Kawagoe Train Stations
Kawagoe train stations: Kawagoe, in Saitama is served by three train stations: Hon Kawagoe Station, Kawagoe Station and Kawagoe-shi Station.
Kawagoe in Saitama Prefecture just north of Tokyo is always worth a trip. Be it for the historic town center known as Koedo (Little Edo), for the excellent eel restaurants, the many traditional sweet shops or the tasty locally brewed Koedo beer.
Kita-in Temple close to the old town is another attraction with its 500 Rakan (statues of early Buddha followers) and its Daruma Festival in early January. In October, the Kawagoe Matsuri, one of the biggest and most colorful traditional festivals in the Kanto area, takes place on the streets of historic Kawagoe.
Three Kawagoe Train Stations
From Tokyo, Kawagoe is in very easy reach by train. The city does feature the peculiarity, though, that it has three train stations - all of which feature the name Kawagoe: Hon Kawagoe Station, Kawagoe Station and Kawagoe-shi Station.
The stations form a sort of triangle south of the historic center. All are in walking distance from the old town but not all of them are interconnected by rail tracks.
Hon Kawagoe Station (本川越駅)
Hon Kawagoe Station, opened in 1895 and thus the oldest of the three Kawagoe stations, is closest to both the old town and Kita-in Temple. It is operated by Seibu Railways and serves as the terminus of the Seibu Shinjuku Line, connecting Kawagoe directly with Shinjuku. Not with the general Shinjuku Station, though, but with Seibu Shinjuku Station, a separate station located right next to the Kabukicho Entertainment District.
The Koedo Limited Express, running from Seibu Shinjuku Station to Hon Kawagoe, is the fastest connection from Tokyo to Kawagoe, covering the distance in a mere 46 minutes. En route, the Koedo Express makes a stop a Takadanobaba Station where it connects to the JR Yamanote Line. Please be aware that a seat reservation is necessary for the Koedo Express.
The Seibu Shinjuku Line offers also regular express, semi-express and local trains to Hon Kawagoe. No seat reservations are needed for those but needless to say, they are slower.
Hon Kawagoe Station is located only about 500 meters south of the historic center, right on the main road leading to it. Go towards the East Exit, pick up a local guide map available in a multitude of languages at the Tourist Information Office, then head out the East Exit, turn left and just keep walking. You will soon be right in the center of Koedo.
Hon Kawagoe Station itself is part of a rather new building complex combining the station with a department store and various other shopping outlets, collectively known as the PePe, The building complex also includes a Prince Hotel. The Prince Hotel chain, operating all over Japan, belongs to the Seibu Railway Company.
There is however no rail connection from Hon Kawagoe Station to either Kawagoe Station or Kawagoe-shi Station, the other two Kawagoe train stations. You have to leave Hon Kawagoe Station and either take a bus or walk to reach them.
Kawagoe Station 川越駅
Kawagoe Station, located a bit more than 1 kilometer south of the old town, is Kawagoe's busiest station. It is operated by two railway companies: JR East and Tobu.
The JR Station provides services all the way to Ozaki Station in Shinagawa (Saikyo Line) and Shin Kiba (Rinkai Line), both close to Tokyo Bay, as well as to Hachioji (Hachioji Line) and Omiya (Kawagoe Line).
The Tobu Station serves the Tobu Tojo Line, connecting to Ikebukuro in one direction and to Ogawamachi and Yorii (the latter being both in the Chichibu region) in the other. Since the start of the cooperation between Tobu Railways and Tokyo Metro, many trains formerly bound only for Ikebukuro now run through to Yokohama Motomachi-Chukagai (Yokohama Chinatown), Shibuya or Shin Kiba.
The Tobu Line part of the station features a large shopping outlet named Equia. Outside the East Exit of the station are further large department stores.
The Tobu part of the station also houses a Tourist Information Center, handing out the same assortment of maps available at Hon Kawagoe Station.
Kawagoe-shi Station 川越市駅
Kawagoe-shi Station is a small station on the Tobu Tojo Line in a rather quiet residential area northwest of Kawagoe Station. It serves as the terminus for most Tobu Tojo Line local trains arriving from Ikebukuro Station. Almost all Tobu Tojo Line express trains stop at Kawagoe-shi station as well.
Kawagoe-shi Station is only a well-marked 5 minute walk away from the West Exit of Hon Kawagoe Station.
Thus, if you plan to visit the old town of Kawagoe traveling on the Tobu Tojo Line, it's better to stay on the train until it reaches Kawagoe-shi Station. The walk to the old town is shorter from there than from Kawagoe Station.