Category Archives: Top 5 Day Trips

It’s all a matter of opinion, of course, but here’s our Top 5. Want to nominate a better one? Email us!

Mt. Fuji – Kawaguchiko Fifth Station

Mount Fuji, a nearly perfect volcanic cone rising to an altitude of 3,776 meters (12,388 feet), is Japan’s highest peak and a UNESCO World Heritage site. The mountain is famous for being the world’s second highest free-standing mountain, second to Mount Kilimanjaro of Africa. Its northern base is adorned with five lakes making it ideal for year-round recreation. Fuji1

Want to climb Mt. Fuji? Awesome! Get ready for an experience that you will never forget. The official climbing season is from July through August. During the hiking season, mountain huts (stations) are open, offering water, souvenirs, rest, and bathrooms for a small fee throughout the climb. Before climbing Mt Fuji, you can opt to purchase a hiking stick for ¥1000-1200. At each station along the climb, you can get a stamp on your stick for ¥200-500. Keep in mind, the higher you climb, the more expensive things become. Bathrooms cost ¥100-200 per use.

Fuji2The most popular climbing route begins at Lake Kawaguchi. However, climbers often begin their ascent at the Kawaguchiko Fifth Station (2305 meters). Do approach the hike prepared and with caution, as this is an extreme physical and mental challenge. To learn more about climbing this mammoth volcano, don’t hesitate to visit Yokota Outdoor Recreation. There are many experienced guides who have climbed Mt. Fuji more times than they can count and have a wealth of knowledge to share. You can also find an information booklet and a safety slideshow on their website. If you are looking for a pre-planned trip, Outdoor Recreation also offers many Mt. Fuji Mountaineering trips throughout the climbing season starting at $40. Fuji4

Have small children, or don’t want to climb? No problem. The Kawaguchiko Fifth Station offers various souvenir shops, ice cream, restaurants and bathrooms for those who want to visit the mountain, even if they’re not climbing. While at the Fifth Station, be sure to check out the Komitake Shrine, hidden behind the shops and don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the amazing views.

Please note that access is limited to the Mount Fuji 5th Station during peak periods. During these periods, vehicles are required to park at the Fujihokuroku parking area for ¥1000. From here, you can take a 50 minute shuttle bus ride to the 5th Station. Roundtrip bus fare is ¥1800 per adult and ¥900 per child. Contact the Fujikyu Yamanashi Bus for more information. GPS 35.394173, 138.732847. – Michelle Nexon, July 2013.

TRAIN DIRECTIONS: To get to the Kawaguchiko Fifth Station, take the JR Chuo/Ome Line from Fussa to Tachikawa. Switch to the JR Chuo Line Rapid Service to Takao. At Takao, switch to the JR Chuo Line. In approximately 45 minutes, you will arrive at Otsuki. At Otsuki, switch to the Fujikyu Railway. After approximately 60 minutes, you will arrive at Kawaguchiko Station. At Kawaguchiko Station, you can purchase a round trip bus ticket to the Kawaguchi Fifth Station for approximately ¥2000. One way on the bus takes approximately 50 minutes.

See all entries for Fuji and the Five Lakes area.

