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History and Culture in Kawagoe

Near Tokyo lies a commercial hub that used to house wealthy merchants that dwelled inside historic warehouse-style buildings. This castle town is called Kawagoe. The elegance from antiquity still remains and permeates not only the kura (warehouses), but also the restaurants, cafes and residences. Let’s dive into some of the cultural and historical hot spots in the area.

  • Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine

    Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine

    Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine

    If you are currently in love or have a potential partner you’ve been procrastinating on, then it’s about time you head to Hikawa Shrine. About 10 minutes away from the main street in Kawagoe, this shrine is frequented by many seeking happiness in their romantic relationships and matchmaking.

    Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine

    Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine

    After you pass through the 15 meter tall torii gate, said to be the tallest wooden gate in Japan, drop by the ema tunnel. This ten meter long tunnel is designed to inundate visitors with the wishes of others written on the wooden plates or ema. Lit up at night, this tunnel provides a romantic walk for you and your loved ones.

  • Honmaru Goten Castle

    Honmaru Goten Castle

    Honmaru Goten Castle

    This massive structure is the only remaining piece of the former Kawagoe Castle. Literally, Honmaru Goten translates into “the palace in the innermost circle of defense.” Inside, the lords used to reside and hold meetings that determined the direction of the area. During the Edo Period, there were 21 lords that allied with the Tokugawa Shogunate who resided in the castle.

    Although originally built in 1457, the structure you can visit today was added to the castle in 1848. You can catch a glimpse of the high-powered meetings that took place during the feudal age with a modeled scene of the lord with two of his subordinates.

  • Kita-in Temple

    Kita-in Temple

    Kita-in Temple

    After the immense damage of the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923 and World War II, Kita-In Temple is one of the only remaining palace buildings of what once was the Edo Castle. Under the extraordinary vision of Tenkai, the eccentric who was linked up with the initial three shogun in the Edo Period, this temple took center stage back in the 17th century.

    Kita-in Temple

    Kita-in Temple

    Kita-in was originally part of a three-temple complex. Today, these temples are split into different institutions. The other two are respectively called, Naka-in (middle temple) and the Minami-in (south temple). As the Kita-in is the main temple, it is the most cared for and retains most of its structure and design.

    One feature that we recommend you take in slowly and deliberately are the Gohyaku Rakan statues. These are 540 stone statues of what were once followers of Buddha. As these each have their own facial expression, swing by and see who takes the best selfie.

  • Senba Toshogu Shrine

    Senba Toshogu Shrine

    Senba Toshogu Shrine

    Tokugawa Ieyasu had clout for leading the Tokugawa Family as the “builders of the Edo Period.” So much so, that he was honored with a number of Toshogu Shrines throughout Japan. The most recognizable and visited one is the Senba Toshogu Shrine in Kawagoe.

    In the 17th century, The Big Fire of Kanei burned the honorary shrine to the ground. Luckily, the current lord in the Tokugawa family at the time ordered a swift restoration. As a result, the temple was redone and renovated into the magnificent structure we can visit today. Among the construction are pieces that are recognized as important cultural assets, such as the Karamon Gate and the Haiden Front Shrine.

    People visit Kawagoe for the history. To get away from the constantly flickering lights that is Tokyo, this ancient castle town provides just the right touch of culture and experience in one location. From blessing your romantic relationships to enjoying a mannequin meeting with a former lord, you’ll leave Kawagoe feeling on top of your history game.

    Kawagoe
    Address
    Saitama Pref. Kawagoeshi Wakitahonchou
    Phone
    Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine
    Address
    Saitama Pref. Kawagoeshi Miyashitamachi 2-11
    Phone
    0492240589
    Kawagoe Shirohonmarugoten
    Address
    Saitama Pref. Kawagoeshi Kuruwamachi 2-13-1
    Phone
    0492225399
    Kitain Temple
    Address
    Saitama Pref. Kawagoeshi Kosembamachi 1-20-1
    Phone
    0492220859
  • Kashiya Yokocho (Candy Shop Alley)
    Address
    Saitama Pref. Kawagoeshi Motomachi 2-7
    Phone
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