|川越市 · Kawagoe|
|• Mayor||Yoshiaki Kawai|
|• Total||109.16 km2 (42.15 sq mi)|
|Population (July 1, 2011)|
|• Density||3,150.66/km2 (8,160.2/sq mi)|
|Time zone||Japan Standard Time (UTC+9)|
Kawagoe was founded as a town Kawagoe-machi (川越町) on April 1, 1889, and became the first city in the prefecture on December 1, 1922.
The city is a satellite city of Tokyo but it is also the governmental, commercial and business centre of the southwestern (geographically it is central, but the administration and the public classify it as southwestern) Saitama Prefecture. It is a core city (and a business core city) designated by Japanese national government.
Kawagoe is famous for its sweet potatoes, and on the local "Candy Street" one can find such treats as sweet potato chips, sweet potato ice cream, sweet potato coffee, and even sweet potato beer, brewed at the local Koedo Brewery.
Some of its streets preserve the old castle town of the Edo period (17c to 19c.) Prominent sites in Kawagoe include the bell tower as seen in the picture to the right. The bell tower serves as the symbol for Koedo and rings three times a day. Other sites include the 500 Rakan statues at Kita-in, a prominent Buddhist temple. It is a popular gathering-spot for New Year celebrations. As midnight approaches on December 31, waits of nearly three hours are commonplace at the temple.
- Main station: Kawagoe Station
- JR East Kawagoe Line:
The city is known locally as "Little Edo" (小江戸 Koedo ) after the old name for Tokyo, "Edo". Kawagoe castle was the headquarters of the Kawagoe Domain and occupied by close aides of the Tokugawa shogunate. Most of the buildings were dismantled in the 1870s but some remained or were relocated.
Before it was merged with Saitama Prefecture in 1873, it was the capital of Kawagoe Prefecture (1871) then Iruma Prefecture (1871–1873).
The Bell of Time (時の鐘 Toki no kane ) is a bell tower originally built by the order of Sakai Tadakatsu (酒井 忠勝) between 1624 and 1644. The present structure goes back to 1894, a year after the Great Fire of Kawagoe. It is a three-story tower measuring 16 meters in height. The tower has been telling time to the city's residents for 350 years and has been deemed as a symbol of the city. Currently, the bell can be heard four times a day (6 a.m., 12 p.m., 3 p.m., and 6 p.m.).
The Confectionery Row (菓子屋横丁 Kashiya Yokochō ) is a small backstreet alley where a dozen stores sell old-fashioned cheap sweets and snacks, most of which are priced at less than 50 yen. The location was known as a neighborhood where scores of confectionery manufactures lined the alley. Many tourists come here to enjoy the nostalgic atmosphere of the early Showa period.
The Kurazukuri Street (蔵造りの町並み Kurazukuri no machinami ) is a section of a street lined with traditional warehouses constructed in a style called kurazukuri (蔵造り) and maintains the style of the Edo period. The city of Kawagoe started seeing kurazukuri-style warehouses in the aftermath of a great fire that consumed one-third of the old Kawagoe in 1893. Within and beyond the Kurazukuri Street, many warehouses from the 18th and 19th centuries can still be seen. The Kawagoe Kurazukuri Museum is located in a traditional warehouse built in 1893 and allows its visitors to walk around inside and experience the life of Edo merchants.
Kawagoe Festival is held every year on the third Saturday and Sunday of October. In 2005, it was designated as a "National Important Intangible Folk Cultural Property".
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