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Shosenkyo Gorge

Shosenkyo by sarah straus Shosenkyo Gorge runs through forested slopes and dramatic rock formations. It is one of the most scenic river valleys in Japan. You can walk along the gorge, on a narrow road that is closed to traffic on Saturdays and Sundays from May 1 to November 30.  Enter this scenic walk from the parking lot located at gps coordinates: 35.72617,138.54987. The paved road is shady and runs at a slight incline along the river.  There are bathrooms about two kilometers in and three pedestrian bridges over the river.  At about four kilometers there are bathrooms again, a great little open air restaurant where you can enjoy the view of waterfalls while you have a snack, and three picnic tables just off the road.  shosenkyo gorge sarah strausFrom the picnic tables climb over the rocks to get a close up view of the falls.  There is a horse drawn carriage ride back to the parking lot that starts here during the weekend every hour from 10am until 5pm.  But don’t stop here!  Continue up the path along the river for the most dramatic rock formations and largest waterfalls, including one huge fall at the top.  This section of the river reminds me of Yosemite!  Climb the long stairway to the top of the largest waterfall and find more places to eat or get ice cream.  Go through the few businesses there and you’ll find yourself in a little town.  From this town there is a ropeway up another portion of the mountain.  I believe that there is parking available in this town if you wanted to do a shorter version of this adventure – parking closer to the largest waterfalls.  The entire path is stroller friendly until the stairs at the end.  Carriage rides cost ¥1500 for adults, ¥500 for children.  Bring you camera!  If you are coming in the fall, see the Yaminashi Grapes entry.  The signs directing visitors to the gorge are all in English.
Shosenkyo gorge sarah strausDIRECTIONS: Exit from Fussa Gate and turn left on Route 16 South to Hachioji. At Hachioji, get on the Chuo Expressway.(Do not take the the Hachioji Bypass.) Once on the expressway two signs will appear; one for Shinjuku and the other for Nagoya. Take the road to Nagoya. Stay on the Chuo until Otsuki. (Toll: ¥1300.) Take the Otsuki exit and that will lead to Highway 20. Turn right and stay on Highway 20. The Yaminashi grapes will be straight ahead; no turns, no confusion.  To get to the gorge, continue along Highway 20 as it passes through the outskirts of Kofu. Soon you’ll see signs for “Shosenkyo.” There are several. All will take you to the right, passing under the Chuo Expressway, to a winding road called Shosenkyo Line. It’ll take you right to the gorge parking lot. Fee: ¥1000. GPS for Shosenkyo Gorge parking:  35.72617,138.54987.
Shosenkyo gorge by Joel straus-001DIRECTIONS UPDATE: When I went to see the gorge, I followed the directions above which are really meant to take you by the Yaminashi Grapes first.  If you are not going to see the grapes, then I suggest you stay on the Chuo much further, getting off in the large city of Kofu.  We followed the directions above to get there (they worked great, just long) and followed the Chuo tollway route suggested by our GPS to get home.  Taking the Chuo most of the way instead of following Highway 20 took approximately 30 minutes off our total drive time, but cost us an extra ¥1100 in tolls.  It took us 2 1/2 hours to get to the Shosenkyo – and it was worth it.  I’d do it again! – Sarah Straus, May 2013. Photos by Sarah Straus and Linda Bell.



Lake Okutama and Dam, Sarah StrausOkutama Lake and Dam
If you’re looking for a relaxing afternoon in the mountains, then Lake Okutama is for you. Surrounded by hills, the lake is a reservoir providing water and electricity for Tokyo.  Take a walk across the massive dam and enjoy the museums.  Spring usually arrives at Lake Okutama about mid-April. In the summertime, driving in the mountains provides welcome relief from the heat. For New England-style color, take the trip in autumn. Should you decide to brave the elements in the winter months, take tire chains and be prepared for icy roads.  In addition to simply enjoying the beauty of the area and the walk across the dam, there are two free museums on location that are worth checking out.  There is one tiny museum on the dam itself located in the second of two towers rising above the walkway.  It is open 10am-4pm.  Enter and climb two flights of stairs to find windows that allow you to safely look down the back side of the dam.  There is also a scale model of the lake and dam area on the second floor.  The second museum is larger, just opposite the parking lot.  In addition to information about the dam there are two great exhibits for small kids, a 3-d movie, a small gift shop, an information kiosk, bathrooms and restaurant.  Ordering in the restaurant is easier if you ask a waiter to help you order from the ticket machine.  The restaurant is child-friendly.  The museum is open 9:30am-5pm, closed Wed. To park right next to the dam and museum for free, follow the directions below to Route 411.  When you near the dam on your left, turn onto Route 205 and follow the road a short distance to the dam.  It is about a 90 minute drive from Fussa.  GPS for parking lot: 35.79230,139.04755.  If this lot is full there are several other larger parking lots a bit further down the road. – Sarah Straus, 2012.  Original post for Okutama Lake by Corrie Huggins, Teresa Negley and Susie Shaw.

Pontoon Bridge across Okutama Lake
We did not make it onto this floating bridge that spans a section of the lake, but it looked amazing from the road.  It closes when the lake is low.

Hatonosu-Kobashi Bridge
This makes for a short, fun stop on your way to Lake Okutama.  Located just off 411 in Hatonosu, find this suspension bridge over the Tamagawa River.  It provides a nice photo opportunity, especially as the seasons change.  Pull off the road just before the tunnel exiting Hatonosu on your way to Okutama Town.  Find a place to park along the road and walk down and to your left to find the trail.  There are bathrooms at the trailhead.  GPS 35.81382,139.12799.

Nippara Limestone Caverns
There is a separate entry for Nippara Limestone Caverns.  Parking for the caves is located approximately 10.5 kilometers up the road from Okutama Town.  From Route 411 in Okutama Town, turn onto Nippara Kaido.  Follow this winding paved road that ends in the parking lot for the caves.  GPS coordinates: 35.85518,139.04089.

More Tourist Information
For more ideas of what to do in this area pick up the Ohtama Guide from the Yujo Center or once on the road try the Okutama Visitor Center near the Okutama Train Station. For hikers, pick up a trail map at the visitor center for a donation. The map is waterproof and shows all the trails in the Okkutama region. GPS 35.80859, 139.09763.  If you go someplace different or have something to add to what has been written here already, please report back!

DIRECTIONS  Exit the Passenger Terminal Gate and turn right onto Route 16.  In 2.5 kilometers turn left onto Route 5.  Follow Route 5 all the way to the end after 7.8 kilometers, where it dead-ends into Route 411.  Turn right onto Route 411.  All of the sites listed above are either on, or just off route 411.

Interested in an alternate route?  Where Route 5 dead-ends at Route 411,  turn left onto Route 411 and then turn right onto Route 45.  Route 45 parallels Route 411 on the south side of the river and joins Route 411 before Okutama.  This is a more scenic route with fewer towns and traffic.  You will see more cyclist on this route as well as the turn off for Mt. Mitake, the Ome River Walk and Yoshino Baigo.

Map to Okutama Lake parking near the dam

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Cross this red bridge on Route 411, then go through the tunnel.  On the far side find a place to park for the Pontoon Bridge.


These two child-friendly exhibits can be found in the museum by the Okutama dam.





This photo was taken from the narrow three story observation tower/museum on Okutama dam.

Mount Takao

Takao Sarah Straus 2013Mount Takao (Takao-san)  is about an hour from Yokota and offers sightseeing and hiking. You can take a ten-minute cable car ride or a ski lift part way up the mountain and then hike the rest.  There are two restaurants at the top of the cable car, both offering an awesome view all the way to Shinjuku on a clear day. There are also snack vendors along the way and at the summit.  To the left of the takao sarah strauscable car exit at the top, along the central path to the temples, there is a monkey zoo—a must if kids are along. On the main trail you will not need any special gear.  Much of it is paved.  There are several sections of long, steep stairs.  Takao-san is open year-round, although the shops and restaurants may close on Japanese holidays. One notable festival is the fire-walking (Yamabushi Hiwatari) held at the Yakuoin Temple near the summit on the second Sunday of March.  While there, also check out the Trick Art Museum.  Driving there is easy.  On the weekend parking at the Takao-san-guchi terminal parking lot costs ¥1000.  Taking the train is easy too and you don’t have to pay for parking.  Parking Lot phone number: 042-661-1118, parking lot GPS coordinates 35.632954, 139.270487 -Viki Lyn Paulson-Cody, updated & photos Sarah Straus, 2013

