Western-Style Clinic in Little Edo; Built in 1913, Looks Like a House Out of a Picture Book

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

KAWAGOE, Saitama — Buildings preserved from the 1900s form a unique landscape in central Kawagoe in Saitama Prefecture.

Stepping out of the street crowded with tourists, I found an elegant Western-style building in a back alley.

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

The light green clapboard exterior is said to be 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 making it look like a house out of a picture book or anime, and passersby stop to admire it and comment on how cute it is.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
The double-door window, which is rare today. The white 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 another dental clinic. The clinic had served local people from the early Showa period (1926-1989) to the postwar period, but closed when the grandfather Kiyoshi passed away in 1975. Since then, the clinic had been the Nakano family’s home, with the examination room turned into the children’s room and the staff room becoming the parents’ room.

It was 27 years later in 2002 when Fumio became a dentist and opened the current Chuseido Dental Clinic.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Clinic director Fumio Nakano

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

For the reopening, the skeleton of the building was left untouched, and only areas in need of 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’ve been greeted by the people in the town,” Fumio said. “I want to continue to run a clinic where local people feel at home and have a sense of belonging.”


The Yomiuri Shimbun

Chuseido Dental Clinic

Address: 13-5 Saiwaicho, Kawagoe, Saitama Prefecture

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

Memo: The inside of the building is open for patients only. The building is illuminated in winter.