Category Archives: Hiki District

(Meeting Saitama’s most famous cartoon character at) TSUTAYA | KAWAJIMA

The Kawajima branch of Tsutaya re-opened today after a “renewal”. Unlike other “renewal open”s in the area, the shop has actually changed quite a bit. To mark the day they had a number of special offers, events and a very special guest star.


Crayon Shin-chan is Saitama’s most celebrated anime character. (Totoro is the most famous anime movie.) Much to the delight of unexpecting kids, and even those of us who knew of his scheduled visit, his presence caused a stir and a thirty minute frenzy of kids going wild. True to his anime form, he was mischievous and even demonstrated some of his trademark moves, including his famous Buri Buri butt shake. The kids were all too happy to join in on that one. I have to say though, I was quite impressed by how much he actually played with the kids. He was down on the floor rolling around at one stage, he was running around with them, even tickling them; generally he lived up to their expectations of him being a fun character. This week they will have other events to mark the renewal opening. Tomorrow, Sunday the 12th, they are having a Doraemon event.

The Kawajima Branch of Tsutaya is a small to medium branch. The staff are extremely helpful, friendly and brilliant with kids. When you visit with children, they often give you free colouring pages or out of season campaign goods. They have a great selection of magazines, a moderate selection of books, a fair choice of stationery, a reasonable selection of toys, a sizeable selection of rental CDs and DVDs, but only a small selection of CDs and DVDs to buy. The kids corner is very nice and my kids really enoy it there. It has been extended in the renovation with new indoor climbing frames with slides. They don’t mind kids making a mess of the books and you can spend as much as you like there (within opening hours).   The renewal opening also brought with it a small adult only DVD area. Its tucked away in the corner out of sight, but only a curtain separates it from the main section. If your kids are like mine, a curtain might intrigue them, but thankfully the children’s selection isn’t near the corner.  They currently have a nice Halloween display with a good choice of Japanese Halloween books and a Halloween Tree!


The store is located on route 254 close to the Kawajima Interchange of the Ken-O expressway heading towards Kawagoe.  There is a Starbucks coffee shop across the car park from it. They hold an event together every 3rd Sunday of the month at 3 pm. Parents can enjoy a Starbuck‘s coffee while the kids enjoy storytelling. Parking is free.
Hours are 9 am to 11 pm, but there is a drop box for leaving back rented goods out of hours.

Manhole Monday

I am taking part in the NaBloPoMo challenge this month, which involves writing a blog post everyday. To help the process and also to add to the learning curve, I am trying out some regular blog features. Monday is Manhole day!


Manholes are indeed one of those “Only in Japan” phenomenons, but it’s not quite as tantalising (or revolting?) as it sounds. You may not be surprised to hear that in Japan, with all it’s beauty, you can find art on any street. You may be surprised to hear, however, that it is on the manhole covers. Yes, as in one of those things that leads down to the sewers!

I was here many years before I realised this (thanks to my cousin) and now spend a lot of my walks looking down. I get a thrill out of finding a new one, especially if it’s in colour. I took a few this weekend to share today.  The featured photo and the 1st photo below was taken in the Hiki District of Saitama.   The other photos I took on a short walk, no more than 500 metres, around Fujidana in Yokohama yesterday. I was able to get two different types of covers plus a colourful street sign to share with you this Manhole Monday.



If you have ever posted about Manhole Cover Art in Japan or anywhere in the world, please do leave a link in the comments below. I really do enjoy looking at Manhole covers and I will link to them in next week’s Manhole post.

Related WordPress blog posts

One of my favourite blogs for enjoying Shizuoka Prefecture Manhole Covers (and as a bonus the best restaurant reviewer in Shizuoka) :

The manholes of Osaka, a guest post of mine on a community blog:

THe manhole cover art of Ehime: