Vegetarian's Japan Guide

The Must-Visit Cafes & Shops on Kura no Machi Ichibangai

When you visit Kawagoe (川越), Kura no Machi Ichibangai Street (蔵の街一番街) being on your itinerary is a must. The main street in the old warehouse district is where you can find the majority of the Kurazukuri townscape from the Edo period. The street isn’t just about Kawagoe’s landmark, Toki no Kane Clock and those old black-plastered luxurious warehouse-style houses. The historical ambience and the shops and restaurants that line the road have attracted hundreds of thousands of tourists every year!

Kurazukuri (蔵造り) is a type of traditional Japanese architecture used mainly for building warehouses. It evolved from an Edo townhouse style and is particularly fire-resistant. Like the Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter in Okayama, Kawagoe Ichibangai was designated an Important Preservation District for Groups of Traditional Buildings.

The Cafes and Snack Spots on Kura no Machi Ichibangai Street

Explore Kawagoe With a Guided Tour

If you prefer a guide to introduce you to the charms of Kawagoe, how about joining one of the below tours? You can also hire a professional photographer to capture your visit!

☛ You can reserve an 1-Hour Kawagoe Photography Session if you need a professional photographer to take photos of your visit.
☛ Exploring Kawagoe in the traditional Kimono can be a great way to explore the traditional township. Refer to HERE to book a dress-up session!
Kawagoe Dai-Ichi Hotel is a great place to spend a night in Kawagoe. It is close to Kawagoe Station and the shopping district filled with restaurants and shops, but in a quiet neighborhood.

How to Get to Kura no Machi Ichibangai Street

  • Kawagoe Ichibangai is around a 10 to 15-minute walk from Honkawagoe Station and a 25-minute walk from Kawagoe Station.
  • If you take the CO-EDO Loop Bus (小江戸巡回バス), get off at Kura no Machi (蔵の街).
  • If you take the Tobu Bus, get off at Ichibangai (1番街).

Refer to our Kawagoe article for more information about access information to and in Kawagoe.

Kawagoe Art Cafe Elevato (川越アートカフェ エレバート)


If you like beer, the best spot in Kawagoe to enjoy the locally brewed COEDO Beer (COEDOビール) is Kawagoe Art Cafe Elevato (川越アートカフェ エレバート). But even if you don’t like alcohol, the cafe in the history-rich building is a great place for a break from exploring the traditional township. The desserts, such as the sweet potato pudding, taste fabulous!

For more information, refer to our Kawagoe Art Cafe Elevato article!

Kameya Main Store (亀屋)

A must-try traditional Japanese confectionery shop in Kawagoe is Kameya. It was established in 1783 and was chosen as a dedicated sweets maker for the lord of the Kawagoe Domain.

So, refer to our Kameya article to find out what the highly regarded confectionary maker offers its customers today!


Kawagoe Pudding (川越プリン)

Kawagoe Pudding is the first pudding specialist from Kawagoe. Its logo, the Toki no Kane on a plate, makes it really clear where the pudding was made. After iterating through many cycles of trial and error with premium-grade ingredients, such as the highest quality Madagascar vanilla beans, the shop finally landed upon a recipe that would amaze numerous pudding lovers, some of whom remarked that the pudding was the best pudding they had ever had!

What you must try here is its sweet potato-flavored pudding. You can also choose to have ice cream added on top!

Refer to our Kawagoe Pudding article for more information!

Ⓒ 川越プリン

Tsubakiya Foot Spa Tea Room (足湯喫茶 椿や)

Tsubakiya would be a great spot on the way back to the station to relax your tired feet. Dipping your feet into the hot spring in the Japanese garden while enjoying those traditional desserts will be the perfect way to end your visit to Kawagoe!

Tsubakiya Foot Spa Tea Room resides in a building called Kawagoe Tsubaki no Kura (川越 椿の蔵). The building, measuring a total length of 30 meters, also houses a Japanese miscellaneous goods and souvenirs shop called Wamonoya Kaya (和雑貨ショップ 倭物や カヤ) on the first floor and a gemstone accessory shop Iwaza (パワーストーンショップ 岩座) on the second floor.

The cafe is in the courtyard. So to get to Tsubakiya Foot Spa Tea Room, go straight to the back of the building. The cafe’s entrance is marked with a shop curtain with a “Yu (ゆ)” written in the middle.

You might be wondering if visiting the cafe on a hot summer day would be unpleasant. This shouldn’t be a problem. The cafe adjusts the water temperature according to the season. So in summer, the water will be slightly cooler. In winter, a blanket is provided to keep your thighs warm (=゚ω゚)ノ.

Fear not if you don’t have a small towel to dry your feet! Choose a menu option with the cafe’s original camellia-patterned or Toki no Kane Tower towel as a souvenir!

Note that you might want to apply insect repellent to keep the mosquitos away, especially at night.

Tsubakiya Foot Spa Tea Room’s Business Hours and Access Information

  • Tsubakiya Foot Spa Tea Room is open from
    • 12 pm to 5:30 pm on weekdays
    • 10 am to 6:30 pm on weekends and public holidays
    • The last order is taken 30 minutes before the closing time.
  • The tea room is around a 15-minute from Honkawagoe Station. You can also take a bus and get off at Ichiban Machi (一番街) from Kawagoe/Honkawagoe Station.

Fine China Store Yamawa (陶舗やまわ) and Cafe Torocco (陶路子)

Fine China Store Yamawa Kawagoe Saitama Japan

On Kawagoe Ichiban Machi Street, the original Hara Family Residence (原家住宅) nowadays houses a pottery and china gallery. In contrast to the stately and solemn exterior, the interior is bright and stylish, not to mention the intricate ceramics on exhibit, which you can bring home!

Plus, it has a cafe offering a delicious sweet potato set menu!

Refer to our article on Fine China Store Yamawa for more information!

Kashou Umon Bell Tower Shop (菓匠右門 時の鐘店)

If we had to designate something as Kawagoe’s famous specialty, it has to be sweet potato. The spot to enjoy locally harvested sweet potatoes is Kashou Umon. The traditional sweets maker is just two shops away from Toki no Kane, so how about having their famous sweet potato ice cream while you listen to the neighboring landmark bell tolling? The cute soft serve cone with a heart-shaped Monaka will surely catch a lot of attention on social media (^_-)-☆.

Monaka is a Japanese sweet with azuki bean paste sandwiched between two thin crisp wafers made from mochi.

Ⓒ photo-ac.com

Kashou Umon’s signatory confectionary is, however, not the sweet potato ice cream. It is a traditional sweet called Imo Koi (いも恋). Inside the white chewy mochi skin is a layer of fluffy sweet potato topped with a layer of red bean. As a tourist, you can enjoy the freshly steamed Imo Koi, the perfect snack to enjoy when you stroll around Kawagoe!

Kashou Umon Bell Tower Shop’s Business Hours and Access Information

  • Kashou Umon Bell Tower Shop is open from 10 am to 6 pm daily except for the end of December to the beginning of January.
  • It is around a 15-minute walk from Honkawagoe Station and a 25-minute walk from Kawagoe Station.

Starbucks Coffee – Kawagoe Kanetsuki-dōri Shop (スターバックスコーヒー 川越鐘つき通り店)

Because Starbucks Coffee can be found almost everywhere, you probably won’t be interested in visiting one in Japan. But this shouldn’t be the case for the one in Kawagoe. This Starbucks is one of the top 20 Starbucks Stores to Visit in 2020. So even if you aren’t interested in the coffee it sells, you will certainly want to snap a photo with its traditional Japanese look!

As you take a sip, look up to the black wall and admire the Fusuma sliding door painting (襖絵) from the beginning of the 20th century. Also, grab one of the bench seats with back support instead of the one-seater chair. The fabric of the back cushion is made from Kawagoe Tōzan (川越唐桟), a type of cotton fabric that has been popular since the Edo period.

