There are many cities or towns in Japan nicknamed “Little Kyoto”, but a few are called “Little Ed”. Among them Kawagoe is the most famous, which means it had a close relationship with Edo.
Visiting Kawagoe is a 50-minute trip by train from Shinjuku. It used to be a very important place for protecting the northern region in the early Edo period, with the result that a confidant of Tokugawa shogun was dispatched. This was 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 Sumida River. Therefore goods and materials collected here from norther Kanto area were carried by boat to Edo Castle.
Kita-in Temple was founded in 830. During the Edo period, under favor of the strong ties to Tokugawa Shogunate, parts of the rooms were relocated here from the Edo Castle grounds and have remained as they were.
Tahoto Tower and Sammon gate in the precinct of Kita-in.
Gohyaku Rakan (500 Disciples of Buddha) in Kita-in are stone statues. They have so many countenances that it is said that you might encounter your acquaintance here.
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
Japanese used to store valuable items in strong houses called “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 Little Edo.
The festival with a history of more than 360 years is held in mid-October. Floats with huge, elaborate figures on the top with a Japanese orchestra parade throughout this zone. One is displayed in the nearby museum.
⓪ Hon-kawagoe Station
① Kita-in temple
② Honmaru Goten of Kawagoe Castle
③ Kashiya Yokocho
④ Kurazukuri Zone
⑤ Toki no Kane