Cover photo with wind chimes for the 2022 information about the enmusubi wind chimes at Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine e

2024 Information for the annual “enmusubi” wind chimes and glistening river at Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine. This year is the ten year anniversary of the famous wind chimes.

The Enmusubi Wind Chimes at Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine are generally displayed from the first weekend of July to the first week in September. They follow the lesser known pinwheel event. They have confirmed the dates for 2024 – from Saturday July 6th to Sunday September 8th. I have visited the wind chimes every year since their inception in 2014 and every year there is something different. Check out what was new last year (2023) below.

tunnel of wind chimes at Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine
You will see lots of people wearing yukata to this event

For example, the colors of the wind chimes have changed over the years. In addition, they added bamboo displays a few years into the event. Then they started lighting up the wind chimes at night and before the pandemic they added a glistening river . In 2019 they added the koi akari “love light balls”, which you can purchase as an amulet to take home. Moreover, the size of the display has grown over the years too. They also now leave one area of pinwheels up when the wind chime is on. Furthermore, they change the color of them frequently. An event worth going back to, time and time again!

Wind chimes Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine 2024

The Wind chimes will be displayed once again at Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine in the summer of 2024. It was one of the few events that took place annually despite the pandemic. However, in both 2020 and 2021 Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine were unable to host the glistening river element of the event, due to prefecture guidelines. But it is back since 2022 along with night light up and the glowing love balls. For the occasion, the precincts will open until 8 pm during the period of the wind chimes. So, don a yukata and head to Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine for a summer evening to remember!

Since 2021 they also keep up one section of the pinwheels, pictured above. They are in the courtyard opposite the stone torii, which was the main car park for the shrine until 2021! Moreover, in 2023…

New since 2023

Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine 2023 new section at the wind chime event
New in 2023

In 2023, the ‘something new’ was another beautiful pinwheel section. This one is along the path to the large orange torii. There are two different colors of pinwheels – a creamy white and a blue-white combination. I think they really pop in front of the orange torii.


Candy cane wind chime festival at Naritsan Kawagoe

>>Exclusive to In Saitama: there is also another wind chime display in Kawagoe, that is lesser known. Check it out here if you prefer a quieter spot and want somewhere that isn’t all over social media!!


Enmusubi Wind Chimes

In 2015

Initially, there were 888 wind chimes for the inaugural event in 2014. In Japan, 888 is considered an “angel number”. And Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine is famous for its power in love matches. For the first event 888 wind chimes were used to promote luck in love. When I visited that year, 2014, the air was so dead, the wind chimes were lifeless. But in 2015 and every year since I have visited on a windy day and enjoyed the soothing sounds of the wind chimes. Nowadays there are normally 2000 wind chimes displayed, including the main tunnel with the 888 chimes.

Wind chimes at Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine
The “ema” (wooden plaques for writing prayers) of Hikawa shrine wind chimes

Enmusubi means marriage or as in this case “marriage ties”. Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine is renowned for bestowing blessings in matters related to family fulfillment, perfect match couples and, as you might have guessed, marriage! People who are looking to meet a partner and / or to have a good marriage come to this shrine for a blessing.

The wind chimes initially attracted about 100,000 visitors to the shrine in the first couple of years after its inception in 2014. By 2017 that number had tripled. Before the pandemic the locals were saying around 1,000,000 people had visited. I well believe it as I visit it often and it is always busy during the enmusubi wind chime period. Other times of the year that it is particularly busy is New Years and during the 7-5-3 festival.


Glistening River

Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine nightscape
The river is lit up at night and called the “glistening river” during the wind chimes event.

The “glistening river” Hikaru Kawa uses projection mapping and dry ice to create the image of the Milky Way. During the period that the chimes are on display you can visit the shrine until 9 pm 8pm (in 2022 and 2023) at night. They light up the small river and chimes from around 7 pm in a regular year, but since the pandemic they turn them on at dusk. Truthfully, the glistening river is a lot more popular than the wind chimes at night, so it requires some patience to wait your turn to get a photo of the river aglow!

Floating dolls at Kawagoe HIkawa Shrine

You can purchase a paper doll to float down the glistening river, by day or by night. The ritual is called “Hitogata nagashi” in Japanese. The river has the shinto shide and shimenawa that indicates this river is believed to have a deity. And the act of sending the doll down the river is a purification ritual to release you from your sins.

Here is an account and many more photos of the “glistening river”, the wind chimes, the love light balls and the shrine at night:


Tanabata

Tanabata at Kawagoe Hikawa Jinja

I used to recommend visiting on August 7th, which is when Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine celebrate their Tanabata festival too. (Some places celebrate on July 7th). During this time you can also see beautiful colour strips on bamboo displays. However, as word as gotten around, the shrine can become very congested during the tanabata festival! If you are not good with crowds, I would now say to avoid the shrine on August 7th!

Don’t forget…!

An English language "omikuji" paper fortunate at Kawagoe Hikawa SHrine

It is customary to pray at a shrine if you are visiting. And at the very least offer a contribution into the prayer box. You can also contribute to the shrine by buying either an amulet, shrine seal, floating doll, glowing love light ball or paper fortunes. They even have English paper fortunes at Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine.


Information

Event: Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine Enmusubi Wind Chimes 2024 川越氷川神社 縁むすび風鈴

Date: Saturday July 6th to Sunday September 8th 2024

Time: 9 am until either 8 or 9 pm daily. Before the pandemic it was 9 pm, but since 2020 it has been 8 pm. I confirmed the dates for 2024, but they haven’t confirmed the times yet. Please note that the wind chimes are often taken down early on a very windy day or when a typhoon is forecasted.

Cost: there is no admission fee, but it is customary to put a donation in the prayer box. Five yen is the most common because a five yen is considered lucky.

Venue: Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine, 2-11-3 Miyashitamachi, Kawagoe, Saitama 350-0052. Map below access.

Access

By car

Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine is off route 254 close to where it merges with route 16. Please note there is no longer a parking lot at Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine. The old dai ni car park still exists, but it is now run by a separate entity and is charged. It costs 100 yen for half an hour.

By public transport

Kawagoe station is only 29 minutes from Ikebukuro on the Tobu Tojo Line. From Shinjuku it takes about 45 minutes to Kawagoe station on the Seibu Shinjuku line. Up to date routes and fares are available on hyperdia.com. You can walk from Hon-kawagoe or Kawagoe stations along a tourist route, it takes about 25 to 35 minutes. You can also get a tourist bus and alight at the shrine’s bus stop.

Information for Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine’s Enmusubi Wind Chimes first appeared on Saitama With Kids blog pages in 2014 and was moved to the events section in 2017. It was moved back to the blog side when the events calendar closed in September 2021. Updated annually and republished every couple of years. R3.2022.05.19. R4.2023.06.08

2 Comments

  1. how to go saitama Ken. Only for injoy or relax. Pls give me good suggestion.

    1. Author

      Hi, thank you for your comment. There is so much to do in Saitama – it depends largely on your interests. Also, what time of year? By public transport or by car? Overnight or just day trip?

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