Exploring Kawagoe Old Town Area
There is a quarter in the central part of Kawagoe City, where streets constructed in the Edo period remain intact. This quarter is a popular spot for tourists visiting Saitama. You will see a row of storehouses within walking distance from Kawagoe Station.
Each storehouse is alike, but, actually, they are all different in structure. These unique storehouses make up a stately street. Many of the storehouses are still operating as shops. Visitors will feel as if they were shopping in town in the Edo period. You will see a bell on the street of storehouses. This bell has been telling the time to the townspeople through the ages. The bell, which was burned out by fire and rebuilt many times, conveys the remnants of its beauty as a symbol of Kawagoe, loved by the townspeople since the Edo period. There is a side street just behind the bell, called Kashiya Yokocho (lit. a confectionery alley). This precious alley still maintains the atmosphere of an old Japanese shopping mall, rarely found these days. The fragrant baking smell of rice crackers and sweet smell of confectionary waft through this alley. The Ministry of the Environment recognizes Kashiya Yokocho as one of Japan's 100 Most Fragrant Landscapes. Visitors will feel the atmosphere of the simple but fantastic old Japanese street from the fragrance of confectionery harmonized with the salespeople's voices calling out for prospective customers. There are many other must-see places in Kawagoe, such as Kita-in and Miyoshino Shrine. Kita-in is a temple closely associated with the Tokugawa Shogun. This temple has the statues of Five Hundred Rakan, disciples of the Buddha, and most of the buildings of the temple are designated national cultural assets. Legend has it that Miyoshino Shrine served as a stage for "Toryanse," a Japanese children's song.