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Kawagoe Koedo Machi

  • If you are in Tokyo and itching for an Edo experience outside the metropolis, why not head over to Kawagoe Koedo Machi? Within an hour, you’ll be in Kawagoe’s Kurazukuri no Machinami or warehouse district. Lined with the ancient kura (warehouses) from the Edo period, this area has a rustic feel coupled with the merchant life.

    Makes sense, considering Kawagoe used to be an important commercial hub that fed nearby Tokyo plenty of resources. The buildings remaining represent the enormous wealth these merchants built up with their trade. Not all of the buildings used to be kura however. Some were simply shops or restaurants fashioned in the same style.

    The thick walls and many layers of these Kurazukuri buildings protected these wealthy merchants from fires and burglars alike. And it’s no accident that these walls are fashionable. The merchants withheld no expense when constructing these kura.

    Kawagoe Koedo Machi

    Kawagoe Koedo Machi

    Walk through this district, and you can imbibe this air of history and commercial success. Close by is the bell tower that rings four times a day, keeping locals focused throughout the centuries. The bell tower overlooks the famous Candy Alley, a road lined with 20 or so shops dedicated to selling unique, traditional flavored candies hailing from the Meiji Period.

    Kawagoe Koedo Machi

    Kawagoe Koedo Machi

    To get a view of the kura buildings from the inside, we recommend dropping by the Kurazukuri Museum. Located along the main street, you can check out some of the machines used in the past. The building itself used to be a tobacco wholesaler’s shop. Don’t worry; the only smell you’ll be smelling is one of Edo history.

    Kawagoe Koedo Machi

    Kawagoe Koedo Machi

    Among these distinctively designed kura filled with izakaya and cafes, you can experience the Kawagoe Festival during the third weekend of October. Beginning more than 370 years ago, this festival is a recreation of the Edo Tenka Matsuri. With massive floats being carried around the warehouse district, a music battle ensues at the highlight moment known as hikkawase. The floats perform hayashi, essentially a Japanese orchestra, complete with drums, flutes and dancing. The crowd doesn’t hesitate to join in with their voices. The kurazukuri provides a perfect space for this momentous experience.

    Kawagoe Koedo Machi

    Kawagoe Koedo Machi

    During your stroll around the warehouse district, try out some of Kawagoe’s famous sweet potato based food. Known as the City of Sweet Potatoes, you can source most of Japan’s sweet potatoes to Kawagoe. Despite the reduction in harvest over the years, there are still plenty of meals you can find during your time in the district that will fill you up like no other. Beyond roasting and steaming, in Kawagoe, you’ll find a multitude of preparation styles. Think of potato soba and udon noodles. Potato desserts. Potato Kaiseki. It’s all here.

    Kawagoe Koedo Machi

    Kawagoe Koedo Machi

    Overall, the greatest appeal of the Warehouse District in Kawagoe is the air of history. You’ll find yourself walking through a street lined with Edo Period buildings that retain their wealthy aura. Beautifully designed shops, restaurants, cafes and residencies populate the district while the bell tower sings at key times in the day. Grab a roasted sweet potato and take a stroll in the kurazukuri in Koedo Machi.

    Kawagoe
    Address
    Saitama Pref. Kawagoeshi Wakitahonchou
    Phone
    Kashiya Yokocho (Candy Shop Alley)
    Address
    Saitama Pref. Kawagoeshi Motomachi 2-7
    Phone
    Time Bell Tower
    Address
    Saitama Pref. Kawagoeshi Saiwaichou 15-7
    Phone
    049-222-5556
    Kawagoe Kuradukuri Museum
    Address
    Saitama Pref. Kawagoeshi Saiwaichou 7-9
    Phone
    0492254287
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