Warehouse District of Kawagoe

Takes one back to the Edo Period

By Elena Lisina    - 2 min read

Kawagoe is located about 30 minutes by train from Tokyo and is good as a day trip. Its main street, lined with clay-walled warehouse-styled houses, gives the impression of the old town feeling from the Edo Period (1603-1867). That’s why Kawagoe is called "Little Edo."

Kawagoe used to be an important city to the capital Edo (now Tokyo) for trade and strategic purposes. At that time, Japanese towns consisted mostly of wooden buildings, which made them vulnerable to fires. Kurazukuri construction made fireproof houses. They were very expensive to build, as walls consisted of several layers. Due to the trade, many merchants grew wealthy enough to build not only their warehouses but also their stores in the Kurazukuri style. Some of the buildings managed to survive till now. They can be found along the main Kurazukuri Street.

The Bell Tower is a landmark and a symbol of Kawagoe. It chimes four times a day (6:00am, 12:00pm, 3:00pm and 6:00pm) and it was rebuilt in 1894 after the Great Fire of Kawagoe in 1893.

To some, this architecture may seem strange. Too “heavyweight”, low, and dark in colors. But it has its own charm, of course. There are many small shops and cafes on Kurazukuri Street selling sweets, souvenirs, clothes and so on. The special souvenir of Kawagoe is a transforming ball that changes colors when you toss it. I couldn't resist from buying it, of course!

Getting there

The Warehouse District can be reached within a 10-15 minute walk along the main street from Hon-Kawagoe Station.

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Elena Lisina

Elena Lisina @shiroi.tenshi

I love Japan very much! I like small towns of Japan where I can watch people doing their business and talk to them carefully. They're always friendly. I like Japanese gardens where I can just sit or walk and take my time. Also I like Shinto Jinja as being there I feel in peace. I like to watch sunsets and then to dine in some small local places. I like to soak into onsen after a long day of wandering. I like Japanese crafts very much as all items are made with great taste and skill. Nihon wo daisuki desuyo!