Enjoy Good Old Japan at Recommended Tourist Spots in the Koedo Kawagoe Area
Kawagoe is called "Koedo" (small Edo) in contrast to Tokyo, which is Oedo (large Edo). It is a popular tourist destination where the townscape from the Edo period (1603-1867) still remains. Here are some recommended spots from its many famous places.
Toki no Kane
Toki no Kane is a Kawagoe icon. It was built during the Kan'ei era (1624-1644) at the beginning of the Edo period. Since clocks were not yet common at the time, the tower played the role of communicating the time to people in Kawagoe Castle and the surrounding castle town. The clock still chimes four times a day, so that people can enjoy the nostalgic sound. It is also an architecturally rare building that retains visages of the Edo period.
This is an area with many buildings in a style called "kurazukuri." Kurazukuri is a style of fireproof architecture that was ingeniously calculated to prevent fires from spreading. They are valuable structures that retain features of the Edo period that can no longer be seen in Tokyo, and there are more than 30 shops in this style in this area. It is designated as a Important Preservation Districts for Groups of Traditional Buildings protected by the Japanese government.
Kashiya Yokocho is an area with a nostalgic aura. This area developed when several sweet shops moved from Tokyo, which had been damaged by a large earthquake at the beginning of the Meiji period (1868-1912), to produce and sell candies. Over the years, there was a time when there were as many as 70 candy shops in the area. Today, a dozen or more candy stores remain in operation, giving us a sense of the past.
These shops sell ame candy and rice crackers that evoke a sense of nostalgia for the Japanese. Some of them are made in the store, so you can see how they are being made.
Kitain is a famous temple of the Tendai sect of Buddhism that was established in 830. Almost all of the buildings on the grounds are designated as Important Cultural Properties and the temple possesses many valuable arts and crafts. The 500 Statues of Rakan (representing the commendable and respectable disciples of Buddha), each with their unique expressions and movements, and the statue of Daikokuten, which is revered as a deity that can endow provisions and riches, are particularly famous. The temple attracts many worshipers at the New Year for hatsumode (first visit to a shrine or temple of the year) and in the spring and fall for the beautiful cherry blossoms and foliage.
Kawagoe Castle Honmaru Goten
The honmaru goten of Kawagoe Castle was built in 1848. The honmaru goten is the central building of a castle that includes the lord's residence, office, and rooms for vassals. Today, the entrance to the honmaru goten at Kawagoe Castle and the chief retainer's station have been moved and renovated and can be visited. This is the only honmaru goten remaining in the Kanto area. In addition to the remains that are valuable even at the national level, there are exhibits of furnishings from the time.
General: 100 JPY, University and high school students 50 JPY
Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine
This is a shrine that is famous as a matchmaking power spot. It is a historic shrine that was established about 1,500 years ago, and is said to have matchmaking powers and are able to grant wishes for happy families as the enshrined deities are a married couple. The unique omikuji fortune-telling slips that are in the shape of sea bream, thought to be fortuitous in Japan, and hooked using a fishing pole and the cute omamori amulet called "enmusubidama" (matchmaking ball) are popular.
One of the secrets to Kawagoe's popularity is its location at easy access just one hour from the center of Tokyo. Please take a trip out to see it!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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