Kawagoe – The Bell of Time

Kawagoe is located about 30 minutes by train from Ikebukuro (in central Tokyo) and is suitable as a day trip destination.
Welcome to Kawagoe!
Its main street, lined with Kurazukuri – clay-walled warehouse-styled buildings, retains an ambiance reminiscent of an old town from the Edo Period and allows us to imagine the streets from past centuries. 
Kawagoe is known as Little Edo
Thereby, Kawagoe became known as “Little Edo”.
Kurazukuri warehouse buildings
During the Edo Period, Kawagoe prospered as a supplier of commodities to Tokyo – then named: Edo.
As Kawagoe was an important city to the capital for trade and strategic purposes, the shogun installed some of their most loyal men as lords of Kawagoe Castle.
Close ties ensued between the two cities and over the years and Kawagoe eventually inherited many aspects of the Edo culture and architecture.
And there you have it – The history of Kawagoe.
Today we make a trip to Kawagoe! 🙂
Its been raining quite a bit lately…
Upon arriving, many taxis fill the area on a wet, gloomy day!
We will be heading to the Warehouse District first.
On our way there, many historical buildings will be greeting us; giving us a small glimpse of what “Little Edo” was like.
And finally about to approach our first stop; 
Kawagoe’s Warehouse District
At one glance, one might mistake this for a well
Warehouse District
Kurazukuri no Machinami
Kawagoe’s Warehouse District provides a nostalgic scene from the Edo Period. 
“It’s cold and I’m falling sick…”  =(
The “Kura” in the word “Kurazukuri” means “Warehouse” in Japanese, and Kurazukuri are clay-walled warehouse-styled buildings that are constructed with an Edo architectural flavor.
Kawagoe has many “must-try” delicacies!
In the old days, Kawagoe was an important commercial town supplying resources to Edo. 
Thanks to the thriving trade, many merchants grew wealthy enough to build not only their warehouses but also their stores in the Kurazukuri style, more so than it was usual in other towns. 
Some of the buildings managed to survive to this day.
Yum yummy yum, munch munchy munch!
Mostly now housing shops and restaurants, they can be found along the main Kurazukuri Street which stretches on for about a couple hundreds of meters long.
In the past, Japanese cities consisted almost exclusively of wooden buildings, which made them vulnerable to fires. 
The method of Kurazukuri construction specially meant to be used to make both to make a structure fireproof and to secure it against intruders, at the same time. 
They were very expensive to build, as their construction involved making thick walls consisting of several layers. 
There were many western inspired buildings too!
Thanks to the prosperous trade with Edo, the merchants of Kawagoe flourished, and many showed their wealth by building as good-looking a structure as they could afford.
Walking on…we see the Bell of Time in the Distance!
We tried all ways to get to it, to overcome all obstacles hardship…and that also includes…climbing steep ladders??!
Okay, bad joke..
Bell of Time
Toki no Kane
This is the Bell of Time in Kawagoe
Just a short distance from the main street stands the Bell Tower, a landmark and symbol of Kawagoe. It chimes four times a day.
The tower was rebuilt in 1894, after the Great Kawagoe Fire of 1893 had destroyed the previous structure.
♖   ♖
Kawagoe Kurazukuri Museum
One of the interesting houses which is open to the public for visiting is the Kawagoe Kurazukuri Museum. 
The museum is housed in what seems to be a a tobacco wholesaler’s shop. Yum!!
Kawagoe Kurazukuri Museum with 1:1 scaled replicas
Visitors can have a closer view of what a Kurazukuri building looks from the inside beyond the store front. Some of the exhibits include traditional machines used in the past.
The museum is located along the main street.
The  Kawagoe Kurazukuri Museum also introduces visitors to the history and culture of Kawagoe. 
It houses exhibits from the ancient times to modern times.
Kurazukuri Museum is alot of fun! There’s lots to see and do!
Through excavated relics, preserved artifacts, models and actual-sized replicas, visitors can travel through time and learn about the changes in the city.
The process of building Kurazukuri structures is explained with a model of it, which reveals the various unique layers involved in its construction.
Other models include a geographical representation of the former castle town, illustrating how Kawagoe took shape over the centuries.
From about the 17th century, ties between Kawagoe and Edo began to deepen, and a lot of Kawagoe’s cultural heritage had been influenced by the Edo culture. 
Visitors will definitely be able to learn about how Kawagoe became known as “Little Edo” here.
After visiting the Kawagoe Kurazukuri Museum, we said our goodbyes and went separate ways.
Sato, Tanaka, Suzuki & Hamada
We looked for a place to have lunch before continuing our visit to another museum close by.
Really like the “warehouse themed” buildings in Kawagoe!
Came across a really cozy looking place serving Kawagoe’s speciality; Unadon – and decided that’s where we were doing to have our early lunch!
Unadon  is a dish that originated from Japan.
It consists of a Donburi type large bowl filled with steamed white rice, and topped with fillets of Eel grilled in a style known as kabayaki, similar to teriyaki.
The fillets are glazed with a sweetened soy-based sauce, called tare and caramelized, preferably over charcoal fire. The fillets are not flayed, and the grayish skin side is placed faced down. 
Plenty of the tare sauce is poured over so that some of it seeps through the rice underneath.
Most often, pulverized dried berries of sanshō or also, more commonly known as Japanese pepper are sprinkled on top as seasoning.
After we were done with our delicious bowls of Unadon, we continued on to our next destination – Kawagoe Festival Museum and the “Candy Alley”!
Tickets for the Kawagoe Festival Museum
I’ll be covering these in the next part, so stay tuned for Part 2!
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About Joshua Hideki

Hi! I'm Hideki. You can call me Josh! ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ Welcome!!~ This is a Travel Blog covering Japan, and many other bits & pieces of my personal life. Photography, Blogging, Fashion & Traveling in Style. A travel guide for everyone with these passions. Absorb the mesmerizing atmosphere, take in amazing sights & let the enchanting ambiance take you away as you embrace different cultures & see the world through my eyes - my Eternal Memories. Visit my Blog at: JoshuaHideki.com ! Come discover Japan from the inside with me and also we'll provide you with the best destinations to visit; and that includes the rest of the World too! Please enjoy! Discover Japan & Travel the World with me!! Life is precious, you only have one so live it to the fullest!

5 thoughts on “Kawagoe – The Bell of Time

  1. Nice photos ; D

  2. […] Part 1 covered the Warehouse District; the Bell of Time, and the Kawagoe Kurazukuri Museum.  Kawagoe- The Bell of Time In Part 2, we visited the Kawagoe Festival Museum & Candy Alley before heading to Honmaru […]

  3. […] also one of Japan’s 47 prefectures, consisting of 23 central city wards and multiple cities, towns and villages west of the city center. The Izu Peninsula and Ogasawara Islands are also part of […]

  4. […] This interfaith alliance lasted until the Meiji restoration (1868-1912), when the government established Shinto as the state religion and ordered the separation of Buddhism and Shinto. (See and learn more of the Meiji restoration in my previous post, on Japan’s history)  http://joshuahideki.com/edo/ http://joshuahideki.com/kawagoe-the-bell-of-time/ […]

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