Takasaki is famous for Daruma and for the largest and most popular Daruma market in Japan, but it is not the only place you can buy the popular talisman. The Kitain Temple Daruma Festival has also become well known over the years. It is held on the same day as a purification ceremony and between the two they attract thousands of people to the temple from all over the Greater Tokyo Area.
The Daruma doll has become a popular symbol of New Year’s and on the 3rd of January every year you can see people walking around Kawagoe holding Daruma that were too large to conceal in packaging. You can be sure there are plenty more people holding Daruma in their bags of shopping. The queues quite literally go out of the temple grounds and that is saying something as the grounds are quite grand as it is.
On this day people also discard old Daruma which are traditionally burned for good luck at the end of the year. You can see piles and piles of Daruma waiting for the burning ritual.
Kitain Temple is generally very busy all over New Year’s as it is a popular place to conduct New Year rituals and traditions. There is quite a bit to see at Kitain Temple, including the 500 statues of Rakan and visiting the only remains of the Edo Castle, Shogun Iemitsu’s birthplace:
Featured image from:
“Daruma dolls”. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Daruma_dolls.jpg#/media/File:Daruma_dolls.jpg
Map “details” (the grey box) below.
Access from Kawagoe Station
Koedo Kawagoe bus one day pass allows you unlimited travel on the Koedo Kawagoe buses. It costs 300 yen. In the bus they have a monitor with sightseeing information. Some tourist places give discounts on souvenirs or entrance tickets to people with a one day pass.
Koedo Meguri (Loop) Bus from Kawagoe station. You can buy a one day pass that allows you unlimited travel on the Meguri Bus. It stops at 16 different locations. 104 different shops, offer discount services such as souvenirs, food, and entrance fees to facilities for holders of this day pass. There are announcements in English and Chinese as well as Japanese so foreigners can feel at ease.
More information here:
Kawagoe Access by train from Tokyo and Omiya
- 31 minutes from Ikebukuro on a express train on the Tobu Tojo Line. 470 yen
- 44 minutes from Seibu Shinjuku on a Red Arrow Limited Express. 420 yen for the express ticket, plus base fare.
- 66 minutes from Shinjuku or 62 minutes from Takadanobaba on Seibu Shinjuku Line. You can buy one round trip ticket for 700 yen for either of those stations.
- 54 minutes from JR Shinjuku on a rapid train of the Saikyo/Kawagoe line. 760 yen.
- 28 minutes on a regular train from Omiya on the Saikyo/Kawagoe Line or 22 minutes on the rapid train.
- The Fukutoshin and Yurakucho subways connect to the Tobu Tojo line at Wako-shi. Some of them go all the way to Kawagoe (and beyond) too.
Access by Car
About 21 kilometres from Nerima to Kawagoe using the Kanetsu Expressway. The toll for the expressway is about 840 yen.
About 40 kilometres from Hinode using the Ken-o highway. The toll is about 1400 yen.
For more information about Kitain Temple and all it has to offer:
In English: http://www.kawagoe.com/kitain/english/
In Japanese: http://www.kawagoe.com/kitain/
On this blog in English: