Outline of Kawagoe

How about making a little side step to Kawagoe during your stay in Tokyo?

 

There are many cities or towns nicknamed “Little Kyoto”, but only a few are called “Little Edo”.  Kawagoe is the most famous, which means it had a close relationship with Edo. 

 

It is a 50-minute trip by train from Shinjuku. It was a very important place for protecting the northern region in the Edo era, so a confidant of Tokugawa shogun was dispatched.

 

This is the main building of Kawagoe Castle but it had no donjon.


Another importance of Kawagoe for Edo Shogunate was that it played the role of logistic support.

 

The river running through the northern part of Kawagoe joins the Sumida River. Therefore goods and materials collected here from norther Kanto area were carried by boat to Edo Castle.

 

But today it has become a place of elegant boating under the cherry trees in full bloom lined with the river.


Kurazukuri Zone

“Kurazukuri” means this town is built with “kura”, or warehouse (). Japanese used to store valuable items in strong houses kura with thick, fireproof earth walls to protect them from theft and natural disasters. After the big fire broke out in 1893, the citizens here wisely rebuilt their houses in Kura style (). So this zone has maintained the atmosphere of a town 100 years ago.

 

This is a building called "Toki no Kane" (), or Time Bell tower, where a bell has been rung to tell the time since the early Edo period. It has become a symbol of this “Little Edo”. Kashiya Yokocho (), or penny candy lane, consists of many old sweet shops along a narrow street. They are selling inexpensive traditional Japanese candies such as hard candy, wheat gluten sweets, skewered rice flour dumplings and rice crackers.

 

The festival with a history of more than 360 years is held in mid-October. Floats (⑤) with huge elaborate figures on the top with a Japanese orchestra parade throughout the town. One is displayed in the nearby museum through the year.

Kita-in Temple

Kita-in Temple is believed to have been founded in 830. It achieved its greatest fame and influence under a certain priest who was an adviser to the first Tokugawa shogun Ieyasu at all times.

 

During the Edo period, under favor of the strong ties to the shogunate, parts of the rooms were relocated here from the Edo Castle grounds and have remained as they were. The inside of the main hall () is open to the public, so you can walk around the building of the Edo period (). There are many attached buildings (③④), several of which are national important cultural properties.

 

Gohyaku Rakan (500 Disciples of Buddha) () are stone statues. They have so many countenances that you might encounter your acquaintance here.