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Goin’ Japanesque!

9 Historic Buildings in Kawagoe on a Stroll, Reminiscent of Edo Period

Kawagoe City, Saitama Prefecture, is approximately 30 minutes away from Ikebukuro, Tokyo by train. The city preserves Japanese history and culture of the past, and it is called “Ko-Edo”. Streets lined with kurazukuri style architeture and other historic buildings enjoy particularly high reputation. Because this area preserves buildings with high historical values that can rarely be seen elsewhere, it is designated as one of the Important Preservation Districts for Groups of Historic Buildings.

From valuable historic structures that line up the streets, we will introduce several buildings that you can appreciate easily while taking a stroll. Photo:


1. “Fukazen”, Koyano Residence


Designated by Kawagoe City as a “Tangible Cultural Asset”


Fukazen is an art shop founded in 1738, and it exhibits and sells hanging scrolls, frames, Japanese and oil paintings. Originally built in 1895 by Jinbee Takayama, a wholesaler of cotton and linen, its ownership was later transferred to the Koyano family. Information: Map


2. “Toho Yamawa”, Hara Family Residence


Designated by Kawagoe City as a “Tangible Cultural Asset”


“Toho Yamawa” exhibits and sells works of local ceramic artists in the store. The building was originally built in 1893 by Heibee Yamamoto, a kimono merchant. Information: Map


3. Kawagoe Chamber of Commerce


Registered as a “National Tangible Cultural Asset”


The design of the Kawagoe Chamber of Commerce is profoundly impressive, and it is quite different from the kurazukuri style. It was constructed in 1928 by Kenjiro Maeda, but originally built as a bank.  The Kawagoe Chamber of Commerce took over the building in 1970, and it has been maintained to date. Information: Map


4. “Cafe Elevato”, Tanaka-ya Residence



This stylish western-style building is now used as “Café Elevato” a classical café, It offers a usual café menu and you can also drink the local beer in Kawagoe, “Coedo Beer”. We’d recommend you immerse yourself in the taste of Kawagoe in a building with tasteful ambience. Information: Map


5. Saitama Resona Bank Kawagoe Branch


Registered as a “National Tangible Cultural Asset”


This elegant western-style building with an impressive blue dome was built in 1918. It was designed by Katsuya Yasuoka as “No. 85 National Bank”, the first bank built in Saitama Prefecture. Today the name was changed to “Saitama Resona Bank”, and it is in business, standing in the center of the area lined up with historic kurazukuri style buildings. Information: Map


6. “Kameya” Main Store, Yamazaki Family Residence



“Kameya” is a long established Japanese confectionery founded in 1783. It manufactures and sells various sweets, including a sweet made with potato as the main ingredient, and their sweets are full of Japanese commitment to perfection. The building was built by the fifth generation family head, Kashichi Yamazaki. Information: Map


7. “Kurazukuri Honpo”, Kobayashi Family Residence



The business was founded in 1887. It is a Japanese confection store that takes pride in its finest ingredients and techniques. The building itself was constructed after a great fire in 1893, and leased to the current store. Information: Map


8. “Kurazukuri Museum”



It was built right after the great fire of 1893 by Bunzo Koyama, a tobacco wholesaler. You can look at the design and structure of Kurazukuri-style in this building, so you can learn more about the style. Information: Map


9. “Toki no Kane”, the Bell Tower


Designated as a “Tangible Cultural Asset” by Kawagoe City


It has a symbolic presence in Kawagoe, and it was built by Lord Kawagoe between 1624 and 1644. Clocks were not widespread back then, and people led their daily lives, by listening to the bell tower. The current structure was rebuilt after the great fire of 1893. Information: Map


The city contains many more valuable buildings than what we’ve introduced above. This is an unusual city steeped in history. But these buildings are still in use as places of business. If you are interested in Japanese history and Japanese people’s life, we strongly recommend you to visit them.

Related Articles: Kawagoe Area

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About the author

I'm interested in general in all things related to culture and fine arts with a focus on movies, art, and design. I hope to introduce to many people all the different sides to Japan in regards to Japanese culture.

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