DSC_2513DRIVING DIRECTIONS: It is about a 40 minute drive to Takao and as long as you stay on Route 16 and turn right onto Route 20 it is a simple drive.  The trick of course is that Route 16 takes a few turns, so keep your eyes open.  Go left out the Fussa Gate onto Route 16.  Stay on Route 16 toward the Chuo Freeway.  As you near the freeway there is an option to turn left onto a Route 16 spur toward an expressway, but continue straight on Route 16 toward the Chuo.  Continue under the Chuo freeway.   Continue on Route 16 and then turn Right onto Route 20 – it is clearly marked as Route 20 toward Takao.  Route 20 will take you to the entrance at Takao-san-guchi train station in 6.6 kilometers.  There are several large parking lots here including a large one at the train station.  Warning, if you go during November to see the fall colors you should arrive extra early to get parking even on a weekday.   – Sarah Straus, November 2012
DSC_2554TRAIN DIRECTIONS: Leave from Higashi Fussa and take the train to Hachioji. Change to the Chuo Line to Takao. Don’t take the express train; the train should be marked “Takao” (in English). At Takao, change to the Keio Line for Takao-San by following the signs (in English) past the ticket booths. Take the train to Takao-San Guchi, the end of the line.  Note: you can also start at Fussa and change at Tachikawa.  At Tachikawa get on the Chuo line toward Takao.  Then at Takao change train lines to Keio, going one stop from Takao to Takaosanguchi.  Check train times here. -Viki Lyn Paulson-Cody

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Mt. Takao in the Fall, Photos by Kelly O’Donnell, Oct 31, 2013

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Hinohara Waterfall (Hossawa-no-taki Waterfall)

Our favorite Sunday drive is into the hills west of the base. In 45 minutes, we are parked and ready to hike up a gradual path to view the Hinohara Waterfalls. We’ve visited the falls in all seasons, and it is spectacular, plunging maybe 80 feet over a wooded cliff into a shallow pool. The waterfall is worth visiting for several reasons. We have taken dozens of photos; the most striking is when it is mostly frozen over in the coldest part of winter. We have also carried a lunch along to eat and watched visitors as they climb. The various levels of dress and skill are entertaining: men in unnecessary hiking gear, young ladies in high heels and miniskirts, mama-sans in their 80’s, and little kids just skipping along. We recommend you wear a comfortable pair of walking shoes. We found the path negotiable but muddy in the fall and slippery because of ice in the winter. As it is a shaded, rocky area, it tends to be cooler than the surrounding countryside, so dress warmly, too. We recommend you time a Sunday drive for the late morning so the sun is high for photographs and the traffic is not jammed up as you come back toward base (usually 3:00 to 5:30 pm). In the summertime, go in late afternoon and take a picnic supper to eat as you take in the view. During your hike back, keep an eye out for the face on the coffee shop’s wall. When you see the face, you will know that you are near the car park. In the fall and winter, reward yourself with a warm drink at the coffee shop, or maybe a cup of soup. The coffee shop also offers a variety of pottery, so you may end up taking home a unique gift.  GPS Coordinates for the parking lot are 35.73004,  139.14119.

While visiting Hinohara Waterfalls, be sure to check out the Kanotoiwa Rock, a side trip worth taking.

