut surprise.

 Aside from unagi, Kawagoe is also famous for sweet potato

Japanese camote

 Sweet potato cake. Carbs on carbs. 

There are more shops selling all sorts of knick knacks. This one specializes in wooden crafts.

 Students after school

 Honestly, it is all about the architecture in Kawagoe. There is really not much to do,
but if you are an old soul like me who loves old buildings, aged wood,
ancient feels and the color gray, this is Disneyland for you.

Feels like a different world and era!

My kind of happy place! 

After half a day of walking under the sun and in the rain, it was time for lunch!

I devoured this box of unagi rice, the most popular thing to eat in Kawagoe.
See my post on Ichinoya here.

When you plan that day trip to Kawagoe, make sure to check out these three shops:

1. Hello Kitty Shop 
Not because I am a fan or you are a fan, but because I am sure have a daughter or friend or 
friend's daughter or cousin who is a fan. Believe me, you can find all things Hello Kitty here.
They will love you for it.

2. Kawamuraya Food Shop

Kawamuraya sells Japanese preserved food items that are great for pasalubong.
They are healthy, they travel well, and are so good on congee!

My stash of pickled burdock, seaweeds, picked cucumber, black garlic, dried fish
and baby Hokkaido scallops

3. You-Zen Chopsticks Shop
It's like a chopsticks museum in here! I've never seen so many different pairs in my life.
They can even personalize them while you wait. Another great idea for pasalubong. 

Perfect for me and all the people who love to eat!
See my separate post on You-zen here.

Spotted: Three Little Pigs

The stores at Kawagoe close pretty early. I suggest a morning sightseeing trip, an unagi lunch,
and then a little pasalubong shopping. 

It was too late by the time I got to Kawagoe Festival Museum, but that just means
I have a reason to come back.

When you're done for the day, the same bus will bring you back to the train station

I had a nice and relaxing time at Kawagoe, left at 5:57pm and made it back to Tokyo 
in time for dinner. 

Kawagoe Official Website

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