Did you mean?Try your search again
Coedo Brewery makes just one happoshu, a type of low-malt beer that is typically cheap, watery, and dreadfully headache causing. Coedo's Beniaka is a happoshu by law, but it is a very unique happoshu that wasn't brewed to be cheap. In fact, Beniaka is Coedo's most expensive beer, costing 1.5 to 2 times as much as their other beers. What makes this Coedo beer special is that it's made from Kawagoe's local sweet potatoes, the same potatoes that are used in Old Edo's famous candy industry.
Beniaka pours a beautiful deep red-brown color, with a very thin, brown head. The smell is sweet, perhaps a bit too sweet. The taste is also sweet, but the sweetness doesn't linger. Unfortunately, the beer is lacking in carbonation, and it tastes a bit flat.
The is certainly the world's finest happoshu, but it's flatness, and overly sweet taste keep it a notch or two below Japan's finest beers.
I give Coedo Beniaka 4 out of 5 stars.
Written Feb 24, 2013
Kawagoe's Kurazukuri area is the most famous area of the town. Kurazukuri Street stretches about 200 meters and is lined with Edo-Period warehouses that are now mostly restaurants and shops.
The warehouses are identified by their thick clay walls, a significant change from the wooden houses that were found throughout most of Japan. These warehouses were constructed by businessmen so wealthy they could afford to build these expensive fireproof structures. The businessmen were exceptionally wealthy due to their close economic ties to Edo (now Tokyo).
The oldest house in this area was built in 1792, and is called the Osawa House. The Kurazukuri Museum is a historic Tobacco shop that is now open to the public.
Updated Feb 21, 2013
In the historic area of Kawagoe, there is a small alley with a temple gate at the far end. Though the alley is quiet, it is inviting. The long, narrow, stone-lined path takes you past a few vacant storefronts and into the temple grounds. The shrine is eerily deserted except for a man in obvious mental distress, who greets you strangely but kindly with an odd military-style salute. Then he disappears into the cold afternoon.
Looking around the old temple, your eyes are suddenly drawn to a shocking image--a statue of a man so skinny, he could be a survivor of a Nazi concentration camp. As you approach, you can make out every rib on the statue, and even the veins in his chest. Somehow the imprint of his spine is almost visible through the barely existent stomach. Even more odd, the statue has five-days of whisker stubble on his chin and cheeks, his eyes are sunken into his skull, and his loose clothes are falling off of his body. This is the most unusual statue of Buddha you will ever see.
The statue stands in front of the Choki-in Temple in Kawagoe. The statue is a replica of an ancient Third Century statue of Buddha that is supposed to represent penance. It is said that this statue depicts the time Buddha learned that he could not obtain enlightenment by torturing his body with starvation, after having barely eaten over the course of six years. The original statue is in Pakistan at the Lahore Museum of Art.
This page has a great description of the story of the skeleton Buddha: http://www.exoticindiaart.com/product/sculptures/emaciated-buddha-RS20/
Updated Feb 20, 2013
Address: 5-7 Saiwaicho Kawagoe City, Saitama Prefecture
The Renkei-ji Temple is a relatively large complex on the edge of Old Kawagoe. This temple was completed in 1554, and it served as a Buddhist University during the Edo period. A local leader named Lord Donryu is known to have aided children and those in need, and his shrine is covered in children's toys and gifts.
One of Kawagoe's "Seven Deities of Good Luck," named Binzurusama or Obinzuru-sama, has a statue next to the tomb. His statue is said to make people smarter and heal illnesses. If sick people constantly touch the statue, you might be more likely to catch a horrible disease here. Hopefully everyone washes their hands at the fountain before the temple.
The temple is dedicated to the Buddhist god Fukurokuju, a god of happiness, wealth and longevity who is said to be able to raise the dead.
On the 8th day of each month, Renkei-ji Temple hosts a fair.
Written Feb 20, 2013
Walking through Kawagoe, I noticed that almost every street in town had a big sign overhead proclaiming "Shopping Street!" But only one street in this town can really boast this title: Crea Mall. The southern end of this street mall lies between Kawagoe Station and Hon-kawagoe Station, and it stretches all the way to the historic old Edo buildings of Kurazukuri.
As you walk north from the stations, Crea Mall begins with high-end fashion stores, both Japanese and Western. Later the stores tend to become more targeted toward the young hip hop crowd, before the the street mostly becomes lined with restaurants, a few temples, and stone animals. After about 1.4 kilometers, the shopping street ends, just around the corner from the historic Kurazukuri.
We walked this street both to and from the historic area. Along the way, we had some street food, we did some shopping, we saw a few temples, and later we found some bars on a few side streets.
Written Feb 19, 2013
Next to the northern end of the old Kurazukurai section of Kawagoe is a narrow, but crowded alley that often has more children than adults. This area is called Kashiya Yokocho in Japanese, or Penny Candy Alley in English.
This street has been home to candy makers since the 1870s or earlier. Following the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, this area become the center of the Tokyo candy industry, with some 70 candy manufacturers. Today, about 22 candy stores survive, and they sell a variety of traditional and modern candies, along with toys.
