I finally got there! Nyapan visited the city of Kawagoe in Saitama Prefecture for the first time one day.Kawagoe is easily accessible where it’s located about one hour by train from the center of Tokyo.So, this is a perfect tourist attraction that you can enjoy in a one-day trip.
Kawagoe flourished as a castle town in the 17th century during the Edo Period. To begin with, I went straight to a rental Kimono shop “Yuzuya”, in order to deeply enjoy the streets with a lot of atmosphere by wearing Kimono.You don’t have to bring anything, just choose a Kimono and Obi(sash belt) that you like.You get dressed in the blink of an eye by a professional dresser and choose a bag and a pair of Zori(sandals).The price starts from 2,800yen,which is reasonable and it is OK to return your Kimono by 17:30.They make sure even a Kimono beginner can easily enjoy it.
“Yuzuya” just opened in September 2016.The owner of the shop, Ms.Kaori Tamura, is originally a nail artist.When her daughter became 20 years old,she rented Furisode,which is a long-sleeved kimono for a special occasion, for the coming of age ceremony(*), through the internet. (*Coming of Age Day is a Japanese holiday to congratulate people who became 20 years old and many women wear the Furisode Kimono for the ceremony.)
She learned the method of wearing and putting on Kimono from You Tube for her daughter in just one week.
She told me “Even though I was so tired from getting my daughter dressed, I felt such a sense of accomplishment on the day.And the best thing was that my daughter was delighted. She received praise for the Kimono style and the fact of getting dressed it at home, from many people.I realized Kimono has such a great power. This became the motivation for me to offer many more people a fun feeling through wearing Kimono and I
started running the rental shop.”Now, her daughter is a shop manager. Yuzuya is particular about the way of dressing in Kimono,which never looses its shape and keeps beautiful all day long. Moreover, you feel comfortable while wearing it.People who wear Kimono for the first time say”It is easier to walk than I thought”,”Even when I eat and drink, I don’t feel a pressure in my chest or stomach.” Yuzuya has a variety of Kimonos and Obis for men and women of all generations,which are brand-new ones and vintage ones.So,Nyapan got dressed up in Kimono and tied an Obi,which were my favorite pattern and color, using an original accessory.Once I wore Kimono,it lifted up my feelings amazingly.
Then I started walking around the elegant town right away! Oh, just before that, I smacked my lips at the authentic taste of grilled eel in a historical restaurant ”Ogagiku”where it’s located across from Yuzuya.※This restaurant is always so busy.You SHOULD take a numbered ticket before dressing in Kimono※
I strolled around the old storehouse zone while eating sweet potato sweets, traditional small snacks and fried foods.When I looked up at the historical tower “Tokino kane(Time bell tower)” ,it made me think of the old days.This is a symbol of Kawagoe,which has kept watching local people since the Edo period.
And I tried to catch a fortunetelling paper hidden inside a case,shaped like a fish,which is called”Ai tai mikuji” in Hikawa shrine that is famous about the god of marriage.As I was taking photos a lot here and there, the hours flew by without notice.
Everywhere I visited, such as a traditional Kimono shop,Dagashi-ya(cheap candies and snacks)store, doll shop and more..I received warm welcomes.This is the Kawagoe style that they preserve their tradition and the history but they accept something and somebody new as well.I could feel better in the town where Kimono fit in.I found a traditional and stylish Kimono fabric called”Kawagoe Tozan” in one of the the long-established Kimono shops”Kasama”. Many types of ”Kawagoe Tozan”,the cotton fabric with striped-pattern,line the shelves and were outstanding.You can buy it from 30,000 yen price range including tailoring. I’d rather get it than buy a dress! I was completely fascinated by charms of Kimono.For your information, the fabric”Kawagoe Tozan” of the shop”Kasama" is used as the loungewear(Yukata) of a luxury sleeper train ”JR Shikishima”!
Tourists from overseas who visit the rental Kimono shop”Yuzuya have been increasing recently.There are some optional activities, like photo a shoot by a professional photographer or an experience of a Japanese matcha for 500yen.
Don’t worry if you don’t speak Japanese. I recommend both non-Japanese and Japanese to try it.
Kawagoe city has so many layers!!
Lastly, I met a beautiful Kimono lady by chance who is a Kawagoe sightseeing and goodwill ambassador.We’ll get together in Kawagoe again and will guide you in further charms about Kawagoe from her navigation.Don’t miss it!
◆Rental Kimono shop “Yuzuya”