Kawagoe may not be the first place you think of when you are planning a day out with the kids, but this quaint town that was commercially important to Edo (present day Tokyo) has some things that will charm, amuse, and entertain you and your children.
Look for your favorite sweet potato treat. Kawagoe is home to some of the highest quality tubers. From gracefully long chips to bright yellow grilled sweet potato onigiri, to soft cream, try them all to discover your family's favorite.
Shop at Donguri Republic. If your children have watched any of the Studio Ghibli films, they will go gaga over the wide range of official Ghibli merchandise. My kids were intrigued by the No Face Kaonashi piggy bank, from the movie Spirited Away. When coins are placed on the red plate held by No Face, he opens his mouth and pours the contents into his mouth. I coveted the Noritake tea sets printed with Totoro. Don't forget to take a souvenir photo of Totoro's bus stop at the shop entrance.
Satisfy your sweet tooth at Kashiya Yokochō. For decades, this small alley has churned out Japanese confectionary such as chitose ame, kintaro ame, and karintou. About 20 shops remain, delighting children and the young at heart. You will find traditional and commercial sweets, many of which retail for less than ¥100. This small stone-paved street is one of the few placed you are expected to stroll and eat.
Have some three dimensional fun at the Trick Art Museum. Housed within a two-story old-style Edo residence, this interactive museum has an amazing number of stereoscopic and anamorphic art work packed into a small space. Kids can enjoy figuring out what the intended effect should be and then thinking up silly poses to strike. I can almost guarantee that the photos you will take will be among those that your kids will enjoy looking at and talking about again and again.
Take the Coedo Loop Bus. Your kids will want to take this groovy retro style bus to match the nostalgic atmosphere of Kawagoe. The bus moves a bit more slowly than a regular bus and the friendly driver takes the time to describe points of interest along the route. For only ¥200 a ride, just slightly more than the regular bus fare, taking this bus either to or from the train station should be part of your child-friendly itinerary.