Known as “Little Edo”, Kawagoe (川越) was both a strategic post in the Kanto region and a key trading point for merchants during the Edo period (1603-1868). Today the main attraction is the line of well-preserved warehouses (kurazukuri) which were used by merchants to store their goods and wares. It is thought that at one point Kawagoe was home to over 200 of these structures and, although a fire in 1893 claimed one third of the town, many survive today (some have stood for over 200 years). Check out the Tourist Association’s guide map here (PDF download).
Things to Do
“Penny Candy Alley” is a street lined with about 20 shops selling traditional Japanese sweets and candy. Kawagoe is known for its sweet potatoes which are cut into sticks, fried, and salted.
Housed in one of the warehouses, this small museum displays the tools used by the merchants and provides a glimpse into life in Kawagoe during the Edo period. Limited amount to see inside, but worth stopping in at as you wander down the street.
Toki no Kane Bell Tower is one of the most prominent structures in the warehouse district. It rings four times a day at 6am, noon, 3pm, and 6pm.