History of Koedo Kawagoe
Kawagoe is called Koedo as it was once a castle town of Edo in Edo period.
Ko means little or small in Japanese that it means the little Edo.
Edo shogunate considered Kawagoe to be important guard of North of Edo that set powerful feudal lords there.
Kawagoe has Shingashi river and it was often used to deliver things to Asakusa in Tokyo in those days.
This transportation by water made Kawagoe lively town of merchants.
Koedo Kawagoe is the backdrop of Anime Kamisama Kiss and Drama Tsubasa
Kawagoe was used as the backdrop of anime “Kamisama Kiss”
It is a story of a girl and Ayakashi or Japanese style Ghost like figure.
But it is not scary anime rather heart-warming story.
It went on air in 2015 and caught the hearts of anime fans.
Tsubas is a Drama that aired in 2009 and its backdrop is also in Kawagoe.
It’s story is Tsubasa who is a daughter of an old Japanese confectioner’s family struggles with making a community radio station with the locals in Kawagoe.
Closest Station Kawagoe, Kawagoe-shi, Hon-Kawagoe
It might be complicated but there are several stations including name Kawagoe in Kawagoe.
People that come to Kawagoe mostly go to the Warehouse Zone that includes The Time Bell Tower or Kashiya Yokocho and those are the main tourists spot in Kawaoe.
To go there you need to get off the train at Kawagoe or Kawagoe-shi or Hon-Kawagoe station.
Closest station is Hon-Kawagoe station of Seibu Shinjuku Line but you can also use Kawagoe station of Tobu Tojo Line.
Kawagoe-shi is not the place you get off the train if you go to main spot as it is a bit far from there.
This time I got off the train at Kawagoe station.
It is about 30 minutes from Ikebukuro station in Tokyo.
Route to the Warehouse Zone
I think it takes 30 to 45 minutes after you get off at Kagoe station to its main tourist spot the Warehouse Zone on foot.
There is also the loop bus that goes around each tourist spots that you can also take this bus to the The Time Bell Tower.
But I recommend you to walk to the Warehouse Zone as it is not that far, 30 to 45 minutes’ walk and it might be good to enjoy Kawagoe city’s atmosphere along the street as you all the way to came Kawagoe.
This is the main street crea mall and its backstreet.
Koedo Kurari and anime-style cartoon mascots festival
You can find this Koedo Kurari just before main spot or this might be already one of the main spots.
This Koedo Kurari consists of three former sake breweries that are built in Meiji, Taisho, Showa periods.
They have now converted into souvenir shop (Former Meiji Brewery), restaurant (Former Meiji Brewery) and Shopping market (Former Showa Brewery).
And when I visited here, what I encountered with were
What’s this gathering?
I think almost all mascots in Saitama Prefecture came together here.
Here you can have local dishes of Kawagoe.
You can buy local foods and specialties in Kawagoe from vegetables to side dishes to sweets.
Address : 1-10-1 Shintomi-cho, Kawagoe-shi, Saitama
Website : http://www.machikawa.co.jp/
Small Private Shops and Kumano Shrine
Here is not main street but the street just before the main street.
There are some classical shops along the street.
I can see Japanese character “Yamadaya”
I think it sells foods and groceries.
This shop sells Japanese paper Washi and Calligraphy.
This kind of private shop is now very rare.
I could find shrine gate on my left side.
It is Kumano Shrine.
Interesting point of this Shrine is it has foot-stomping-for-health path before shrine gate.
Various kinds of small stones and pebbles embedded into the path.
You just take off your shoes and walk along the path barefoot.
I also tried it and Oh, yes, certainly I feel light pain in my sole, I might have a bad point somewhere in my body.
If you have stiff shoulders or something wrong for your body, I recommend you to try it.
This is a purification trough.
You need to purify your hands and to rinse your mouth here.
The shrine compound.
Address : 17-1 renjaku-cho, Kawagoe-shi, Saitama
Website : http://www.k2.dion.ne.jp/~kumano/
Private seal impression’s shop.
This is also rare now.
I like the atmosphere it has.
Kawagoe is also famous for a place where you can enjoy quality eel.
Many people in front of the restaurant.
It must be famous eel restaurant.
I can feel old Edo atmosphere.
Koedo Kawagoe Main Street
Finally I got to the main street.
It took 40 minutes from Kawagoe station.
Along this main street you can find many unique and traditional shops and old buildings since Edo, Meiji, Taisho period although some of them had been renovated.
You can ride on a traditional Japanese Rikisha here.
The price varies usually from $20 to $50 depends on the time and course.
Wide variety of chopsticks and its rest inside.
Knife shop Machikan.
This is very cool and a wide variety of Japanese kitchen knives on display.
What I surprised was there was craftsman or sales clerk who were sharpening its kitchen knives inside store.
You might find only one kitchen knife here.
Address : 7-3 Saiwai-cho, Kawagoe-shi, Saitama
Rice cracker shop.
This shop’s cracker is all handmade.
You can relax on the sofa enjoying rice cracker.
The Time Bell Tower or Toki no Kane
Left side of the main street you can find The Time Bell.
It is a little way off the street that it might be a bit hard to find it first.
This bell tower was found in around 1600 by feudal lord of Kawagoe Tadakatsu Sakai.
It told the hour to the people live in Kawagoe in those days.
It suffered fire several times and lost its bell and bell tower but reconstructed every time.
