A new popular spot in Kawagoe to make the wishes of visitors come true
A fun festival started in Kawagoe City, Saitama Prefecture, only 30 minutes by Tobu Railway from Ikebukuro, a subcenter of Tokyo. The city is known by the nickname of “Ko-Edo” because the scenery of the Edo period (from 17th to 19th century) still remains there. The festival named “Enmusubi Fūrin” (held from July 9 to August 31 in 2016) is held for 2 months in summer at the Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine which has 1,500 years of history. This festival was started in 2015 by the Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine, which is worshipped as a matchmaking god, hoping that the wishes of visitors would be heard by god. It has become very popular as a festival where you can enjoy the atmosphere of summer.
In Kawagoe City, you can enjoy the scenery of old town, including “Ichiban Shotengai”, a shopping street where warehouse-style merchant houses stand in a row, and Kashiya Yokocho where shops selling local sweets and mom and pop candy stores stand next to each other. You can experience Japanese culture while taking a stroll. The city is also famous for its scenery that matches people in kimono and it made the 18th of every month “Kimono-no-hi” ( kimono day) giving a variety of benefits to visitors wearing a kimono, including a discount ticket for an art museum. There are rental kimono shops where English is available, so you should try walking around the city in kimono.
After you fully enjoy Kawagoe City, we recommend that you return to Ikebukuro and go to “SPICE” for dinner, a restaurant mall in the Ikebukuro Store of the Tobu Department Store. “SPICE” is popular because it has one of the widest varieties of cuisines in Tokyo from authentic Japanese food to pasta and Asian cuisines all of which you can easily enjoy. The view from the upper floor about 100 meters above the ground (about 328 feet) is also one of the reasons for its popularity.
Travel a little further from the World Heritage Site and visit Oku-Nikko which is surrounded by impressive nature
The Shrines and Temples of Nikko, a World Heritage Site which includes the popular Nikko Toshogu Shrine, are easily accessible being located a little less than 2 hours by the Limited Express SPACIA from Tobu Asakusa Station. The shrines and temples making up the World Heritage Site are attractive, but if you go a little further by bus from Tobu Nikko Station, you can fully experience beautiful nature, which is another appeal of Nikko.
With the “ALL NIKKO PASS”, a set including a train ticket to Nikko and a bus ticket from Tobu Nikko Station to Oku-Nikko Yumoto Onsen, you can get discounts and enjoy a convenient trip. You can get on and off the bus freely, so you can easily visit tourist spots including Chuzenji lakeside and Kegon Waterfall.
The first famous spot that you see on your bus trip from Tobu Nikko Station is “Irohazaka Winding Road”, an uphill road which climbs to 400 meters (about 1,443 feet) from bottom to top. The thrilling experience of driving along a series of steep curves and rich nature with deep and light green seen from the windows will be an unforgettable moment for you. This spot is also popular for beautiful autumn foliage.
Lake Chuzenji, which is about 40 minutes away from Tobu Nikko Station, is a lake located 1,200 meters above sea level (about 3,937 feet), the highest among all the lakes in Japan. The average temperature of this area is around 20℃ even in summer and it is one of the most comfortable places in Nikko to spend summer.
Because of this climate and beautiful lakeside scenery, resort villas of embassies of Western countries and diplomats were built one after another around Lake Chuzenji from the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century, and it became famous as an international summer resort that world-class VIPs visited. Currently, the resort villa of the former Italian Embassy is open to public and the former British Embassy villa will open to public for the first time from July 1, 2016. A café where you can enjoy authentic afternoon tea with the view of Lake Chuzenji is also going to open.
Water cascades down 97 meters (about 318 feet) at the Kegon Waterfall, which is a 5 minute walk from Chuzenji Onsen bus stop. The view of the basin from the waterfall viewing deck accessible by elevator is extremely impressive.
A marshland where even the inexperienced can walk, and a secluded place that anyone can visit
Catch a bus again from Lake Chuzenji and go further to Oku-Nikko surrounded by rich nature. You will get to Sanbonmatsu bus stop in about 15 minutes and Senjogahara Marshland, a vast marshland registered under the Ramsar Convention, spreads out from just 1 minute from the bus stop. 350 kinds of alpine plants including cotton grass and Spiraea salicifolia grow naturally in Senjogahara and it is also known as a place where many wild birds fly over to visit. There is a well-maintained wooden walkway, so it is easy to walk in and even novice hikers can enjoy walking. You can experience a fun stroll in nature that takes about 2 hours.
Oku-Nikko is located on a hill over 1,200 meters high (about 3,937 feet). It is a quiet area surrounded by mountains and has been selected as one of the “100 secluded areas in Japan” in a travel magazine. Yumoto area, which is the last stop reached in about 10 minutes from Sanbonmatsu bus stop, has Yumoto Onsen and Kotoku Onsen that are said to have been discovered in 788 and you can enjoy hot spring with an ample supply of water and local gourmet food.
Among all the hotels, Nikko Astraea Hotel is the only resort hotel in this area. The grand nature of Oku-Nikko around the hotel is kept as it is and you can immerse yourself in the beauty of nature to your heart’s content.
“ALL NIKKO PASS” is also valid in Kinugawa Onsen area, a famous Onsen resort. You can also return to Tobu Nikko Station after enjoying Senjogahara Marshland, change trains at Shimo-Imaichi Station to go to Kinugawa Onsen Station and fully enjoy hot spring experience there.
After you return from Oku-Nikko and Kinugawa, we recommend finishing off your trip in Tokyo with shopping in Tokyo Skytree Town. “Tokyo Solamachi”, a lively shopping complex, is directly connected to Tokyo Skytree Station that the Limited Express SPACIA stops. It has an aquarium, a planetarium and over 300 stores including ones that carry popular Japanese traditional crafts and goods, the most trendy fashion items, sweets and restaurants. There are stores specializing in popular character goods and collaboration shops of games and magazines where you can buy unique souvenirs. They provide services including duty-free procedure, baggage storage and delivery to your hotel, so you can enjoy relaxing shopping with your hands free.
Use the discount ticket of Tobu Railway to discover the new wonders of tourist spots easily accessible from Tokyo and fill your trip in Japan with more memories!