Kawagoe, located in the southwestern part of Saitama Prefecture, is one of the leading tourist spots in the prefecture.
Known as “Little Edo” for its traditional warehouses, Kawagoe is visited by many foreign tourists.
There are three stations near downtown Kawagoe: Kawagoe Station (JR and Tobu Tojo Line), Kawagoe-shi Station (Tobu Tojo Line), and Hon-Kawagoe Station (Seibu Shinjuku Line), but Hon-Kawagoe Station is the closest to the tourist spots.
There is also a bus service between Honkawagoe and Kawagoe stations.
Let me introduce some typical tourist spots in Kawagoe.
Hikawa Jinja (Shrine)
Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine is a historic shrine with a history of over 1,500 years. It is also known as the god of marriage.
An unusual omikuji in the shape of a sea bream is popular. This omikuji is not picked up by hand, but rather by fishing with a fishing rod-like tool.
Kawagoe Taishi Kita-in Temple is a Tendai sect temple and one of the three major temples in Kanto.
It is a popular temple for Hatsumode (New Year’s visit), and the famous “Daruma Market” is held on January 3, attracting many people.
The temple is famous for its “Five Hundred Arhats,” a collection of 358 stone Buddhas.
Toki no Kane
Toki no Kane (Bell of Time) is a landmark of Kawagoe.
It is a building that still retains the atmosphere of the Edo period (1603-1867) and has been telling the time in the castle town since the early Edo period (1603-1868).
The bell can still be heard four times a day at 6:00 am, noon, 3:00 pm, and 6:00 pm.
The sound of the bell was selected by the Ministry of the Environment as one of the “100 Soundscapes of Japan to Preserve.
Confectioner’s Alley is lined with about 20 confectionery shops.
You can enjoy the nostalgic atmosphere with the sweet aroma tickling your nose.
Many of the sweets can be eaten on the spot, so it is recommended to eat your way through!
12 recommended souvenirs to buy in Kawagoe
Kawagoe is a busy tourist spot, and there are many souvenir shops and confectionery shops where you can enjoy eating and strolling.
The author (Sakura), who lives in Saitama and often visits Kawagoe, introduces only those sweets that she has actually tried and found delicious in the three categories of “Sweet Potato Sweets,” “Japanese Confectionery,” and “Western Confectionery.
If you have any doubts about your choice of souvenirs, please refer to this page.
A Kawagoe staple! Five recommended sweet potato snacks
The Kawagoe area has been producing sweet potatoes since the Edo period (1603-1867), and “sweet potato sweets” made of sweet potatoes have become a standard souvenir.
The phrase “better than 9 ri (chestnuts), 13 ri (about 52 km),” which describes the deliciousness of sweet potatoes, comes from the fact that the distance from Edo to Kawagoe is 13 ri (about 52 km).
Among the many sweet potato snacks in Kawagoe, we have selected five that we particularly recommend.
Imo Koi” is the most popular sweet potato snack in Kawagoe.
It is a simple manju (sweet potato bun) made of sweet potatoes cut into round slices and sweet bean paste wrapped in a dough made of yam and glutinous rice flour.
It is a very typical Kawagoe souvenir with sweet potatoes inside.
At any Kasho Umon shop, you can enjoy freshly steamed manju on the spot.
It is a good item to eat while sightseeing in Kawagoe.
If you want to take some of the Imo Koi back home, you may wonder how long they will last, but frozen ones will last for 90 days, and refrigerated ones will last for 5 to 6 days.
The places where you can buy Imo Koi in Kawagoe are as follows.
- Toki no Kane Store
- Ichibancho Store
- Kashiya Yokocho Store
- Lumine Kawagoe Store
Tsubasa Karin is a sweet potato based Karinto roll.
The natural sweetness of the sweet potato comes alive and is not as strong as you might expect. It is so delicious that you can eat several pieces.
The snacks are fried and sold every day so you can enjoy the crunchy texture of the sweet.
This is another snack that is recommended to eat. It lasts about 5 days.
You can buy Tsubasa Karin at the Monzoan candy store.
- Kura-no-machi Store
- Main Store
- Kawagoe Store
- Kita-in Monzen Store
Beniaka-kun sweet potato is made by Kurazukuri Honpo, a traditional Japanese confectionery company.
The name of the product comes from “Beniaka”, a variety of sweet potato that is a specialty of the Kawagoe area.
The smooth texture is created by mixing Hokkaido butter and fresh cream.
It is a sweet potato snack suitable as a souvenir for everyone from children to the elderly.
There are many Kurazukuri Honpo shops in Kawagoe, so it is easy to get one. Around the station, you can find them in front of Kawagoe-shi Eki-mae and at Atre Maruhiro in JR Kawagoe Station.
Kawagoe Kura Pudding Satsumaimo
Kawagoe Kura Pudding Sweet Potato” is a pudding made from 100% sweet potatoes grown in Kawagoe.
It has a soft and creamy texture and is full of sweet potato flavor.
It is only available in Kawagoe City at the Koedo Kurari Industrial Tourism Center.
Koedo Kurari is also a good place to buy souvenirs, as there are many other specialty products from Kawagoe.
