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.
Pictured above is toki no kane, the town clock. It still sounds four times a day.
Miss Kitty in her finest.
Pictured above is dango. Super chewy lightly sweetened Japanese favorite made from rice flour.
Tasty duck sold by a silly, sublimely happy old man. He made lots of fun faces.
Pictured above are not sweets, but chopstick holders!
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.
Make your own candy.
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.