Hinohara Falls 1DIRECTIONS: Turn left out the Fussa Gate (0 km) and right at the first light. You are now on Tamabashi Dori, which changes to Itsukaichi-Kaido after you cross the Tama River Bridge (2 km). The road goes in a pretty straight line out to Itsukaichi, the first town in the hills (although it curves left after the bridge and merges right at 7 km). In the middle of Itsukaichi, you come to a “T” intersection in front of the train station (11.2 km). Turn left and continue on through the town. You will see signs showing Hinohara ahead. At the “Y” intersection (15 km), stay to the left. When you come to another “T” intersection at Motoshuku (19.9 km), turn right. In about a 1/2 km, just past a school crossing and opposite a bus turnaround (20.5 km), turn left up a hill just before crossing the first bridge. After going over a narrow bridge, you may park in a small parking area near a rustic coffee shop or continue further up the road to a larger parking area. (Note: the Okutama Nature Map calls this the Hossawanotaki waterfall.) From the lower car park, you will find the path to the waterfall after you walk back across the little bridge and go right. From the higher car park, follow the path that starts by the restrooms and meets the main path up to the waterfall. Once you pass the bathrooms and start heading down the hill you turn right on the very first little bridge path. Make sure you pass by the little ice cream store and you will know you are going the correct way. The easy hike will take maybe 15 minutes. Hinohara Falls 3If you want to hike more, a big map near the restroom shows many other options, or simply start walking up the road from the parking lot. There are forest trails on both sides. Rod & Cheryl Mees. Liz Ruskin updated 2010; photos Sandy Sax, Kelly O’Donnell & Michelle Nexon.


IMG_5462Once the proud capital of 12th and 13th century Japan, Kamakura is a favorite place to visit. It has a whopping 65 temples and 19 shrines, along with a charming pedestrian shopping street, where you can find lacquered woodcarvings, Kamakura’s best known product. Easy to get to by train or car from base, Kamakura offers a pleasant and peaceful environment nestled between the sea and woodlands. Kamakura is famous for the great bronze Buddha (Daibutsu), which sits in peaceful repose in the Kotokuin Temple courtyard. A walking tour of Kamakura is the recommended way of visiting the sights.

A question you will often be asked after arriving in Yokota is “have you seen the Big Buddha yet?” This great bronze statue, Daibutsu, is located in the Kotokuin Temple courtyard. The original enclosure for the statue was damaged in 1369 by a storm, as were the second and third wooden enclosures. The fourth was carried away by a tidal wave in 1495. The open exposure permits one to view this magnificent work of art unhindered. The circular protrusion on the Buddha’s forehead is made of silver and represents a jewel from which light is supposed to flow. The Great Buddha is a representation of Buddha Amitahba, the Lord of the Western Pure Land; Amitahba means “Infinite Light.” The proportions of the Daibutsu are so finely worked that, even IMG_5465though anatomically out of proportion, one feels an intimacy with the Buddha when standing on the ground and looking up to view its 44 feet in height. The head is inclined slightly forward and the Buddha is seated in the traditional meditation posture with hands laid in the lap with palms and thumbs touching, which represents the Buddhist sign for steadfast faith. The half-closed eyes depict the passionless calm and perfect repose, which is the essence of Buddhist doctrine.  It is also possible to go inside the Great Buddha for 20yen.

Another striking feature of Kamakura is the Hase Kannon Temple, which features the eleven-headed gilt statue of Kannon, goddess of mercy. The tallest wooden image in Japan, the 30-foot high statue is said to have been carved in 721AD by monk Tokudo Shonin. The image of Kannon, which sits in the Hase Temple south of Nara, was carved from half of a camphor tree. A duplicate image carved from the other half of the tree was thrown into the sea. After floating 300 miles, and 15 years later, the figure came to rest on a beach in Kamakura. The temple was built to enshrine this half of the tree at Kamakura. On the path leading to the temple housing the Kannon figure in Kamakura is the Jizo-do (Jizo Hall), which is lined on both sides by thousands of bodhisattva. Jizo is a bodhisattva symbolically representing the blessings of the earth who stands at the border of this life and the next, guiding souls of the dead on the road to salvation. Thousands of tiny Jizo line the hall, placed there by mothers who have lost infants through miscarriage or abortion, and who dedicate the small images as a means of praying for the guidance of the dead child.

