Kawagoe tour spots with nostalgic atmosphere of ancient Edo-Era in Saitama prefecture



I visited several tourist spots in Kawagoe city such as Kura-machi street , Kawagoe-castle, Hikawa-Shrines and so-on on the other day. Kawagoe city is located around 45km north-west from Tokyo station by 1 hour train riding.  Recently, many foreigners are visiting this area to feel Japanese traditional atmosphere such as streets with many Kura Storehouses, ancient castle, Shrines and so-on.

In Edo era (1603-1868), Kawagoe feudal clan was regarded as the defense place located north from Edo capital. Therefore, the leading feudal loads were assigned for the clan. After the big fire occurred in 1638 by which 1/3 of castle town was burned out, the feudal load at that time-frame executed to re-arrange and constructed the castle town including Kawagoe castle and Shingashigawa-river.
After that, Kawagoe had began to expand as the stopping point of distribution by which the local Kawagoe crops and special products were transferred to Edo (capital of Japan at that timeframe). On the other hand, the latest culture was transferred from Edo to Kawagoe. That is why Kawagoe has been called as “Koedo”.
However, Kawagoe big fire occurred again in 1897 and almost all of the center town of Kawagoe had burned out. Then, Merchants in Kawagoe town had tried to build the houses built like Kura as strong durability. Current remaining Kura street atmosphere is the remains of those Merchants efforts.

After you get out from the station of Kawagoe, you will at first see the shopping street named Crea mall. It is stretching by around 1km long and that is the most bustling street of Kawagoe city. A lot of people come here everyday to enjoy many kinds of gourmet , fashion and shopping through many kinds of stores.

After you walk through Crea Mall of shopping street and Taisho Roman Yume-dori street, you will find Kura store houses street where there are many houses built like a Kura with the walls covered in mud lined in the Kura-machi street which show the atmosphere of Edo Era (1603 ~ 1868). 
Those houses have massive scale of opening doors and solid tile roofs which show the spirit of merchants in Edo era.

While walking through the street, you will find the symbol of Kawagoe as “Tokinokane/hour bell”. This is said to be built in Edo era by the feudal lord of Kawagoe who is said to be strict punctual load and the bell has still announced the time to Kawagoe citizen.

After you go through the Kura-machi street  to west by around 10 minutes walking, you will reach Honmaru palace of Kawagoe castle which was built in 1848 by the feudal load at that time and a part of the palace has been remained as it was. This Honmaru palace is the only remains in the east of Japan. By entering the gorgeous large entrance, you will find a long corridor stretching right and left and many Japanese style hall welcome you which were prepared for each roles of warriors.

Also, by walking around 5 minutes from the palace, you will reach Hikawa-shrine which is the local Shinto deity of Kawagoe. The deity of this shrine is Ohikawa-sama who has been worshipped and well known from many people.
The benefits of this Shrine are said to be matrimonial happiness, family happiness and matchmaking.
The sacred tree which has continued to survive for 600 years can bee seen inside the Shrine.
You can see lots of Ema on which many worshippers wrote various prayers and wishes for above hopes shown in below photo.

In near the back of Hikawa-shrine, we can find the river named as Shingashigawa which used to be a main artery as flow of goods between Edo and Kawagoe. This river is flowing by surrounding Kawagoe city.
In April, you can enjoy Cherry blossoms viewing along the river.

As described above, you can feel nostalgic atmosphere of Edo-Era while you are walking around Kawagoe tour spots above.  
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Bonsai & Koedo tour in Saitama

                  By Kashima