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Western Style Clinic in Little Edo; Built in 1913, it looks like a house from a picture book

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Chuseido Dental Clinic. The exterior walls are repainted approximately every 10 years.

KAWAGOE, Saitama — 20th century buildings form a unique landscape in downtown Kawagoe, Saitama Prefecture.

When I stepped out of the street full of tourists, I found an elegant Western-style building in an alley.

Chuseido Dental Clinic, built in 1913 as a clinic-cum-residence, is an active clinic where Kawagoe residents can go for treatment today.

The light green clapboard exterior is said to have been built in the English style, with double door windows on the first floor and sash windows on the second floor. The house is surrounded by a red brick wall that makes it look like a house from a picture book or anime, and passersby stop to admire it and comment on how cute it is.


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The Yomiuri Shimbun
The double-door window, which is rare these days. The white window frames stand out against the green walls.

The grandfather of the clinic’s current director, Fumio Nakano, 55, bought the building in 1931, when it was still a dental clinic. The clinic had served the local population from the early Showa period (1926-1989) to the post-war period, but closed when grandfather Kiyoshi passed away in 1975. Since then, the clinic had been the Nakano family home, with the examination room converted into the nursery and the staff room becoming the parent room.

It was 27 years later, in 2002, when Fumio became a dentist and opened what is now Chuseido Dental Clinic.


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The Yomiuri Shimbun
Clinic director Fumio Nakano

“I remember my grandfather treating my cavities here,” Fumio said. “My neighbors told me, ‘I used to be treated by Kiyoshi-san.’ I spontaneously developed the desire to open a dental clinic.”

Before the reopening, the skeleton of the building remained untouched and only the parts requiring repair were renovated. The waiting room is furnished with antique wooden chairs. On sunny days, the windows let in bright sunlight, which can ease patients’ anxiety before treatment.

“Thanks to this building, I have been greeted by the people of the city,” Fumio said. “I want to continue running a clinic where locals feel at home and at home somewhere.”

***


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The Yomiuri Shimbun

Chuseido Dental Clinic

Address: 13-5 Saiwaicho, Kawagoe, Saitama Prefecture

Access: A 13-minute walk from Hon-Kawagoe Station on the Seibu Shinjuku Line, and a 16-minute walk from Kawagoeshi Station on the Tobu Tojo Line.

Memo: The inside of the building is only open to patients. In winter the building is illuminated.

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