When you think of souvenirs from Kawagoe, "Imokoi", “Nagaifu kashi” (long Japanese dried wheat gluten snacks), and sweets from the Kamiya Kuradukuri Japanese confectionary are the standard, but it’s nothing but sweets, isn’t it... Though they are delicious, they probably aren’t a suitable souvenir for people who aren’t that big on sweets.
For times like this, I recommend Kawagoe Tozan products. Fashionable and durable, they suit any interior, so there is no doubt that your friends will be pleased!
About Kawagoe Tozan
“Kawagoe Tozan” is a cotton textile woven in Kawagoe and its surrounding area.
They feature fine striped patterns with a glossy, silky finish, and the great thing about them is that the more you use them the more wonderful they feel.
There is no strict definition of what "Kawagoe Tozan" is, but the "Kawagoe Tozan Reborn Project" is aiming for a nationwide expansion of Kawagoe Tozan to establish the following standards.
|Production area||Products woven in Kawagoe and its surrounding areas are hoped for|
|Raw materials||Cotton Silk Goods|
|Manufacturing method||Twin thread yarn that has been dyed. A parallel double weave with a fine thread count, a single weave with a fine thread count|
|Pattern||A striped or grid pattern base|
|Special Quality||Feel good, have a silky shiny feel, are easy to wash and wear, with the features of silk goods|
Reference：Kawagoe Tozan Reborn project report
I even found Kawagoe Tozan products at the Kawagoe Starbucks on Kanetsuki Dori Street!
At the popular Kawagoe tourist spot “Toki-no-kane”, there is a Japanese-style Starbucks that uses Kawagoe Tozan textiles for the cushions on the back rests of their benches.
If you ever visit the Toki-no-kane area, please check them out!
Click here for more about the Japanese-style Starbucks↓
The History of Kawagoe Tozan
Tozan is a type of striped cotton fabric which is said to have been brought from São Tomé, India.
Tozan was imported from Dutch ships in the early Edo era and became all the rage as a fabric for winter clothing in Japan.
It was during the late Edo era that Tozan began being produced in Kawagoe.
At the time, the imported goods were called "Tozan", while those manufactured in Kawagoe were referred to as "Kawatou".
As opposed to the imported Tozan which was so expensive that the common people couldn’t afford it, the cheaper, high quality Kawagoe Tozan boasted explosive popularity.
The peak, decline and revival of Kawagoe Tozan
For a time, Kawagoe Tozan overtook a generation, but its peak was surprisingly short.
Although the Kawagoe Tozan reached its peak around the end of the Edo era up to the Meiji era, its scale gradually curtailed
By the early years of the Showa era, the culture had come to an end.
However, through the people of Japan, it made a comeback in the 80’s.
The work of the "Kawagoe Tozan Reborn Project" launched in 2013 has been increasing its degree of recognition with each passing year.
The Kuradukuri Honpo also offers sweets with a Kawagoe Tozan motif
The long-standing Japanese confectionery shop, "Kuradukuri Honpo", sells sweets called "Kawagoe Tozan".
As the name suggests, the entire package is an image of Kawagoe Tozan.
A steamed sweet made from a batter of whipped egg whites mixed with white bean paste and “uguisu kanoko (sugar boiled green peas)” to match.
Because they can be purchased individually, I recommended them as a snack to enjoy while sightseeing.
Fashionable & Durable! Accessories and cloth items made with Kawagoe Tozan
Although the impression that "Kawagoe Tozan is expensive..." may exist, small items can be purchased for a relatively low cost.
Hair bands with Kawagoe Tozan decorations.
There are various designs ranging from cute to elegant.
The picture below is of a scrunchy that I use practically every day.
— 川越 水先案内板(富築) (@kawagoemizusaki) 2018年8月28日
I bought this at an event held at Nezumiya Chukiti.
A stylish Kawagoe Tozan shawl.
Shawls have an image of being a women’s item, but they are quite stylish even for men.
A stylish Goshuin-cho book (a book for collecting seals from temples) with a cover (front and back) made of Kawagoe Tozan.
A must have for those visiting temples in Kawagoe!
Individually hand-crafted artisan umbrellas.
A superb item. Not only are they elegant but they are also durable and functional.
Kawagoe Tozan fabrics as is.
Kawagoe's Kimono Store, "Kanda", sells these products.
Where can I buy Kawagoe Tozan products?
Kawagoe Tozan products are sold at various shops, but the shop that is easiest to access is the Koedo Kurari.
There are three entrances, but if you want to go to the souvenir department use this entrance.
Experience the lustrous feel of Kawagoe Tozan for yourself!
About a 5 minute walk from Seibu Shinjuku Line “Honkawagoe Station”
Rent a Kawagoe Tozan Kimono!
The streets of Kawagoe are overflowing with the feeling of Koedo.
Why not try wearing a Kawagoe Tozan Kimono and walk around the city?
At "Rental Kimono Kanda" on Kuradukuri no machi (Ichibangai), you can rent a Kawagoe Tozan Kimono.
↓ Check out "Gofuku Kanda’s" Facebook page here.
At Gofukuya, they will dress you in a Kimono with the skills of a professional, and you can also get your hair set.
Also, because they have things like obi (kimono sash), zouri (Japanese sandals), bags and other small accessories available for rent, it’s OK to go to the store empty handed!
Since they also have a full line-up of men’s wear, I recommend it for men as well.
About a 15 minute walk from Seibu Shinjuku line "Honkawagoe Station"
Experience weaving personally at the Kawagoe Tozan Hand-Weaving Association
The "Kawagoe Tozan Hand Weaving-Association" teaches the techniques and culture of Kawagoe Tozan to the public, and periodically performs exhibitions and hands on events.
For those who wish to weave Kawagoe Tozan or want to see the production process, please join the Weaving Experience Class the association offers at the Kawagoe City Museum!
You can check out the latest information on their official Facebook page.
Click here for applications for weaving experience events.
※ There is no fee for the experience, but there is a separate entrance fee for the museum.
From Tobu Tojo Line "Kawagoe Station" or Seibu Shinjuku Line "Honkawagoe Station", take the Koedo Junkai Bus and get off at "Hakubutsukan-mae". It is right in front of the stop.
From Kawagoe to the world- The revival of old and new culture
Currently in Kawagoe City, various efforts are being made to revive the once beloved cultures and industries of Kawagoe.
The "Kawagoe Tozan Reborn Project" to revive Kawagoe Tozan is one of them.
There is also the "Kawagoe tea Reborn project", though it is not run by the same administration.
For information regarding the revival and history of Kawagoe matcha tea, click here↓
A Kawagoe Specialty · Characteristics of KAWAGOE Matcha Tea and its history
When touring Kawagoe, please make sure to also give experiencing this culture a try.
It will of course make for great memories, but because they are set up in a modern style, there is no doubt they would look great on SNS!