One of the reasons why tourists come to Japan is to experience the country’s culture as well as the local cuisine. If you have been to Japan, you may have noticed that the country is divided into both traditional and modern aspects. Keeping up with the times, but still maintaining their original and authentic culture.
Located less than an hour from Tokyo is an old historical town called Koedo or Little Edo in Kawagoe, Saitama Prefecture. Visiting the town will bring you back to the past as it retains its old Edo culture. In addition to the traditional atmosphere, you shouldn’t miss the local cuisine that Little Edo is famous for. Here are three things not to miss!
Kawagoe is where Little Edo is situated, and there is one popular specialty that the town is known for – sweet potatoes (or ‘imo’ as they are called in Japanese). Kawagoe is also known as the City of Sweet Potatoes. In the past, sweet potatoes were considered to be a staple food due to scarcity during and after the war and they could be easily cooked by steaming or roasting. Nowadays, there are a variety of dishes being served by local shops in Kawagoe and here are some that are definitely worth trying.
Imo Koi is a food you can easily eat while walking in Little Edo. Imo Koi contains sweet potato and tsubu (red bean paste) and is wrapped in yam and mochi flour. You can also opt to buy these as souvenirs and serve it with a matching tea.
Shop to try out: Kashou Umon
The difference between regular gyoza and murasaki imo gyoza can be easily distinguished. Imo gyoza is made with a chewy wrapper that is purple in color. The taste is still close to regular gyoza but it also contains sweet potatoes inside too.
Shop to try out: Gyoza Saikan Daihachi (Ramen is also a must try.)
And lastly, imo udon. Udon is a noodle dish that can be perfectly eaten in either the hot and cold seasons. Originally, udon was made with wheat flour. In Kawagoe, the imo udon is made with sweet potatoes which give the noodles their purple color and is a bit sweeter in taste. Some online shops like Rakuten also sell ready to cook imo udon as well as soba and soumen.
Shop to try out: Okanoya syokudo
There are many other things you can do and try out in Little Edo. And aside from the imo dishes above, there are also a variety of sweet treats to try in the area as well. If you’re visiting Japan or Tokyo in particular, make sure to make a side trip visit to Little Edo for its historic culture and try out their delicious specialty food!