Now is the 4th and reconstructed bell tower after the great fire that destroyed a third of Kawagoe town in 1893
It was very important bell to the people live in Kawagoe in those days that merchants took the lead for its repairing.
Sadly it was under construction and couldn’t go inside. T_T
It now tells people the time by a mechanical device at 6 am, noon, 3 pm, 6 pm.
The Time Bell Tower
Address : 15-7 Saiwai-cho, Kawagoe-shi, Saitama
Kashiya Yokocho or the alley lined with sweet shops
You need to turn left into the alley before the main street ends to go to Kashiya Yokocho.
Kashi means confectionery or sweet and ya means shop.
It is the alley lined with Japanese traditional sweets shops.
It is said that Japanese confectionery craftsman Fujisaemon Suzuki came here and opened the store first in Meiji period.
At its peak, from Taisho to early Showa, it held 70 stores and provided sweets instead of Tokyo which suffered the Great Kanto earthquake in 1923.
Here is still not the center of Kasiya Yokocho but still some unique shops.
Coffee shop Mame Zou.
You can enjoy coffee here.
Address : 2-1-2 Moto-Machi, Kawagoe-shi, Saitama
I found very rare shop here.
It sells old days book, toy, antique, etc.
If you are a collector of antique, you must be into the goods it has inside.
At the corner is an eel restaurant Unakko.
This is a famous eel restaurant.
But what attracted me most was this green one on the right!
Is it chameleon?
Anyway I like atmosphere of it.
Address : 2-106 Moto-Machi, Kawagoe-shi, Saitama
Website : http://www.kawagoe.com/imozen/index.html
Now is the start of the main spot Kashiya Yokocho.
The number of people increased.
You can find private Japanese sweet shops along the alley.
This long shape sweet is called Fugashi.
Fugashi is made of a dried wheat gluten and is coated with muscovado.
Usually Fugashi is not this long, it is about 20 cm or so on average.
But this is 95 cm and the longest Fugashi in Japan.
It is a famous Kawagoe specialty.
Found cool vending machine!
I went inside one of the sweet shops.
I could see process of making candy.
It was a big candy.
He is making candy called Kintaro Ame that appears same face whenever it is sliced.
It might be become this.
This is Konpeitou.
It is Japanese confetti and popular for children.
I bought one of them as I like it.
This bakery shop is Rakuraku.
You can buy bread made of natural yeast.
I was going to buy but gave up as there was a long line inside.
Address : 2-10-13 Moto-Machi, Kawagoe-shi, Saitama
Website : http://www.bakery-rakuraku.com/
I came back to the main street and found that the street is only for pedestrian now, not for cars and buses.
I think it becomes pedestrian street after noon on holiday.
This is history museum.
Unfortunately it is not open now and plan to open in 2019.
Its presence adds a unique atmosphere to the street.
Kawagoe City History Museum
Address : 7-9 Saiwai-Cho, Kawagoe-shi, Saitama
There is also Kawagoe Matsuri Kaikan along the street although I didn’t take the picture.
This is a museum of Kawagoe festival.
You can enjoy and learn Kawagoe festival and its float inside.
Kawagoe City History Museum
Address : 2-1-10 Moto-Machi, Kawagoe-shi, Saitama
I went backstreet and happened to see small Ninja and Samurai Armor exhibition for free.
This was rare coincidence as I think this is only in limited time.
Not only Armors but the atmosphere surrounding it was great.
Went back to the main street.
Found post office.
Even post office looks unique.
Yes, there is a shop of Ghibli goods along the street.
Must-visit-place for Ghibli fans.
Donguri Kyouwakoku Kawagoe Shop
Address : 10-12 Saiwai-Cho, Kawagoe-shi, Saitama
Website : http://benelic.com/information/information.php?id=1100
There are some small shops inside.
You can enjoy soft cream. sweets, food,etc there.
I walked in.
Address : 2-1-3 Moto-Machi, Kawagoe-shi, Saitama
I was so hungry as I didn’t anything today.
So I bought rice dumpling along the street.
Soy sauce taste!
Came back to the start point of main street.
Here in the corner is famous beans shop Mameya and must-visit place.
You can taste various kinds of beans from salty beans to sweet beans.
I always come visit this Mameya and buy some beans.
I asked the clerk what’s the best?
She told me Kinako（Soybean flour) is most popular and the second is pepper.
I tasted both and yes certainly taste very good.
I bought both of them.
There are wasabi, maccha, curry, cheese,etc flavor, too and actually most of them are very good taste.
You would be big fan of bean if you come visit this Mameya.
Mameya Kawagoe Shop
Address : 5-13 Naka-Cho, Kawagoe-shi, Saitama
You can enjoy Edo atmosphere with its classical houses and shops here in Kawagoe.
It is just 30 minutes from Ikebukuro station in Tokyo by train.
My hometown was near Kawagoe that I often came visit here in Kawagoe just to hang out or to see a movie when I was little.
I think the traditional sweet shop that I bought candy in Kashiya Yokocho is the one I once came visit in elementary school outing as I still remember the scene vaguely.
There are not many people in those days like now.
I think anime and Drama made Kawagoe more popular.
Here Kawagoe is the one of the places you can touch Japan in old days.
And there are more places and shops to worth visiting that I couldn’t introduce here.
Oh, and I encountered Spider-Man who were playing the accordion on my way back in front of Koedo Kurari that I dropped by in the morning.
Mascot characters were still fine there.