Dec 25, 2010

Walking around in Kawagoe

On December 23, I went to Kawagoe City. At the location where the defunct Kagamiyama Brewery was operating before, there are some buildings with whitewashed walls, which used to be used by the company as facilities of sake brewing. These premises have been converted to a commercial establishment named Koedo Kurari. In this sophisticated place, you can eat food at the restaurant or enjoy shopping.

I think, already having the beautiful street flanked by kura buildings and other old buildings and the Kashiya Yokocho (Confection Side-street), Kawagoe will be more interesting city due to the start of its operation of Kurari.

Well, I thought I would visit Kurari at the next chance, and I headed for Cafe Elevato. This cafe is often used as a meeting spot for us when we come to Kawagoe. Two friends of mine were already having coffee or tea when I enter the restaurant.

I ordered some vegetable chips and pastrami and draft beer, Coedo Beer Kyara, which was Kawagoe's beer I enjoyed after a long time. Naturally, the friends also ordered beer and we enjoyed drinking each drink.

Then, we moved to Kamonrakuza, a direct selling sake shop of Koedo Kagamiyama Shuzo. There, I purchased Kagamiyama Junmai Shiboritate Nama (pure rice, just-pressed, unpasteurized sake).

Around this time of the year, several types of just-pressed, unpasteurized sake including junmai ginjo and junmai are displayed and sold in the refrigerator. In the same refrigerator, there were bottles labeled as "Mutoka Nama Genshu," but I wondered what difference was between "Muroka Nama Genshu" and "Shiboritate." So, I asked the shop clerk about the difference. She answered that "Muroka Nama Genshu" was made from rice harvested last year. I thought this meant that the sake was made at the end of last year or early in this year and aged until this winter. However, I was wrong.

When I was asking further details about the sake, a worker of this brewery happened to come in the shop, and kindly gave me a clear explanation.

He explained that they kept rice harvested in the autumn of last year in their refrigerator and used it in this autumn to make this sake. Koedo Kagamiyama Shuzo is a very small brewery and they do not have a sufficient refrigerating installation, and they do not age winter-made sake over the summer season until the next autumn. A small microbrewery has its own challenges to overcome, which larger companies do not have.

Then, my friends, who were all women, headed for a kimono shop Tsuruya, while I decided to have a sole walk along the Taisho Roman Yume Dori Street and Crea Mall, since I was not interested in shopping in the kimono shop very much.

On the Taisho Roman Yume Dori Street, I was interested in a coffee shop. This coffee shop named Taishokan serves home-roasted coffee. From the outside, I saw two women in decent white-and-black uniforms were working in the coffee shop, which has an old-fashioned atmosphere.

I came in the coffee shop and ordered Ishigama coffee. There were a few customers and I could enjoy a cozy time. The home-roasted coffee was nice. Above all, a warm smile of a waitress made me relaxed. After killing some time there, I got out of the coffee shop and started walking toward the Crea Mall.

I got to the kimono shop Tsuruya and stayed there for a short time, and then moved to Cafe Pachanga. It was around three o'clock, when the Christmas gathering of kimono lovers was just about to start.

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