Kawagoe Kita-in (Kita Temple) Kawagoe – One of my favorite local places to bring visitors in Autumn (with or without young children) is Kita-in Temple in Kawagoe (Saitama). On the grounds of Kitain there is a very special building, which is home to some important national treasures. It is the only remains of the Edo Castle living quarters. When they were rebuilding Kitain after a fire completely destroyed it, the Shogun Iemitsu ordered the transport of some of the rooms from his Edo Castle. They were transported by boat along the Arakawa and Shingashi Rivers, presumably through Sembagashi. The current building were completed in 1640 and is a Nationally Important Cultural Building.
Autumn Leaves at Kawagoe Kita-in
The building is both beautiful and fascinating, but the gardens are truly breathtaking. Particularly in Autumn. Throughout the year there are some truly beautiful scenes to be captured around the temple and the Edo Castle remains, but it is like the gardens were designed especially to awe in Autumn. Quite possibly they were! Unfortunately, most of my photos were only taken with a camera phone, but they will give you a taste of what is on offer.
The building is a museum of sorts, and you have to pay to enter. The ticket also grants you access to the 500 statues of Rakan. There, children can take part in a treasure hunt of sorts. You can’t enter the gardens, but you can enjoy the view from the terrace of the historic house.
With just a smart phone as a camera, you can’t quite see the beautiful red bridge, but in person the view is truly breathtaking. Red bridges have always been synonmous with Japan for me, but it is actually quite rare to see one. If you are in Kawagoe in Autumn, I would recommend paying in to see the gardens and the imperial rooms of the Edo castle at Kitain. Visitors from home always enjoy a trip to Kitain, particularly when the leaves have changed colour in the first or second week of November.
Kitain with kids
For those with children, there is a small playground on the temple grounds and lots of places for the children to explore. There is also rest areas, a toilet, vending machines, a little restaurant and a small shop. To the best of my knowledge none of the toilets have nappy changing facilities.
Kawagoe Kita-in Temple Information
Address : 1-20-1 Kosemba-machi, Kawagoe City, Saitama Prefecture. 350-0036
Hours : 9:00 – 16:00
Kitain Kawagoe is less than an hour from Tokyo. It is a 20 minute walk from Kawagoe Station on the Tobu Tojo Line or 15 minutes from the Seibu Shinjuku Line HonKawagoe Station. You can also get a local bus from either of these stations. By car it is 20 minutes from either the Kawagoe Interchange of the Kanetsu Expressway or from the Kawajima Interchange of the Metropolitan Intercity (Ken-O) Expressway. Parking is available at 500 yen for the day. The car park closes at 16.00.
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: https://www.kawagoe.com/kitain/english/
In Japanese: https://www.kawagoe.com/kitain/
There are some spectacular Autumn Leave photos on their website; https://www.kawagoe.com/kitain/information/annual-events/1201.html
More on Kitain on this blog:
- Kitain Temple Daruma Festival | KAWAGOE
- Setsubun: catching beans for good luck at Kitain Temple | KAWAGOE
- Cherry blossom festival at Kitain Temple
If you want to see some yellows, a few minutes walk from Kawagoe Kita-in Temple there are some gingko trees at Ukishima Inari Shrine.