Kawagoe, Saitama

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Kawagoe
川越市
Core city
Traditional alley in Kawagoe
Traditional alley in Kawagoe
Flag of Kawagoe
Flag
Official seal of Kawagoe
Seal
Location of Kawagoe in Saitama Prefecture
Location of Kawagoe in Saitama Prefecture
Kawagoe is located in Japan
Kawagoe
Kawagoe
Location of Kawagoe in Saitama Prefecture
Coordinates: 35°55′30.5″N 139°29′8.8″E / 35.925139°N 139.485778°E / 35.925139; 139.485778Coordinates: 35°55′30.5″N 139°29′8.8″E / 35.925139°N 139.485778°E / 35.925139; 139.485778
Country Japan
Region Kantō
Prefecture Saitama Prefecture
Area
 • Total 109.13 km2 (42.14 sq mi)
Population (February 2016)
 • Total 350,421
 • Density 3,210/km2 (8,300/sq mi)
Time zone Japan Standard Time (UTC+9)
- Tree Oak
- Flower Kerria
- Bird Goose
Phone number 049-224-8811
Address 1-3-1 Motomachi, Kawagoe-shi, Saitama-ken 350-8601
Website www.city.kawagoe.saitama.jp
Kawagoe City Hall

Kawagoe (川越市 Kawagoe-shi?) is a city in Saitama Prefecture, in the central Kantō region of Japan. As of 1 February 2016, the city had an estimated population of 350,541 and a population density of 3,210 persons per km². Its total area was 109.13 km². The city is known locally as "Little Edo" (小江戸 Koedo?) after the old name for Tokyo, due to its many historic buildings.

Geography[edit]

Located in the Musashino Terrace of central Saitama Prefecture, both the Arakawa and the Tamagawa Rivers flow through the city, which is approximately 30 kilometers from downtown Tokyo.

Surrounding municipalities[edit]

History[edit]

During the Edo period Kawagoe Castle was the headquarters of the Kawagoe Domain under the Tokugawa shogunate. After the Meiji restoration, it briefly became capital of Kawagoe Prefecture (1871) then Iruma Prefecture (1871–1873), before becoming part of Saitama Prefecture.

The modern town of Kawagoe was created within Iruma District, Saitama with the establishment of the municipalities system on April 1, 1889. A large part of the town was destroyed in a fire on May 13, 1893 and was rebuilt with many structures using construction techniques of traditional kura warehouses. On December 1, 1922 Kawagoe merged with neighboring Senba Village, and was elevated to city status, with a population of 30,359. It was the first municipality in Saitama Prefecture to receive city status.[citation needed]

The village of Tanomozawa was annexed in 1939. The city escaped World War II with only minor damage. The city expanded in 1955 by annexing the villages of Yoshino, Furuya, Minamifuruya, Takashina, Fukuhara, Daito, Kasumigseki, Naguwashi and Yamada. In December 1999, the old core of Kawagoe was designated a Historic Preservation District. On April 1, 2003, Kawagoe was designated a core city with increased local autonomy.

Education[edit]

Universities and colleges[edit]

Primary and secondary education[edit]

Kawagoe has one private and 33 public elementary schools, 22 public middle schools and four private combined middle/high schools. The city has eight public and three private high schools. Kawagoe also has three special education schools.

Transportation[edit]

Rail[edit]

Kawagoe Station in March 2016

Highway[edit]

Cycling[edit]

The city of Kawagoe operates a bicycle sharing scheme in the city centre, with eight pickup/parking locations.[1]

Twin towns and sister cities[edit]

Kawagoe is twinned with the following six municipalities in Japan and worldwide.[2]

Japan[edit]

Worldwide[edit]

Local attractions[edit]

Kawagoe Bell Tower

Kawagoe is famous for its sweet potatoes, and the local "Candy Street" sells 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 (17th to 19th centuries).

Sights[edit]

Kawagoe Festival
  • Bell of Time (時の鐘 Toki no kane?) is a bell tower originally built on the orders 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 AM, 12 PM, 3 PM and 6 PM) [5]
  • 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.[6]
  • Kurazukuri Street (蔵造りの町並み Kurazukuri no machinami?) is 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.[7] The artisan shops in the area include Machikan, a sword and knife manufacturer in operation for generations.[8]

Festivals[edit]

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".[9]

Notable people from Kawagoe[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 川越市自転車シェアリングを実施します [Kawagoe to introduce bicycle sharing scheme] (in Japanese). Japan: City of Kawagoe. 2013. Retrieved 13 January 2014. 
  2. ^ 姉妹友好都市交流 [Twin cities] (in Japanese). Japan: Kawagoe International Center. 2003. Retrieved 29 November 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "International Exchange". List of Affiliation Partners within Prefectures. Council of Local Authorities for International Relations (CLAIR). Retrieved 21 November 2015. 
  4. ^ "US-Japan Sister Cities by State". Asia Matters for America. Honolulu, HI: East-West Center. Retrieved 20 November 2015. 
  5. ^ Kawagoe City website. Retrieved on 5 September 2008
  6. ^ Kawagoe City website. Retrieved on 4 September 2008
  7. ^ Kawagoe Kuradukuri Museum website. Retrieved on 4 September 2008
  8. ^ The Traditionalist Afar magazine
  9. ^ Kawagoe Festival official website Retrieved 21 January 2013

External links[edit]