Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Side Trip to Kawagoe

 On Saturday morning, we had a Japanese breakfast at our hotel and the chef sliced our delicious white peaches with sprigs of mint.  That was a pleasant surprise.  We then ventured onto the new Fukutoshin subway line in Shibuya station, which had the silver half dome in its lobby floor.
 The train was modern and clean and we occupied our own little section for the 55 minute ride to Kawagoe station in Saitama Prefecture.
 It was raining a bit in Shibuya when we left but it was warm and dry in Northwest in Kawagoe, an old "samurai" town from the Edo period (1600's).
We arrived shortly before noon and Russ and Tim stood in front of this pastry shop where they had 8 staff busily working in a small space, serving the customers. The shop smelled so fragrant of fresh bread and pastries. The train station had another "panyasan" bread shop across the hallway.
Kawagoe is still utilized for its old style architecture in various TV and movies.
We saw various shops, including this cute one filled with chopsticks.
The gift shop had many nice lacquer-ware and pottery.
 I was tempted to buy a new teapot and matching cups but didn't want to carry them throughout the day.
 I particularly liked the delicately embroidered rice bowl and matching tea cups. The purple/gold rice bowl and cover were about $160 each so I didn't get them.
 Similar to the rickshaws seen in Asakusa's temple, there were a few rickshaw drivers in Kawagoe although we didn't see anyone on them.
 A view from the main street to the temple.

 One of the main features of this town is its old wooden clock tower.
 The main street was lined with gift shops, restaurants with Edo era architecture.
 We stopped for lunch at a ramen shop and I had their "harumaki ramen" aka springroll ramen and we shared the purple yam gyoza.
 Right after lunch, we searched for soft cream shops.
 Tina, Martha & Russ had the White Peach sherbert but I had the purple yam and vanilla combo elsewhere.
 I took a photo of this cute little car. Since we've been watching "Top Gear" on TV, I've been interested in small sports coupes.

 We also spotted an old VW Van, transformed into a snack shop.

 We didn't enter this main temple but the gardens looked nice.
 This tree was so unusual as the main trunk was surrounded by smaller, thinner trees posed as protection.
 Russ and Tim window shopped down the small alleyways.
 I spotted these pansies in front of a shop. Aren't they cute?

We also saw a little shack which appeared to be a small shrine.

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