Travel | Feb 20

Kawagoe: A Popular Stopover for International Tourists

TOKYO, Feb 20 (News On Japan) - Foreign tourists visiting Kawagoe City, Saitama Prefecture, known as "Little Edo," have surged to about 6.2 times the number of the previous year.

The town is bustling with international visitors, drawn by the allure of unexplored Japanese food. Kawagoe, with its Edo-period ambiance and warehouse-style streets, is a proud showcase of this cultural heritage.

Visitor from the USA: "It's very beautiful, and I think it's a good place for Americans."

Visitor from Thailand: "It's a very good feeling. It's exciting and a very clean country."

The number of foreign tourists in Kawagoe had been on the rise before the pandemic. However, after the easing of border measures, the number of international visitors has dramatically increased.

Last year, the number of foreign tourists rose by about 6.2 times from the previous year, significantly surpassing the previous record set before the pandemic. So, why do they choose Kawagoe?

Masashi Tokuda, Kawagoe City Tourism Division: "After landing at Narita or Haneda airports, Kawagoe is often chosen as a stopover on group tours to destinations like Karuizawa and Mount Fuji."

Just an hour by train from Tokyo's Shinjuku district, Kawagoe is now a popular stopover for tourists.

The sound of the bell echoing through the town is from the Time Bell Tower, a symbol of reconstruction.

Visitor from Taiwan: "I felt a lot of history."

The Time Bell Tower, a symbol of Little Edo Kawagoe since the early Edo period, has become a popular spot for foreigners to take photos.

Inside a restaurant in Little Edo Kawagoe, 100% of the seats are filled with foreign visitors.

Yuuji Kobayashi, Manager of Unagi Denbei: "Sometimes when I look around the restaurant, 100% of the customers are from overseas."

Among the foreign tourists enjoying Japanese cuisine, a repeat visitor from the USA was seen holding a sweet potato delicacy.

Visitor from the USA: "The ones in the USA are thicker. The ones in Japan are very thin, so I prefer these."

Sweet potato snacks come in many variations, such as brulee and honey butter, and these sweet potato treats seem to be popular.

Masashi Tokuda, Kawagoe City Tourism Division: "We recognize that the way people travel has changed, and as COVID-19 becomes more distant this year and next, we need to observe how their behavior changes."

Source: ANN


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