Kamisama Kiss (Kamisama wo Hajimemashita), the manga by Julietta Suzuki, received an anime adaptation in 2012 and a second series in 2015. The story is set in the Old Town Warehouse District in Kawagoe City, Saitama prefecture where the atmosphere of the Edo period is retained to this day. The city is a popular tourist destination and conveniently situated less than an hour’s train ride from Ikebukuro in Tokyo. I’m going to show you places which appeared in Kamisama Kiss in Kawagoe.
’The Warehouse District’ in the Opening
The openings of both the first and second season of Kamisama Kiss feature the Saitama Resona Bank building which stands in the Warehouse District. The three-story Renaissance-style building with the impressive green tower was constructed with reinforced concrete in 1918. It’s a landmark of Kawagoe and stands among the two-story old warehouses and merchant houses.
Nanami’s School Road – Taisho Roman Street
The Taisho Roman Street appeared as the school road of protagonist Nanami. The 200m-long street first appeared in the second episode of the first season and is situated behind the Warehouse District.
During the Taisho period, Japan underwent a certain degree of Westernization and Western-style buildings became popular. The influence of Western culture was evident in not only architecture, but also art, fashion, literature, and everyday life styles, a change which was termed as Taisho Roman. The street is paved with granite stone. The building of Kawagoe Chamber of Commerce, which is reminiscent of an ancient Greek temple, stands at the end of the street.
Nanami’s Favorite Hangout, Amami Dokoro ~ Japanese Style Café
The north end of the Taisho Roman Street is marked by the building of Kawagoe Chamber of Commerce, which used to be occupied by a bank. There is a red pillar box in front of the building. It’s an old-fashioned post box, which used to be everywhere in Japan until 40 years ago, but are hardly seen nowadays. You only can see it in few designated places for conservation. The building with white flags at the far left is the amami dokoro which Nanami visited in the third episode of the first season. ‘Amami dokoro’ are traditional cafés in Japan where you enjoy Japanese sweets with green tea.
The middle of the three lined old clay warehouses with white flags is the model of the amami dokoro in the series. It’s actually a restaurant called Hayashiya, which serves grilled eel dishes. Kawagoe was famous for its eel dishes until the Edo era, so there are a couple of popular grilled eel restaurants to this day. Hayashiya is one of them and its customers wait in line at lunchtime.
Hayashiya Kawagoe branch
Address: 2-4 Nakacho Kawagoe Saitama
Toki no Kane: a symbol of Kawagoe
A symbol of Kawagoe is Toki no Kane (the bell of time), which appeared in the openings of both the first and second season, as well as in some of the anime episodes. It’s a bell tower originally built in the Edo period about 400 years ago. In that period, time was measured by the movement of the sun. The bell in the tower chimes at specific times in the day to tell the time to the people in Kawagoe. The present tower is the fourth generation which was rebuilt after the previous one was destroyed by the Great Fire of Kawagoe in 1896. It’s a three-stories tall 16m-high wooden structure, and its chimes currently ring out four times a day: at 6:00, 12:00, 15:00, and 18:00. The chimes are a popular tourist attraction that allows them to feel the atmosphere of the Edo period, and are part of the ‘100 Best Sound Sceneries in Japan’ to be protected by the Ministry of the Environment.
Toki no Kane
Address: 1-5-7 Saiwaicho, Kawagoe