A display of ancient horseback archery, known as yabusame, highlights the Fall Hachimangu Festival held at Kamakura September 15 and 16. This annual festival was dedicated to Minamoto-no Yoritomo, the famous warlord who established the first shogunate in the 12th century, and relives the days of 12th century samurai. Dressed in the colorful traditional costume of feudal Japan, archers will shoot arrows at three small wooden targets about 50 centimeters square, while mounted on galloping horses. The targets are about 75 meters apart along a 250-meter course in the shrine compound area. The first yabusame was held in 1187 to pray for the peace and prosperity of the nation. The god of war in the Shinto religion is Hachiman, and all warriors offered their prayers to him. Thus, the yabusame event was also an event to promote horsemanship and archery as spiritual training for the Kamakura warriors. The event now has become an annual autumn festival to ensure a good harvest and to dispel evil spirits. Kathleen French

DIRECTIONS: For directions, check the Yujo Recreation Center.  If you are taking the train, the closest station to the Big Buddha is Hase (Kanagawa prefecture).  The GPS coordinates to the Big Buddha site are 35.31676, 139.535704.   If a same day drive out and back is unappealing, consider staying at the Navy Lodge at Yokosuka,  This Navy Lodge is recently remodeled.  Our unit included a small kitchen.  The Navy Lodge is located next to Chili’s.  Another option for staying at Yokosuka is the Gateway Inn.  They have one bedroom units with full kitchens.  The sofa-bed wasn’t great here, but the management said they will be upgrading the sofa-beds Sept 2013.  The base is hilly, located on the water, and is port to many large ships and submarines, making it an interesting contrast to Yokota.  GPS coordinates to base entrance: 35.283086, 139.666076.

To avoid parking in Kamakura, it is possible to park at Ikego Housing Area located 10 kilometers from Yokosuka at GPS coordinates: 35.303726, 139.590481.  Get directions from Yokosuka ITT.  Drive through the gate and turn right, there is a parking lot after the ball field.  The Jinmuji train station on the Keio Railway line is just outside the fence and there is a pedestrian gate set up at the station.   Cross the tracks and take the train one stop to Shinzushi.  The trick is you’ll have to take a 3 minute walk North to another train station from Shinzushi.  Enter Zushi train station, on the JR Railway line and take the train one stop to Kamakura or if doing the hike suggested below take the train two stops to Kita-Kamakura.  To reach the Big Buddha, change trains again inside the same train station, and head to Hase station.  From here walk to the Big Buddha. There is also a nice 6 kilometer hike from the temples at Kita-Kamakura train station across the ridge-line and down to the Big Buddha.  The trail is called the Kamakura Daibutsu Trail.  It starts just to the left of the Jochi-ji Zen Buddist Temple entrance, located about an 8 minute walk from the Kita-Kamakura train station.  Click here for more trail information.- Directions updates Sarah Straus, December 2012.  Top three photos by Kelly O’Donnell, Jan 2014. Second two photos by Katheryn Wolfe, 2013.

enoshino by sarah strausComments by Sarah Straus, May 2013 – Our family stayed at Yokosuka for two nights so that we could see the Great Buddha and explore the area a bit.  We saw it… but spent most of our time just up the road at Enoshima.  There is a beautiful stretch of coast line here with lots of paid parking lots where you can park, cross the road and spend the day on the beach.  The water is warm and perfect for kids to play in because of its gradual entry and gentle waves.  Before crossing to the Enoshima peninsula there is a large aquarium and there are lots of places to eat along the waterfront.  For more information and photos of the area check this Enoshima travel guide.



sarah straus kawagoeTake a glimpse of old Japan just a short journey from the base. Here you can see a street of Edo-era storehouses and merchant houses, the Kitain Temple, and a castle converted into a museum.  For a small entrance fee at the Temple you can Girl at Kitain Temple Kawagoe by Sarah Straussee some remains from Edo Castle that were moved here, a beautiful garden, and 540 statues of Rakan with no two Buddhas alike. Download a tourist map of the area here and walk to the castle and to the historic commercial street. We enjoyed seeing the many kimono clad Japanese ladies out for a stroll and the interesting buildings.

