探訪 [小江戸 川越 蔵の街]/

Exploring Kawagoe, Miniature Edo: a Town of Old-fashioned Warehouses

April 29, 2023


We made a half-day "time travel" to Kawagoe City, Saitama: known as a miniature Edo with its historical warehouses and an old-fashioned bell tower. Although the town was not so crowded with tourists due to the rainy weather, it was quite impressive with old and new buildings, and the air of hospitality.

At the starting point of the First Street. The shop's
decorative facade is unique.

A warehouse-type shop and modern Western-style
buildings are abreast.

TRADE MARKという文字が正面に見える「田中屋」のビル。
The letters “TRADE MARK” can be read at the front of
Tanaka-ya building. The Japanese is written form right to left.

A building with stained glasses and a colonnaded
front wall.

A small restaurant named “OHANA” whose specialties
are “fluffy rolled egg” and “Chicken and egg on rice.”
“Fine Lady’s Egg Sandwich” is also exquisite. You always
have to wait in a long line to be served.

A Japanese art museum next to a restaurant, "OHANA. "

An ironmonger Ogino Dou-Tetus Ten” established in 1893.

The mixture of old and new buildings in line in harmony
of height and styles.

ourists are walking mainly along the west side of the street.
In the east side are also characteristic shops.

The tiles of roofs can be found quite unique viewed from afar.

Shops of “fragrance,” “dried bonito,” and “pickles” are next
to each other.

タルと着付けも川越の売り物。/ 陶芸店「やまわ」の前を着物姿の
A woman wearing kimono walks in front of Yamawa, a pottery
shop. In Kawagoe, rental shops are providing sets of kimono
for Kawagoe-visit to both women and men.

In front of “FROMAGE,” a shop of cheese cake goes a rickshaw
for sightseeing.

“KAMEYA,” a Japanese cake shop. Kawagoe is famous for its
products of sweet potato.


People going to see "Toki-no-Kane," a wooden bell tower.

This is "Toki-no-Kane," a wooden bell tower looked up from
the bottom.

Under the bell tower is a shrine.

Along the lane where the bell tower is, there are cake shops.

“UMON,” a shop selling sweet potato cakes.

They sell “Imo-Koi,” (literally meaning “in love with sweet
potato”), steaming the cake at the shop front.

They are also famous, “sweet potato chips.” You can buy a cup
with your favorite dip for the crispy thin chips.

This is one of the “concept stores” of Starbucks, a Kawagoe
version. The design fits the atmosphere of the town.

A café hidden behind the rose bushes.

Here is one of the most loved areas in Kawagoe: “Kashi-ya
Yokochou,” literally meaning “the snack lane.” (Certainly I came for it!)


どの菓子も昔懐かしいような包装。巨大な麩菓子が気になる。/ Look at the old-fashioned packages of snacks. Can you see the large plastic bags containing enormous bars made of dried gluten? How I love them!

横丁入り口の一つ、角の綿菓子屋。/ One of the entrances into the snack-lane, there is a cotton candy shop at the corner.

ここにも「右門」の店がある。男の子も「いも恋」が気になるもよう。/ Here is a branch of “UMON,” the sweet potato cake shop. The boy seems interested in the cake "In love with sweet poratos."

ずらっと並んだ駄菓子の数々。どれも食べて見たくなる。/ All kinds of snacks in display. I would like to try them all.

「飴屋 松陸」。奥では飴を作るところをガラス越しに見学できる。試食もOK。/ “Candy Shop, MATSURIKU.” You can observe shop clerks are making candies inside, and it’s OK to try bits of candies.

手作り納豆とクラフトビールの店。鉄腕アトムがお出迎え。ここにも巨大な麩菓子が。/ Atom, the Astro-boy, welcomes you in front of a craft beer and natto shop.

菓子屋横丁の一角にある「鰻屋」。疎水に鯉が泳いでいる。鰻も川越名物。/ An eel- restaurant in a corner of Snack-Lane. In the stream are carps swimming. Eels are also famous in Kawagoe.

鰻屋をあちこちで見かけた。/ I found quite a number of eel-restaurants here and there in Kawagoe.

必ずしも古くはない店構えも街の雰囲気に合わせたデザイン。/ Comparatively new buildings are designed to go well along with other ones in this town.