We wandered around this alley for about 45 minutes, stopping in numerous stores. We had some traditional steamed mochi filled with sweet potato and we bought some modern hard candy. We also noticed dozens, if not hundreds of Japanese carrying meter-long sticks of "fu," which resembles a loaf of bread, and is made of wheat and sugar.
Written Feb 19, 2013
The Time Bell Tower, or Toki no Kane in Japanese, was first constructed 400 years ago in central Kawagoe by Sakai Tadakatsu, a Kawagoe feudal lord. Though it has been burned and rebuilt about three times, most recently by the Kawagoe Great Fire, the present 16 meter structure dates back to 1893. While the tower stands in front of a temple, the tower had no religious purpose, instead it was used to tell time.
Today the wooden bell tower stands as the symbol of Kawagoe. The bell still rings each day at 6am, noon, 3pm and 6pm.
Updated Feb 19, 2013
Coedo brewery is located in Kawagoe, a town also known as "Little Edo" or Co-edo in Japanese. The name stems from the town's historic area that resembles pre World War II Tokyo, which was then known as Edo.
During a recent visit to Kawagoe, I tried the Coedo Kyara, a lager-style beer, which is unique in Japan microbrews. We sat at the small Cafe Elevato in old Kawagoe, sipping beer and coffee on a cold day, and I really enjoyed this rich, flavorful beer that pours a light yellow with tall, lingering head. The flavor was much richer than I expected for such a light Japanese beer.
Beer Advocate calls Coedo Kyara a Vienna Lager. By that definition, the Kyara is in the same class as Samuel Adams Boston Lager or Dos Equis. However, Kyara has a bold and unique flavor that earns it a rank in the top 10 percent of the world's 310 or so beers of this style.
The name Kyara (伽羅) comes from one of the most important ingredients in Japanese incense. The Kyara incense is made of agarwood, and it is known for its strong, bitter smell. Kyara is said to be worth more than its weight in gold. Sounds like a great name for a strong, bitter lager.
In addition to Kyara, Coedo brews Beniaka (a sweet potato-based beer), Ruri (a German Pilsener), Shikkoku (a Schwarzbier), and Shiro (a Hefeweizen). Interestingly enough, Beniaka is classified as a happoshu; normally a cheap and crappy beer made of inexpensive fillers, Beniaka is brewed with local sweet potatoes, which are a key ingredient in Kawagoe candies.
Website: Coedo's website is here: http://www.coedobrewery.com/e/swf/index.html
The company's headquarters is located in Kawagoe at 2908-2 Kamitome, Imafuku, Kawagoe, Saitama, Japan 350-1151.
The brewery is located in nearby Iruma at 385-10 Kamitome, Miyoshi-machi, Iruma-gun, Saitama, Japan 354-0045.
I give Coedo Kyara 4 of 5 stars, but I may try this again and rescore.
Updated Feb 18, 2013
Kitain was first built in 830 but the current structure was built in 1640 by Tokugawa Iemitsu. The temple has a beautiful garden that looks like it would be especially good during cherry blossom season.
One of the most interesting part of the shrine are the 500 Rakan Statues, statues of holy men. Each is unique in different and the experience is sort of interactive. Among the statues there is one for each zodiac sign, so if you are able to find your sign's statue, you are supposed to rub his head to get good luck. If you can't find yours, you can cheat by looking at the map that the person at the ticket counter has. Luckily I was able to find mine on my own! I also found many of the others but I wasn't able to find all of them.
Another legend says that if you touch the statues heads when it is too dark to see, you will feel one warm one. If you record the spot and come back, that statue will be the one that most closely resembles yourself. Unfortunately, the temple closes at 5pm so it cannot be tested!
Entrance is 400 yen. The same ticket is used to enter the temple and to see the 500 Rakan statues.
Written Apr 9, 2012
Address: 1-14-14 Kasumigaseki-kita
Kawagoe is most famous for its storehouse district, a street lined with historic Meiji Period buildings that serve as reminders of old Edo. It is one of the 62 designated Traditional Historic Preservation Districts (number 6). The buildings here are clay-walled structures that are resistant to fire and protected on the outside by a layer of plaster. Most of the buildings housed shops of local tradesmen. The black color is a notable feature of the kurazukuri and definitely feels different from other historic districts in Japan.
Some highlights of the district include the famous Bell Tower (Toki no Kane), the town's icon. The current tower dates back to 1894. It was built to keep track of time. Today they ring the bell at 6am, noon, 3pm, and 6pm. The sound is on the list of Japan's top 100 sounds.
There are a few museums here, the Kurazukuri Museum (allowing you to wander around inside one of the historic buildings and to get a better look at the architecture), the Kawagoe Festival Museum (featuring the floats and information about the city's famous festival), and the Hattori Museum of Folklore, which is actually half of a shop and features some artifacts from its old days, including one of the first signs of the Shiseido company from when it was a drugstore prior to its becoming the famous cosmetic company it is today. You can also see what they used to make the storehouses black. There is nothing related to folklore in the folklore museum.
The oldest structure is the Osawa House built in 1792. Although it is just used as a shop, it is an important historic site.
Aside from the Kurazukuri Museum and the Kawagoe Festival Museum, which cost 100 yen each to enter, the other attractions are free.
Written Apr 5, 2012