The history of “Little Edo”
Kawagoe was a castle town, protecting the northern flank of Edo Castle, which is now the Imperial Palace in downtown Tokyo. The Matsudaira family ruled Kawagoe for 100 years, boosting rice production to sell downriver in Edo. Much of Tokugawa-era Kawagoe (1700-1800s) remains for you to rediscover.

Gardens behind the remains of Edo Castle, by Katheryn Wolfe

Be sure to make at least one trip to Kawagoe timed so that you can browse the shrine sale held on the 28th of each month at Naritasan Temple. The shrine sale antiques reflect the old buildings of Little Edo, remainders of an older community that was not bombed during World War II. After shopping, visit Kitain Temple around the corner from the shrine sale. Kitain became the main temple of a three-temple complex that prospered due to a friendship in the 1600s beween the head monk and the first shogun. The Shogun, Tokugawa Iemitsu, had the place rebuilt in 1638 and arranged for part of Edo Castle to be relocated in Kitain. One ornate room with a floral ceiling is thought to be the room where he was born. Diagonal to Kitain is the place of Gohyaku Rakan or Five Hundred Buddhas (with its entrance next to a small shop). Made from 1781 to 1825, each two- or three-feet tall Buddha is different.

After looking around Kitain, head toward the streets of old town where the kurazukuri buildings are located. The kurazukuri are icons of old Kawagoe. These combination store/residence buildings are fireproof, having been constructed from a wood frame packed with clay and plaster. The 30 or so remaining buildings were mostly built after the Great Fire of 1893.
The Osawa family owns Kawagoe’s oldest kurazukuri, built in 1793. This building is now an “Important Cultural Property” and shop specializing in folk art. It is located in Saiwai-cho, along with the city-run Kurazukuri Museum and other kurazukuri protected by the city. Two tourist information office in the old warehouse district can supply you with maps, but the town has lots of tourist-oriented maps posted and directional signs in English. Be sure to visit the quaint Penny Candy Lane.
Teresa Negley & Catherine L. Sadler.  Updates & lead photo by Sarah Straus, 2012.

DIRECTIONS: Drive or take the train from Higashi-Fussa station, per the directions below. The parking for the shrine sale (GPS: 35.9186,139.4902) is right by the Kitain Temple.


Kawagoe shrine sale by kelly cash 2Kawagoe Shrine Sale
Kawagoe is filled with treasures. We’ve found rice buckets, pottery, wooden items, brocade obi, shoji screens, baskets and lacquerware, among other booty. Held on the 28th of every month from dawn to dusk, rain or shrine, Kawagoe flea market is on a circuit of many flea market vendors.
DIRECTIONS: Set the odometer to zero as you turn right out the Terminal Gate. Go north via the underpass onto Route 16 where you will stay most of your trip. At 10.9km, the road splits with Route 16 to the left. The road also narrows to two lanes temporarily. Follow the blue signs for Kawagoe and stay on Route 16 as it bears left again. You will pass the SATY store on your right at 15.2km. Route 16 turns right around a bend at 23.4km with more blue signs to direct you . At 26.6km kawagoe shrine sale by kelly cash(with the round “Hotel 10” ahead), bear left onto Route 254 toward Higashi Matsuyama. Stay in the left lane, go under the arched pedestrian bridge at 27km, then make a left turn immediately afterward (not before the bridge). At the second light, 27.9km, make a left and then park in the lot on your right (¥500/three hours) before the Kitain Temple complex. (The parking lot entrance is slightly tricky. They’ve set it up so that you first come across the exit. Drive a bit further to find the entrance.) The monthly sale is held at Narita-san Shrine, a couple blocks to the right down the street on the other side of the parking lot. GPS for parking lot: 35.9186,139.4902. – Shrine Sale photos by Kelly Cash, July 2013

