“There’s nothing unusual to see in Saitama prefecture but trees.” said a friend of an acquaintance of mine which I strongly disagree with due respect. Saitama is a prefecture in Japan that has a lot to offer apart from being known for its wondrous nature. One just has to know how to find its gems. Even the locals have heaps of places that haven’t been checked off their to-go list. As someone who finds peace and joy in going to places, I profoundly can’t say that a certain place is just ordinary only because I haven’t been to and seen every corner of it.
I’m still overwhelmed by my recent visit to a historical town where the ancient Edo can be somewhat experienced. Because it was only a short one (about 4 hours), I didn’t get to see all the highlights of Kawagoe. Not much of a disappointment, though. Still, it was a noteworthy one.
From the station, walked a few minutes to get the to starting area where little Edo can be seen.
Passed along this narrow street full of various shops to get to the area. It was about lunchtime and so we stopped by a local ramen restaurant first to fill up.
I bet you won’t be able to promptly decide on which restaurant to dine in for there are tons of them. I suggest enter a ramen shop. Which one? I’ll leave it to you!
Now let’s begin the quick tour!
Kashiya Yokocho (Penny Candy Alley)
As the name suggests, it’s basically a stone-paved pathway of ancestral candy and sweets shops where you can feel like being in the old days. The image above is just one of the long-established shops that sweeps you a wave of nostalgia.
Toki no Kane
This wooden bell tower is the town’s landmark. Was built to toll the time of day which was a significant practice during the Edo period. I wonder how people at the time behaved at its resounding sound, don’t you? At present, rings (four times a day) can still be heard but by an electric bell. So I guess the feeling is somehow different.
The most recognized Buddhist temple in Saitama prefecture with a long history. I don’t want to bore you with the whole story but if you’re interested, just leave a comment and I’ll gladly send you a link that contains the facts about the temple.
This is where we spent the rest of our time traveling. The place gave me contrasting emotions that I don’t usually get elsewhere. It was a mix of joy and melancholy. The joy I felt was I think because I was with the two important people in my life. Visiting such a place with them was a luxury I can’t afford to have everyday. On the other hand, the melancholy was probably for the reason that I didn’t want the day to end and winter has embraced the place with its cold and gloomy blanket.
These are graves of five of the feudal lords who governed the Kawagoe domain during the 18th and 19th centuries located behind the main building of the temple. In the glow of twilight, the area made me feel like I was in a movie. Perhaps the horror one.
In between our walks, we managed to take a peek at one of the few shrines in the town.
I left the area with a realization that no matter how hard we try to live in the modern time, there’s still one tiny piece of us that will always look back to our humble beginnings. And it’s always good to look back, isn’t it?
TIP: Try roaming around the historic premises in a kimono. The experience will be truly extra special!