13-2 Kubochuo, Kawagoe City, Saitama
It's near the road entrance to Kitain Temple. It's not hard to find Kitain from anywhere in Kawagoe.
Shodo Ramen, in my "home town" of Kawagoe. I'd never been there before, actually, my culinary expertise of Kawagoe was limited to only a couple spots.
- There was the Jamaican Okonomiyaki place near my apartment. This place was out in the cuts, and you are guaranteed to be meeting some locals there. The master has dreads down his back, and about 300 reggae discs.
- A spicy Indian place called Pao's that opened not long before I left.
- A smoky, loud yakitori place that I went to almost every Saturday night after work. The つくね was the best I've had. Plenty of hearts, livers, and cartilage to satisfy the Japanese people in your group.
- Countless lunch spots too, but those are mostly chosen because of the availability of caffeine. The Italian chain restaurants that played country western pop hits had shitty food, but you could have as many mochas as you wanted. Caffeine + Kids + Kanchos = a great way to start the afternoon.
Shodo earns it's #17 rank. You'll see the walls covered with magazine articles and TV spots touting it as a spot to go. The owner speaks English and his dream is to open a sister shop in Manhattan by 2015. The menu is kind of complicated, but thats cause it is just extra wordy. There are explanations of the broth, meats, toppings, and of course the noodles. I had the standard ぶたそば, pork ramen. The noodles for this one are thin with a lot of bite. Also on the menu is つけそば, with big thick noodles to dip in the broth. If you're hungry, get extra pork, it was hit with an extra roasting before being served to give it some flavor.
Kawagoe, the tour. Step one, make sure you know where the station is to get your train back into Tokyo.
いちばんがい is the main historic street in Kawagoe. Unfortunately, it's a major thoroughfare. One street over is a road closed to traffic... with nothing on it. If they had left ichiban gai for feet only, it would have been a good thing. Oh well. Enjoy almost getting hit by diesel trucks on your leisurely stroll.
There are a lot of old blackened warehouses here. Most of them sell traditional gifts. This is THE place to go for your "from Japan" souvenirs. Lots of cafes and snacks and tourists.
かしやよこちょ, Candy Alley, is cute. Only on a weekend or holiday though. Any other time and it's empty. 30 or so little mom and pop candy shops.
I think there is some sort of loop bus that goes to all these sights, called the Koedo Loop Bus, but I've never been on it. It's all walking distance. Besides, you've been eating too much ramen lately, so get some exercise ya bum.
Bean shops. There is an abundance of bean shops in this city. I used to pass by at least four on my ride to work. Bring your old Japanese friends some beans from Kawagoe and they will be happy. Old people like things like that. Old people don't like robots.
ときのかね... the Clock Tower of Time. Everything "Kawagoe" has this thing on it. Bags for your souvenirs? They've got the tower. Sweet Potato beer? It's got the tower on the label. Sewer grates? You bet.
きたいん is the big temple area in town. Theres a couple things to see here, like the 500 Rakan statues. If it's your first time here, you can tour the facilities, see the traditional garden, and get up close to the statues. I'm cheap so I'll settle for looking through the gate.
If you are visiting Kawagoe, why not enter some sort of video competition? Don't ask me, cause I have no clue what is going on here. 1st prize is $5000 I think. Damn, time to be like this little girl and start taking some cell phone videos. I need to get paid!
There's more info about Kawagoe here.