Kawagoe kaho Dokan detchi imo
Doukan” is the signature product of Kawagoe Kasho Doukan, Kawagoe’s long-established confectionery shop.
It is a Japanese confectionery similar to a sweet potato dumpling, made by kneading sweet potato, sugar and flour into a dough and steaming it with sweet potato nectar.
You can enjoy the two different textures of “chunky” and “flaky” and fully appreciate the sweet potato flavor.
The shop is a little far from the main street of Kawagoe, but the taste is worth the effort.
If you give it as a gift to a sweet potato lover, he or she will surely be pleased.
4 Japanese sweets recommended from long-established Japanese confectionery stores in Kawagoe
Along with sweet potato confections, traditional Japanese confections are one of the most popular souvenirs from Kawagoe.
Kawagoe has many long-established wagashi stores, making it an irresistible town for wagashi lovers.
Let me introduce four of my favorite wagashi.
Kameya is a long-established Japanese confectionery company founded in 1783.
The main storehouse, a designated cultural asset of Kawagoe City, has a stately storehouse-style structure that attracts the eye.
Inside the store, there is a “History Gallery” corner where visitors can learn about Kameya’s history.
Kameya’s signature candy, “Kame-no-Monaka,” is a small turtle-shell-shaped monaka. It comes in two varieties, one with sweet bean paste and the other with sweet bean paste.
The taste is simple and elegant. You can feel the strength of a long-established confectionery shop! It is a product that you can feel the skill of a long-established shop.
The bite-sized pieces make it easy to eat.
There are many Kameya stores in Kawagoe. The main store and the Motomachi store are easy to visit while sightseeing in Kawagoe.
Kameya Kame Dora
Kameya also recommends “Kame Dora,” a turtle-shaped dorayaki.
The soft pancake-like texture of the dorayaki enhances the deliciousness of Kameya’s specialty sweet bean paste.
In addition to the standard “tsubu-an” and “koshi-an,” sesame-an and seasonal flavors are also available.
Kame-dora is only available at Kameya’s Motomachi store. It is a rare souvenir that can only be purchased at the store.
Its cute appearance makes it a perfect gift.
Kurazukuri Honpo Kurazukuri monaka Fukuzo
Founded in 1887 in Kawagoe. Kurazukuri Honpo” is a Japanese confectionery company with more than 40 stores in Saitama Prefecture.
Its signature product is “Kurazukuri Monaka Fukuzo,” which is well known to residents of Saitama Prefecture.
Measuring approximately 5.5 cm in length and width and 3 cm in thickness, the large monaka is very heavy to hold. Inside is not only red bean paste, but also rice cake.
The rich, sweet bean paste and the soft, fluffy rice cake are a perfect match. It is so big, but you can eat it easily.
Recommended for those with a sweet tooth and those who love Japanese sweets. It is also recommended as a gift to be scattered around.
It has a shelf life of 7 days, so it will keep for a long time.
Kawagoe kaho Dokan Dokan manju
Kawagoe Kasho Doukan was previously known for its sweet potato candy “Choujo-imo,” but this manju bearing the shop’s name is the most popular.
At first glance, it looks like an ordinary onsen manju, but it is characterized by the use of brown rice flour for the skin.
The sweet and savory flavor unique to brown rice flour and the sticky texture of the skin are the secret of its popularity.
The sweetness of the sweet bean paste inside is so mildly sweet that you will find yourself reaching for two or more.
There is a free rest area inside the shop, and we recommend eating the freshly made manju on the spot.
3 recommended confectioneries in Kawagoe
Kawagoe has a strong image of Japanese confectionaries, but there are also delicious Western-style confectionaries.
Here are three recommendations that I choose when I want to buy Western-style sweets as souvenirs.
Koedo Kawagoe Baumkuchen Norisuke’s Kawagoe Imo Baumkuchen
Norisuke-san, a specialty baumkuchen shop, opened in 2012.
The store is located in a corner of Koedo Yokocho, a sightseeing spot where you can eat and stroll.
The regular sweet potato flavored Baumkuchen has a new texture that makes a sizzling sound when you put it in your mouth.
You will find a new charm of Baumkuchen.
The whole size is reasonably priced at 500 yen.
Kameya Koedo Kawagoe Shoe
Kameya, a long-established Japanese confectionery shop, has focused on Western-style confections in recent years.
The Koedo-Kawagoe choux are cream puffs made by kneading purple sweet potato powder into the pastry dough to resemble sweet potatoes.
There are two kinds of cream puffs, one with sweet potato flavor and the other with purple sweet potato flavor, making it a sweet treat that is truly full of sweet potato.
The soft and smooth cream and reasonable size make them easy to eat and recommended as a souvenir or to eat while walking.
Kurazukuri Honpo Kawagoe Roman
This is another Western candy made by a Japanese candy shop.
This cheesecake is sold at “Kurazukuri Honpo”, which is famous for its “Kurazukuri Monaka Fukuzo”.
The cheesecake was inspired by the atmosphere of Taisho Roman Street, where many streets from the Taisho era still remain.
It has a nostalgic taste with a light and fluffy texture and a hint of lemon.
The moderate cheesiness and refreshing lemon flavor make it refreshing and addictive.
They can be stored at room temperature so you don’t have to worry about them spoiling even if you have to carry them around for a long time.