【The First Vol.】 A Close Look at the “Kawagoe Exploration” with the Winning Pair of the “Japan Monitoring Trip”!
Collaborating with Seibu Railway and the Kawagoe City in Saitama prefecture, “Good Luck Trip” planned and advertised a very special program; “2 nights & 3 days Japan Monitoring Tour” for two people. In mid-December, the winning pair of the trip actually visited and explored the city and some of the members of our editing team accompanied the trip. In this article and the following one, we will give you reports and details about their fun trip.
Among the many applicants, two Taiwanese girls were the winners of the trip. Evita, who is very fluent in Japanese, is a “huge fan of Japan” and she has visited the country more than 40 times so far. On the other hand, Chin, looking very stylish in the hat, has visited Japan four times. For both of them, this was the very first time to visit Kawagoe and we could tell that they were so excited about it. We met with them in Seibu Shinjuku Station (Shinjuku, Tokyo). They were going to head to Kawagoe using Seibu railway that day to get ready for the next day.
＜The day before＞Seibu Railway
The first spot they visited was a ticket booth. Here they purchased the “SEIBU RAIL PASS”, a special Round Trip Ticket between Shinjuku and Hon-Kawagoe only for international travelers. This is a discount ticket that allows you to travel between the two stations for only 700 JPY instead of the 1,000 JPY that it would cost otherwise.
The design of the tickets looks like charms given at shrines in Japan. They will make good souvenirs of the trip.
After receiving the rail passes, they moved onto the platform. Those who have the “SEIBU RAIL PASS” are required to go through a staffed gate instead of an automated ticket gate.
Given that Seibu Shinjuku Station is the starting station for trains, it is very likely that you will see a train waiting for passengers. This is a good chance for a photo opportunity in front of the train.
On the train and off we go! It is about an hour ride to the destination. Enjoy the views from the windows.
Finally, they arrived at the Hon-Kawagoe station. Again, rail pass holders are required to go through a staffed gate. This is where we said good-bye to the girls for that day. They entered their hotel next to the station smiling and saying that they were so excited for the next day.
＜At 9:40 a.m.＞CO-EDO LOOP BUS
Finally, the day of exploration! We got together with the girls in front of the Hon-Kawagoe station to head out for a tour of the city. The CO-EDO LOOP BUS was chosen as the transportation of the day (the bus leaves from the E2 bus stop; if you stand in front of the Hon-Kawagoe station, you will see it on the left side). This is a local bus line that goes through all the famous tourist spots in the area. Conveniently, all of their bus stops are located within a minute’s walk from tourist destinations. What’s more, their bus is a classical “bonnet” design that matches perfectly well with the historical townscape in the area. Being on the bus, you will feel the rich history of the city. Exit the Hon-Kawagoe station, and the bus stop is right in front.
The bus fare is 180 JPY for one ride. A day pass is also available for 500 JPY. If you are going to visit multiple places, it is more reasonable to get the day pass. The girls purchased the day pass from the bus driver and seated themselves on the bus. Bon voyage!
＜9:50a.m.＞Visiting Kitain Temple
The first stop of the day was the“Kitain Temple”. This is a temple that once had frequent associations with the Tokugawa Family; the Shogun clan that governed during the Edo period. There is much to see here as many of their buildings are designated as important cultural properties.
【Address】 1-20-1 Kosenba-machi, Kawagoe City
First of all, let’s pray for a safe trip.
The beautiful fall-colors were visible throughout the temple grounds that day. It was a breath-taking view for the girls unique to Japan.
＜10:30 a.m.＞Make a wish for a happy relationship at Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine
The next stop they made was the Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine, which is said to have been established approximately 1,500 years ago. The shrine is famous for its “God of Matchmaking” and it continues to attract many women who are in search of happy romantic relationships.
【Address】 2-11-3 Miyashita-cho, Kawagoe City
For the girls, this was a perfect spot to wish for their own happy relationships though they kept their current relationship statuses secret.
After praying, the girls then tried ”Omikuji” in a goldfish scooping style. Omikuji is a unique form of fortune telling in Japan with future predictions written on a piece of paper which you pick at random.
They did not reveal to us what was written on their omikuji, but their smiles told us they found good news.
At temples, you can also make a wish by writing down your prayer on an “Ema (votive picture of horse)”. It is then tied up in a designated area called “Emasho”. This is another unique wish-making custom in Japan.
In addition, the girls also tried “Ningyo-Nagashi”. This is a ritual which transfers your misfortunes or impurities, whether health issues or something else, to a paper doll that is thrown into water so that the problems will be removed.
Happy with their wishes for happy relationships, the girls then moved on to the star attraction of the Kawagoe exploration; visiting historical warehouses.