At the back of the cafe is a gorgeous Japanese garden filled with typical elements common to Kawagoe. For example, in addition to the plum and cherry blossom, Osmanthus heterophyllus is planted. The terrace seats sandwiched by the cafe and garden are thus the first class seats in Starbucks Coffee – Kawagoe Kanetsuki-dōri Shop when the weather is good.

Starbucks Coffee – Kawagoe Kanetsuki-dōri Shop

  • Starbucks Coffee – Kawagoe Kanetsuki-dōri Shop is open from 8 am to 8 pm.
  • It is around a 20-minute walk from Honkawagoe Station and a 25-minute walk from Kawagoe Station.
  • If you plan to take CO-EDO Loop Bus (小江戸巡回バス), get off at Kura no Machi (蔵の街).

Koedo Osatsuan (小江戸おさつ庵)

Another spot to enjoy sweet potato desserts is Koedo Osatsuan, just two shops away from Starbucks Coffee. The shop is famous for its sweet potato chips.

Forget about the tiny chips on your local supermarket’s shelf. The sweet potato chips here are gigantic, which makes you wonder how big the sweet potatoes were before they were sliced up! Depending on how the chips are packed, your bag of chips can look like a bouquet (´▽`*). Whilst the seasoning is relatively simple, the artistry of these chips is in how well they are salted.

If you love dipping, a bag of chips comes with a dip of your choice, sweet or savory. You can also purchase additional flavors for 50 yen per dip. The most popular flavor is salt butter (塩バター).

Koedo Osatsuan also sells sweet potato soft serve. But the difference is that it comes with a giant sweet potato chip much bigger than the ice cream!

Note that we don’t recommend getting the sealed version in a cup. While unsure if it was just the one we bought, the chips in the cup were extremely salty.

Koedo Osatsuan’s Business Hours and Access Information

  • Koedo Osatsuan is open from
    • 10:30 am to 4:30 pm on weekdays
    • 10:30 am to 5:30 pm on weekends and public holidays
  • The shop is closed from the end of December to the beginning of January.
  • The shop is around a 15-minute walk from Honkawagoe station.
  • If you plan to take CO-EDO Loop Bus (小江戸巡回バス), get off at Icxhibangai (一番街).

Koedo Yokochō Alley (小江戸横丁)

As its name suggests, Koedo Yokochō is a complex with shops linked by small alleys. The building was originally completed as the base of a seafood wholesaler in 1992, which was later transformed into an arcade-like shopping space filled with cafes, restaurants, and boutique shops.

The good news is that a major renovation was completed on the building in April 2022. So when you visit Koedo Yokochō on your next Japan trip, you will be able to enjoy some delicious traditional desserts in the newly opened cafes. There is even a Kimono rental shop stationed here!

For example, MINAMIMACHI COFFEE (やきいも芋川 MINAMIMACHI COFFEE) facing the Ichibangai sweet is a grilled sweet potato specialist. The must-try here is sweet potato Brûlée. The dessert made from extremely sweet potato is an advanced version of grilled sweet potato. You can choose whether to add sea salt or not. If you do, let the staff know not to sprinkle too much, or the salty taste will ruin the deliciousness of the sweet potato.

In addition, the Komachi salon and KURO cafe (こまち salon and KUROcafe) is where you can complete the special sweet potato Mont Blanc by squeezing the sweet potato purée. At the bottom of the dessert, instead of the normal cake base, it is replaced by ice cream and rusk, both in black color!

To get to the other shops, use the alley on the left of the building.

Vanitoy Bagel Kura Tsukuri Honten (VANITOY BAGEL 蔵づくり本店)

While bagels probably don’t sound appealing to those who want to try out the local food, give Vanitoy Bagel a chance when you visit Kawagoe.

As you get closer to the shop, we are sure you will be drawn to Vanitoy Bagel by the freshly baked scent. Although the bagels may look like the regular ones in New York, they are more fluffy!

