During the Edo period, there were almost 300 feudal clans throughout Japan.
Iwatsuki played an important role as the vital guarding point to the northern part of Edo. Iwatsuki has a 400 year history with SAMURAI and is listed as the most famous doll towns.
[IWATUSKI AS SAMURAI TOWN]
Iwatuski was located near the big river of Moto-Arakawa and the main road to the northern district. Therefore, Iwatsuki was an important keystone city for both waterway and overland routes. For this reason, Iwatsuki was regarded as an important military point and a castle was constructed. This occurred 550 years ago, and for 400 years after that Iwatsuki continued to develop as a SAMURAI town with the castle in the center.
This park is a part of Iwatsuki castle with a huge total size of 145,000 square meters and is surrounded by natural trees and hilly terrain. You can see cherry blossoms in the spring, and water lilies in the early summer at a noted flower spot. Inside the park the remains of an outer wall and the relocated castle gates are preserved.
This is the oldest bell for keeping time in SAITAMA, being built about 300 years ago. During Edo period the bell chimed every two hours, which served as very important signals of everyday life for both SAMURAI and non-SAMURAI people. Nowadays you can hear the beautiful bell chiming at 6 o’clock in the morning, noon, and again at 6 o’clock in the evening.
In Saitama, this clan school is the only such Edo period school still in existence with a thatched roof architecture. It was built about 220 years ago.
This shrine was the guardian deity of the Iwatsuki castle. Walking along the approach through a huge compound composed of thick forest, you can see the old architecture and feel the culture of the shrines and deities that originated in Japan.
Here in Iwatsuki, many shrines and 47 temples still exist and the intimate relationship with SAMURAI culture is immediately noticed. At the same time you can find an old Japanese rice wine brewery with about 150 years of history, old Japanese sweet cake makers and restaurants.
[THE MOST FAMOUS DOLLTOWN IWATSUKI]
It is said that the doll manufacturing in IWATSUKI dates back to the early stages of the Edo period. The artisans who were engaged in the building of the NIKKO TOSYOGU shrine stayed behind in IWATSUKI where the paulownia furniture manufacturing was popular. They started making the dolls by using hardened sawdust mixed with a type of glue, and it is said that this is the origin of doll making in IWATSUKI. At present, over 80 doll makers exist and the biggest doll manufacturing area is here. The dolls made here are used at the Girls’ Festival, SAMURAI dolls at the Boys’ Festival, and other traditional dolls shipped to overseas countries.
In March, [MACHIKADO HINAMEGURI] or dropping in town corners with the Girls’ Festival dolls are held as a big event. Throughout the year, a lot of events related to the dolls are held. Around the IWATSUKI station, you can find many doll shops where you can buy a large assortment of dolls and small articles. Wouldn’t you like to drop in to some of these shops in order to find the most fascinating goods?
*Sightseeing courses to be arranged*
Fee---200 Yen per head, with a minimum of 1,000 Yen per tour
(less than 5 people are -permitted per tour, but minimum fee will still be 1,000 Yen)
Foreign Language--- English
Reservation should be made 15 days prior to the tour