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With its main street, lined by massive kurazukuri (warehouse style) buildings, the former castle town of Kawagoe has retained a certain atmosphere reminiscent of past centuries. Consequently, the city has been nicknamed "Little Edo" (Edo is Tokyo’s former name).

Kawagoe was destroyed by a fire in 1893. Some districts had to be entirely rebuilt at that time. Warehouses (kura) storing valuable goods were reconstructed with fire-proof clay-walls, composed of several layers. These are called kurazukuri and many of them surviving to this day have been designated as national treasures.

Most of the 200 kurazukuri of Kawagoe are clustered along Kurazukuri Street, 15min walk north of Hon-Kawagoe Station

Kawagoe is an easy day excursion from Tokyo, only half an hour northwest of Ikebukuro.




Another attraction of Kawagoe is the Kita-in Temple (below), once a major headquarters of the Buddhist Tendai sect. The temple was founded in 830. In the 16th and 17th century, its head priest, Tenkai became a consultant to the three first Tokugawa shogun, and is said to have reached the venerable age of 108.

In 1638, the temple burned down and Tokugawa Iemitsu donated some structures from Edo Castle to the Kita-in. A canal was even built on purpose to convey them all the way from Edo to Kawagoe. Some of these structures, including one said to be Iemitsu's birthplace, can still be seen today.

The lively Kawagoe festival is held on 14 and 15 October each year.


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