The bagel stand usually has more than 30 flavors on the shelf, from sweet to savory. It is where you re-discover how the Japanese can bring an ordinary bagel to a whole new level. Where else can you find a Margherita bagel or a bagel filled with matcha, red bean paste, and cream cheese?

If you have time, head to the dining area on the second floor. You can observe the busy street of Kawagoe as you bite into the delicious bagels!

Tip: If you have dietary requirements, check with the shop to see if the bagels are still made without butter and eggs. You can utilize the phrases in our Essential Japanese Travel Phrases for Vegetarians and Vegans article.

Vanitoy Bagel Kura Tsukuri’s Business Hours and Access Information

  • Vanitoy Bagel Kura Tsukuri is open from
    • 10 am to 6 pm from Thursday to Monday
    • It closes at 5 pm on Tuesdays.
    • Note it doesn’t open on Wednesdays.
  • The bagel shop is a 15-minute walk from Honkawagoe Station and a 25-minute walk from Kawagoe Station.

Wahōan Cafe (狭山茶カフェ 和芳庵)

The Tea at Wahoan Cafe Kawagoe Saitama Japan

When you visit an area with a traditional Japanese setting, wouldn’t you want to sit down and taste some tea-flavored desserts and a cup of nicely brewed tea?

If your answer is yes, Wahōan is the spot you want to visit. The cafe is operated by a local tea farming company, Nagamine-en, specializing in Sayama tea (狭山茶). Compared to tea grown in other parts of the country, Sayama tea has a richer and more distinct flavor from its thicker leaves.

So, refer to our Wahōan Cafe article for more information!

Kashiya Yokochō Alley (菓子屋横丁)

Ⓒ photo-ac.com

When you visit Kawagoe, try out the Dagashi (駄菓子), cheap Japanese snacks. The best place to source Dagashi is Kashiya Yokochō. The history of the street started with a few confectionary shops at the beginning of the Meiji period to manufacture and supply cheap sweets after the Great Kanto Earthquake severely damaged Tokyo.

Many of the Dagashi makers in the 100-meter-long alley thus opened in the late 19th century. At its peak, the alley also hosted other shops besides its Dagashi shops.

While only around 20 Dagashi shops survived the test of time, the Japanese retro ambiance surrounding Kashiya Yokochō still deems it a popular spot among locals and tourists. Walking on the stone pavements and surrounded by the traditional houses, it would almost feel like you are walking into the Edo period!

The only con about Kashiya Yokochō is that it would be really hard to resist not overbuying and eating because the snacks and sweets sold here are all so cheap and delicious-looking (´▽`*).

Important: Many shops on Kashiya Yokochō Alley close on Mondays.

  • Kashiya Yokochō is around a 15-minute walk from Seibu’s Honkawagoe Station (本川越駅).
  • If you are arriving at Tobu or JR’s Kawagoe Station (川越駅), take the Tobu Bus West and get off at Fuda no Tsuji (札ノ辻). The alley is then a 2-minute walk away.
  • If you take the CO-EDO Loop Bus (小江戸巡回バス), get off at Kashiya Yokochō (菓子屋横丁).

The Attractions on Taishō Roman Yume-dōri Street

Click the photo to find out more about where to visit Taishō Roman Yume-dōri Street!

Instead of taking a bus from the nearest train station to Kura no Machi Ichibangai Street, we recommend you take a relaxing walk. This way, you will walk past the 300-meter-long Taishō Roman Yume-dōri Street, filled with Taishō era vibes. If you stop by the street before heading into the traditional warehouse district, your visit to Kawagoe will be a tour back in time in reverse chronological order!

For more information, refer to our article on Taishō Roman Yume-dōri Street!

Other Attractions in Kawagoe

Kawagoe’s historical area has many attractions, shops, cafes, and workshops that might interest you. You might also want to visit a couple of interesting shrines and temples and perform simple rituals that might boost your fortune!

So refer to our Guide to the Little Edo, Kawagoe, for more travel ideas!


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