Kawagoe: Keeping Urbane Traditions Alive *RERUN
The town of Kawagoe, which lies just 30km northwest of central Tokyo, is still heavily influenced by the merchant culture of Japan's feudal period when Tokyo was known as Edo. In modern times, Kawagoe serves as a dormitory town for commuters to Tokyo, but the town still holds on to its traditional roots. We visit Kawagoe, exploring its culture, history and the lives of local people.

Traditional Storehouses

One highlight of Kawagoe is a street of buildings in a traditional style that combines stores with storehouses. For long years, local people have preserved the local architecture. The polished plaster walls require a minimum of eight coats from undercoat to finish. The storehouses have played an important role in shaping and protecting the town's history.

Kawagoe Festival

Districts in the center of Kawagoe assemble floats for the Kawagoe festival and residents from neighboring villages climb aboard to dance and play music. One group of village dancers has performed at the festival for more than 100 years. On a cramped stage on a moving float, dancers portray the life of old Edo. Residents of Kawagoe and the surrounding villages create scenes reminiscent of an old narrative scroll.

Kashiya Yokocho

In Kawagoe, one particular side street is lined with stores selling sweets and confectionery. For many Japanese visitors, the street may remind them of their childhood, but for foreign visitors, it's a whole different world. One master confectioner shows skilled craftsmanship in producing around 30 different types of sweets, many of which are carefully made to match the season. By skillfully rolling together starch syrup of various colored varieties, the sweet-makers can incorporate various seasonal flowers into their creations.