Kawagoe: Little Edo and Candy Alley

In early spring I visited Kawagoe in Saitama Prefecture. It is lovingly referred to by locals as Ko-Edo, or Little Edo. There you will find streets lined with warehouses and stores constructed during the Edo period. These stores are still open, bustling with tourists who want a nostalgic glimpse into an era past.


01-DSCN8029

10-DSCN8060

11-DSCN8061

07-DSCN8057

Pictured above is toki no kane, the town clock. It still sounds four times a day.

02-DSCN8031

Miss Kitty in her finest.

03-DSCN8034

12-DSCN8065

08-DSCN8058

09-DSCN8059

Pictured above is dango. Super chewy lightly sweetened Japanese favorite made from rice flour.

23-DSCN8087

24-DSCN8088

26-IMG_0883

04-DSCN8043

Grilled rice.

15-DSCN8069

25-IMG_0880

28-IMG_0898

06-DSCN8055

Tasty duck sold by a silly, sublimely happy old man. He made lots of fun faces.

05-DSCN8046

Pictured above are not sweets, but chopstick holders!

21-DSCN8079

22-DSCN8085

At only thirty minutes from Ikebukuro on the Yamanote, I was surprised by the lack of crowds. Add it to the plus list of visiting Saitama.

As a castle town, there is a lot of history you can soak up, even in the small district that makes up Little Edo. There are two bus companies that offer tours for 200-300, but the area is so small that you can really just walk it. If it was a hot sticky day maybe I would have gone in for a tour.

Fortunately, it was a balmy early spring day and I wanted the sun on my face as I browsed the seemingly endless stalls of food. Besides, I was less interested in the history of the town that I sporadically decided to visit and much more interested in what I came for: Kashiya Yokocho. That means confectionary alley.

As in candy.

A whole alley dedicated to traditional Japanese candy.

13-DSCN8066

14-DSCN8068

18-DSCN8073

19-DSCN8074

20-DSCN8077

27-IMG_0896

16-DSCN8070

Make your own candy.

17-DSCN8071

I wish I could say that samples were endless and that sugar gushed through the streets, but that is not accurate. It was quite tame, the Japanese as reserved as ever, nothing like the Willy Wonka scenes I had conjured in my mind.

And Japanese sweets aren’t the kind that would drip with sugar or artificial food dyes like Mr. Wonka sells. Japanese sweets are subtle. I mean think about all those red beans they use in sweets. Not exactly cavity-inducing.

What does this mean for American Liz who was raised on white bread and processed sugar? Well it means that she can eat even more candy.

So I did.

 

Advertisements

8 thoughts on “Kawagoe: Little Edo and Candy Alley

  1. You were lucky it wasn’t crowded. It often is, especially on weekends and/or when they have festivals on. They often close the main road to traffic to deal with the throngs of pedestrians. There is so much to see in Kawagoe and lots of seasonal events. Did you get to Kitain and HIkawa shrine or the free soy factory tour … if you come back I recommend those. :-) Hikawa shrine has its annual wind chime display starting soon and around tanabata they have the place decked out in festive colours. Kitain is wonderful all year round, but especially in spring and autumn. The pagoda looks magnificent against the cherry blossoms, and Iemitsu’s house gardens are spectacular in Autumn: http://insaitama.com/autumn-leaves-at-edo-castle-remains-kitain-temple/

    Nice post, glad to have stumbled upon it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Elle, thanks so much for your response! It is difficult to imagine that place crowded. I’m glad I lucked out! Annual wind chime display?? That sounds amazing! I literally only walked around and ate food. I have simple needs. But the soy tour and windchimes I think will bring me back! Thanks for the advice :)

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s