3. Tour for the Storehouses
＊The North Tour＊
(1) Chujiro-gura(Ogawa Chujiro’s Store and House)
This two-story building with clay wall, was built as store and house for living in 1925. So, this is a store warehouse. It stands at facing a street and house follows it with L-shape. The house has clay wall at north side to prevent a strong north wind and an extension of fire by the wind. This method for the building was called “Half Clay Wall style” and it is often seen in Gyoda city.
We can see the L-shape nails on the clay wall. It is said that these nails are used to prevent ladders from sliding right and left, and they also might be for decoration. This is reused as Japanese Noodles shop 「Chujiro-gura」at present.
This two-story wooden building for office, house and factory with saw-toothed roof were built when they (Makitei store: Makino Teizou) started Tabi and Clothes manufacturing business in 1940. These buildings remind us typical calm Japanese houses that were seen before the World War Ⅱ. These are reused as dyeing workshop and artist sharing studio.
Visitors can enjoy Indigo-Dyeing Experience Workshop here. It’ll take about an hour and forty minutes to make your own Indigo-Dyeing product with reasonable cost.
Makitei-sha welcomes visitors who enjoy Indigo-dyeing Experience Workshop on Sunday 10:00-16:00. Application in advance is very much appreciated.(firstname.lastname@example.org)
This is called L-shaped storehouse that was built in 1903, and unique in even in Gyoda, for it stands at facing to street and is connected with the house completed in 1940. We see another Tokita storehouse that was built in 1929. It stands at opposite side of the Chujiro-gura.
(4) Makino head office・Tabi &Living Museum
These buildings were built as shop with storehouse, main house, two clay storehouses and factory. The founder, Makino was Samurai in Oshi-han(domain). So, he was a unique Samurai who was successful in business. It is reused as Tabi & Living Museum. It shows us Tabi factory in his best days again, and demonstration of Tabi manufacturing. Everybody can experience producing of “My Tabi”.
Tabi manufacturing has about 13 processes and 9 different types of machines were used.
If you go up the second floor, you can see the old maps and pictures of Tabi shop and town.
Also, you may be surprised to find a variety of Tabi including Running Tabi, Beach Tabi and Jumbo Tabi.
(5) Gyoda Branch Office of Musashino Bank
This building was completed as Oshi Saving bank in 1934 and the bank supported Tabi industry in finance. This is the unusual building that was built in small number in Saitama Prefecture before the World WarⅡ.
It is a building of western old fashion style with dentil and eaves molding. No entrance exists at the west side and few windows compare to the east side, for they have strong wind that comes from the north west in winter in Gyoda.
(6) Tabi-gura Town Museum
It is said that this Tabi storehouse was built by Kurihara Daihachi to give craftsmen jobs in 1906. They were suffering with poor economy after Russo-Japanese War. This is reused as information center to promote new business in this town.
(7) The Osawa Kyuemon (House and clay storehouse)
These are the Osawa’s house and clay storehouse. The Osawa was the most wealthy wholesale store of dyeing for cotton textiles in Gyoda. These were built in late Edo period and the clay storehouse is the oldest Tabi-gura that exists in Gyoda. These two buildings stopped the spread of big fire that occurred in 1846.
In this garden, there is a stone lantern that two poems of Basho, famous Haiku-poet were carved on it. Moreover, Sakai Hoitsu designed the lantern and copied these poems by himself. He was also famous Haiku-poet and painter in late Edo period(from 18th to 19th century). The ancestor of the Osawa was a friend of Sakai Hoitsu.
There are four Tabi storehouses that stand on the narrow rectangle ground, often seen in castle town. The Hozumi was the most prosperous merchant for Tabi materials business.
The second clay storehouse from right is the oldest one. The fourth stone storehouse is the newest one built in 1932. They have another storehouse in the east over the road. These are typical warehouses that represent Tabi-gura in Gyoda.
This building was originally built as kitchenware shop in 1929. Now this is reused as baker shop and art event is opened sometimes.
(10) Jyumangoku Fukusaya Gyoda Head Office and shop
This was originally completed as dry-goods store and is storehouse with unusual Edo period-style in Gyoda. This became Tabi-gura in 1952 and Jumangoku(cake shop) purchased this building in 1969. They modified this building, it has rare wall called Namako Wall.
Coffee Break 2:
There are still old buildings of Tabi factory with the saw-toothed roof. The roof has windows that faced to the north to prevent discoloring the Tabi. It was ordinary thinking in that days that products were more important than keeping in good health of employee.
The storehouse might be used as shop with storehouse, or factory with storehouse. And the first floor might be shop and second floor was often used as storehouse. The mean that connect the first floor and the second floor was not stair, but a ladder. So they could save more space for shop and factory.
Warabe Copper Figures:
In 1998, the above-ground cables strung out along the Route 125, the street running through the center of Gyoda, were laid underground. In tandem with this project, small structures housing electrical equipment were built along the 860 meter(950yds) route from City Hall to Sakae-bashi Bridge.
Each structure features a copper figure of a child, called “Warabe”.
39 figures produced by sculptor Akagawa Masayoshi, depict in various working and playing scenes to welcome sightseers.
In 1999, the City of Gyoda received the Sainokuni Saitama Award from the government of Saitama Prefecture in recognition of the figures’s beautification of the city. To this day they remain so popular with the local community, it is hard to imagine Gyoda without them.