In this page, I would like to introduce some of my favorite places in the Kanto area. These places are chosen strictly based on my taste and are not necessarily "secret" places that you wouldn't be able to find in a guide book. I hope you like them as much as I do and that you will be able to visit them someday. And if you ever do visit them, let me know what you think of them.





Kawagoe
The first "favorite place" I would like to introduce to you is, of course, my city Kawagoe! Located in central Saitama Prefecture, Kawagoe developed as a castle town. The city still has traditional warehouse style merchant houses called Kurazukuri, built of thin wooden poles and clay, and it has become a popular sightseeing spot. On weekends people swarm to this antique city to enjoy the atmosphere of the Edo period (1603-1867). In fact, the nickname of Kawagoe is Koedo (Little Edo ; Tokyo was formerly called Edo until 1867, when the Edo period ended) because of the strong cultural influence from Edo. This city is also known for its festival held annually in Oct.



Kawagoe castle

This is a picture of Kawagoe castle. It may look different from the image of castles that you may have , but this is still a castle.



                                                                            Tokinokane                            
Tokino Kane (the bell tower) has become the symbol of Kawagoe. The tower was first built in 1624, but the present tower was rebuilt after a great fire in 1893. The bell is still rung four times a day.





Kurazukuri






Pictures of the street, lined with kurazukuri (Japanese wearhouse-style house). Kurazukuri were invented as a result of fires that had repeatedly preyed on wooden houses. The construction of these houses is said to have begun in the early 18th century, but the oldest one remaining today dates from 1792. At one time there were more than 200 of those houses, but now only about 30 remain, and most of them house merchants.





Kashiya yokocho
There is a section called Kashiya yokocho in downtown Kawagoe that is filled with shops that make and sell traditional Japanese sweets.At its peak there were about 70 shops but now only a little over 10 shops remain.For a man like me who has a weakness for sweet things, this place is a dream-come-true .



Kashiya yokochoo is not big at all. It is only a small area where several sweet shops line a narrow street.


This is a close-up shot of sweets sold at one shop. It's hard to explain what they are. So I recommend that you try them for yourself. ;-)






Kitain temple
Although it is a little far from where the Kurazukuri houses are(about 20-minutes walk), Kitain is a temple worth stopping by if you ever have the chance to visit Kawagoe. The temple has a long history and if you decide to go into the museum, which is actually part of the temple grounds, you can get a glimpse of what Edo castles looked like from the inside, since the part of the temple that houses the museum was transferred from the Edo castle. (Edo castle was the castle in which the Tokugawa shogun family lived for about 260 years. Now the Imperial Palace is located on the grounds where Edo Castle stood .)


A picture of the main hall of Kitain temple.
Entrance of the museum..






Gohyakurakan
These are pictures of Gohyakurakan, the five hundred enlightened.It is said that those five hundred sacred people gathered after the death of Buddha to discuss the compilation of Buhhda's teaching. Not many other temples in Japan have as many gohyakurakan as this temple does.".


It's said that the one that feels warmth to your hand when you
touch them reflects your personality or state of mind that you
are in. Whether you believe it or not is up to you. :-)



So if the story is really true and if the statue feels warm to
your touch, then "you must be depressed."Hmmc.
                
                      
I didn't know even an enlightened person picks his
nose! What does this tell about a person who feels
warmth when he touches it, I wonder.... :-)




Nomino ichi
For the past few years the whole country has had antique fever which was started by a TV program in which antique experts tell how much the goods brought in by people are worth if sold. On the 28th of each month, a flea market is held in a temple called Naritasan. People flock to the temple, trying to find something they like, or possibly a treasure that is worth lots of money. If you live near Kawagoe, please take a look at it. It will be fun!
                              




                                 






               


Your participation is vital in making this page interesting, so please tell me
(and others on the message board!) your favorite places in Japan. I will visit these
places, taking pictures and posting them here as my time permits.


If you would like for me to use the pictures that you took, please send them to me.
The pictures will be returned
.



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