電灯もレトロな印象で、街の個性を演出する。/ Lighting is made old-fashioned to produce the retrospective atmosphere of this town.

「都市景観形成地域」を解説するプレート。/A plate explaining the city’s town-scape policy.

「川越商工会議所」のビル。昭和2年(1927年)建立。文化庁の登録文化財。/ The building of Kawagoe Chamber of Commerce and Industry, established in 1927; one of the registered cultural properties by Agency for Cultural Affairs.

「古代ギリシャの列柱を思わせるドリス様式の柱と、バロックを思わせる玄関上の飾りなど、当時の金融関係が好んで建てたルネッサンス・リバイバル様式」 川越商工会議所サイトより引用。The building is described as the Renaissance Revival Style with its Doric posts reminding us of ancient Greek pillars and also with Baroque decoration upon the entrance. (quoted from the website of Kawagoe Chamber of Commerce and Industry.)

商工会議所前の商店街「大正ロマン夢通り」/ “Taisho Romantic Dream Street” beside the building of Kawagoe Chamber of Commerce and Industry

頭上には鯉幟がいっぱい泳いでいる。/ Numerous carp-streamers are swinging in the air.

洋品店「マドモアゼル ルウルウ」と天然純粋蜂蜜屋。ハチミツも川越名物のようだ。/ A dress shop “Mademoiselle Ru-Ru” and a natural honey shop. Honey is also a famous product of Kawagoe.

「大正ロマン夢通り」にも蔵造。/ A warehouse style building in  “Taisho Romantic Dream Street.”

和菓子の「いせや」のファサードも昔ながらの看板建築だ。/ The façade of Japanese cake shop “ISEYA” is old-fashioned decorative one.

「シマノコーヒ店大正館」と菓子「いせや」を正面から。/A shot of  “SHIMANO COFFEE SHOP” and “ISEYA” taken from their front.

建物の側面が蔦に覆われた「マドモアゼル ルウルウ」。/ The side of “Mademoiselle Ru-Ru” is covered with ivy.

「大成亭」のたこせんべいが気になって、とうとう購入。/ Finally I bought an octopus cracker sold at “TAISEI-TEI.”

街中を離れて「川越大師 喜多院」へ。/ Away from the bustling city center, we went to Kawagoe-Daishi, Kita-in Temple.

喜多院参道。/ The approach to Kita-in Temple.

喜多院「慈恵堂」前の大看板。/ A large plate signing “Kita-In” Temple, in front of Jikei-Dou.

境内の案内標識。/ Showing the directions to view spots.


「客殿」「書院」「庫裏」を拝観。屋内は撮影禁止のため、庭のみ撮影。目にも鮮やかな緑滴る庭園だった。/ As it was prohibited to take photos inside of the historic buildings, I got the shots of gardens which was full of fresh green leaves.

三石が配された一角。/ A corner where three significant rocks are placed.

「紅葉山庭園」の建物の屋根に猫が寝そべっていた。/ A cat was sleeping on a roof in Momijiyama Garden.

「五百羅漢」は苔むして、羅漢の一つ一つが異なる姿態と表情をしている。/ 500 Statues of Rakan are covered with moss. Each of 500 has different characteristic features.

4か国語で記された「五百羅漢」への案内板。/ A plate signing “500 Statues of Rakan” in 4 languages.

中央に座す釈迦如来。/Buddha is in the center of statues.

この羅漢さんはどうやら木魚を叩くお方のようだ。/ This statue seems to hit a wooden fish.

像に跨る石像。/ A statue riding an elephant.

隣同士で囁き合う羅漢さんたち。/ Statues whispering to each other.

見事な根方の樹木。/ A remarkable root of a tree.

向き合う羅漢さんたちは会議でもしているかのよう。/ Statues seem to be in a meeting discussing something face-to-face.

誰か似ている人に会えるかもしれないという。/ It is said that you might be able to find someone you want to meet in the statues.

喜多院から川越氷川神社へ。氷川神社の能舞台。/ This is a Noh stage in Hikawa Shrine, in the northern part of Kawagoe City.

川越氷川神社本殿。/ The main pavilion of Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine.

川越氷川神社本殿脇で見た縁起物の鯉。/ Carps, the bringers of good luck, displayed in Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine.

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