Kawagoe with Kids

Fun things to do with kids in this quaint Edo town

By Sherilyn Siy    - 3 min read

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.

Sweet potato treats
Sweet potato treats

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.

Donguri Republic Kawagoe Branch
Donguri Republic Kawagoe Branch

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.

Kashiya Yokochō
Kashiya Yokochō

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.

Trick Art Kawagoe
Trick Art Kawagoe

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.

Coedo bus loop
Coedo bus loop

Getting there

The places mentioned in this short guide are all within walking distance of 蔵造りの町並み, Kurazukuri no Machinami or Warehouse District of Kawagoe. This is about a 30 minute walk from Kawagoe Station or 20 minute walk from Hon-Kawagoe Station. Both stations are serviced by the Coedo tour bus.

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Sherilyn Siy

Sherilyn Siy @sherilyn.siy

For Sherilyn Siy, Asia is home. Born in Hong Kong, Sherilyn spent time in the Philippines, China, and now lives in Japan. She speaks English, Filipino, Chinese (or putonghua), and Hokkien, her family's local dialect. Running is one of her favorite ways to explore Japan. She proudly finished the 2015 Tokyo Marathon -- her first ever full marathon -- in 4 hours and 37 minutes. She was absolutely psyched when she got selected again to run the new Tokyo Marathon route in 2018. She hopes to complete other races in Japan. 

Join the discussion

Elizabeth S a month ago
I didn't know about the trick art museum. I'll be pointing my international visitors with kids there when they can come back to Japan.
Sleiman Azizi a month ago
You know, I had never considered Kawagoe as a place to take kids, but when you think about it, why not!
Sleiman Azizi a month ago
Ah, bada boom then.