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DIRECTIONS HOME: Backtrack to Routes 254 and 16, turning into the first right two lanes, and head towards Hachioji (not up the ramp). Then, move over to the far left lane before Route 16 curves left. Barbara Kirkwood 2001. Liz Ruskin verified directions and parking lot info in 2011.
TRAIN DIRECTIONS:You can get to Kawagoe in less than an hour from the Higashi-Fussa station. This station is even closer to the base than the main Fussa station. You don’t even have to transfer if you chose the right train, so check Hyperdia before you go. Take the JR Hachiko line toward Kawagoe (not toward Hachioji). On trains bound for Kawagoe, the name of the line changes at Komagawa, but the same train continues on to Kawagoe station. When you get out of the train station you’ll be on an elevated plaza. Go just to the left of the Atre store and descend on the stairs that will put you behind the Atre and across the streets. You’ll be on a pedestrian street called Crea Mall. (Look for the “Crea Mall” banner over the walkway. There’s a red “New Crown” sign on the corner.) Stay on the Crea Mall for a kilometer, past where it becomes a real street. Continue on it until you reach a 4-way intersection with a big road, labeled 15 on maps. Beyond this road, the pavement color changes to grey as it goes into the historic district. Instead, turn right on 15 and walk until you see a blue pedestrian overpass. The entrance to the shrine sale is right there, on your right. Total distance from Kawagoe train station: 1.7km. Liz Ruskin, 2011.

Kawagoe RISM Outlet Mall
This is a collection of shops in a modern setting, southeast of Kawagoe and about 30km northeast of Yokota. On the second level there is an Eddie Bauer outlet and an outdoor/sports shop with goods by Patagonia, Columbia, and Coleman in addition to an Italian diner, and a carpet shop at the opposite end. There is also a shoe store with Cole Haan, Dr. Maartens and other famous brands; a large drugstore; a shop selling kitchen goods alongside lingerie; and several clothing shops. Kids will like the arcade of snack shops and game machines on the first level.
DIRECTIONS: Turn right out the Terminal Gate onto Route 16, heading for Kawagoe via the underpass. Route 16 will narrow from four lanes to two lanes and widen again. As you enter Kawagoe, the Route 16 signs will change to show Kasukabe and Omiya (at about 20km, stay on Route 16 in the right lane). You’ll pass a blue sign for The Old Spaghetti Factory on the right. Stay in the right lane as Route 16 takes a sharp right turn (at 23.4 km). As the road curves to the left, you’ll see 3 large blue signs (Kawagoe Station, Higashi-Matsuyama, and Tokyo). Stay in the right lane and turn right onto Route 254 for Tokyo, and later Ikebukuro. The road will cross Route 56 with a Royal Host on the right. Stay on Route 254, going straight. At about 30km, there will be an Esso station on the right and a Toyota auto dealer on the left. Turn left at the light where Jonathan’s Restaurant and Men’s Plaza Aoki are on the far left corner. You’ll pass a park on the right. Turn right at the second light (there’s a fire station on the left, and a Mos Burger opposite it on the far left – look for the “M” sign). Follow the “P” (for parking) signs around the mall to the left into an underground garage. Push the green button on the machine to get a parking ticket. The first two hours are free, then it’s ¥100/half hour. For the return, back track via Routes 254 and 16 toward Hachioji. Stay in the left lane as you approach Route 16. The drive is 1-1.5 hours, 32km away. Hours: 10:30am – 7:30pm; closed on the third Wednesday of the month. Telephone: 0492-69-3939. Address: Ureshino 2-10-87, Fujimino-shi, Saitama-Ken. GPS: 35.8580, 139.5253. Chieko Brumley, Wendy Matheny, Teresa Negley, 1996. Opening hours and GPS added 2011.