Kawagoe’s magical dog Priya
I was living in the Kawagoe area many years before I stumbled upon a curious little shop off the beaten track, which has intrigued and enthralled me ever since. It is on the often overlooked Taisho Roman Dream Street. The name of the shop is as ambiguous as the products and services they offer. The kanji over the door 浪漫 can be called “Roman“, the Japanese version of Romantic, but nowhere on their webpages is this name used. So I call it Kasumi, which is the most common name I can find associated to the shop.
Update 2021: I often get asked if Priya is still alive. The truth is, I don’t know and haven’t known for the last year. Anytime I visit the area the store is closed. Furthermore, the website for this shop is no longer working. However, I have not been able to find information online that the shop has either temporarily or permanently closed. I will continue to visit it sporadically to see if I can get an update.
Kasumi aka 川越陣力屋
Kasumi (or Kasumi Flower) seems to have originally been set up as a management shop for some of the rickshaws in the area. However, one of the many signs over its door says its a “stone grill” restaurant. This indeed seems to be one of their better trades, serving hungry customers, but here’s the curious bit, its stone grilled… curry?? Just another conundrum of this unique and mysterious shop near the tourist area of Kawagoe.
One of their key products is honey and I have to say its about the best I’ve ever tasted. The beekeeper seems to be the owner of the shop, he is certainly the key character there. He is a formidable and charismatic man, albeit slightly egocentric, but he reminds me of the Moore Street traders. He delights in talking and prides himself on his produce. Moreover, he has excellent English so he can explain quite a lot about beekeeping and the killer hornets he displays in jars at the front of the shop. In addition, he is also the owner of the famous healing dog Priya.
Priya is said to have healing and magical powers. In exactly what way I do not know. The signs above and outside the shop brag of the Goddess Dog of Good Luck Priya. Inside the shop, cum restaurant cum rickshaw depot, they sell Priya goods and amulets. If you buy lunch or purchase honey you get to have your photo taken with Priya. There are a number of photos of Priya with famous people and she has been on the TV and in the media a number of times. All I can say for sure is that she is a very lovely and placid dog. I can’t attest to her powers. She does fascinate me though, they way she sits up in the chair almost regally, perfectly poised and ready for a souvenir photo.
All in all, Kasumi (aka Roman Ishiyaki aka Kawagoe Jiryokuya) is worth a visit if you enjoy bantering with shopkeepers, like something a bit quirky, want to try stone grilled curry or delicious honey, are fascinated by killer hornets and/or want to meet a (maybe) magical dog!
KASUMI / ROMAN ISHIYAKI / KAWAGOE JIRYOKUYA
HOURS: 11am to 5pm. Please note that while they don’t have an official day off, they tend to take days here and there. Especially after a busy weekend. There are quite a lot of shops like that in Kawagoe.
TEL: 049-225-1015 (Shop)
unfortunately all of the links for this shop are no longer working. I have removed the hyperlinks of each of them. I have left them here in case they are just temporarily “out of order”.
Priya the magical dog: https://www.kasumiflower.co.jp/priya/index.html
Rickshaw company Kawagoe Jiryokuya: https://www.kasumiflower.co.jp/jinrikiya/index.html
Beekeeping and honey: https://www.kasumiflower.co.jp/honey/index.html