Kawagoe’s Hikawa Jinja, separated from the main Omiya Hikawa Shrine over a century ago, is a great quaint location to end your day. As Kawagoe is an older town, many people visit the shrine wearing traditional Japanese clothing; foreigners can choose to wear a kimono or yukata for the day through countless rental shops nearby. The shrine is open from dawn until dusk, giving visitors plenty of time to pray, check out the ema and souvenirs, and take plenty of photos. Even on a rainy day, the shrine remains a staple attraction for foreigners and Japanese alike.
The best time to visit this Shinto Shrine is right as the sun starts to set, as lights encompassing the shrine illuminate and enhance the beauty of the structures, trees, and decorations. Edo furin, or wind chimes, that line the entrance and several other areas behind the shrine set a harmonious tone with their delicate sound. These colorful wind chimes accompanied with the evening lights also provide a great photo opportunity. As the shrine is well known for furin, a festival is held dedicated to them every year.
While many omikuji, a Japanese style of fortune-telling, are often chosen by drawing a stick, the fortunes at this shrine are a bit more playful. In several bins are different colored toy fish carrying omikuji in their tails. Those wanting to know about their future health and career attempt to fish red ones while pink and white fish hold love fortunes (very fitting since the place is known as a love shrine). For ¥300 you can try your luck as well as bring home a cute painted fish ornament. After praying, visitors can also write their personal wishes on an ema and hang them up among the endless collection left at the shrine.
Hikawa Jinja may not be as large as other Shinto Shrines in nearby Tokyo and the like, but it's charm and peaceful demeanor is what keeps visitors coming. The shrine is accessible from both Kawagoe Hon-Kawagoe Stations via the Tobu bus and then a five-minute walk. A well-sized parking lot is located right outside the shrine’s entrance for those traveling by car.