Learn the history of teahouses at "Higashi Chaya District" in Kanazawa

Learn the history of teahouses at
The town of Kanazawa has a long history all the way back from the Edo period. There is a castle town that developed near the Kanazawa Castle. This town still looks the same as it did a long time ago, as it was never affected by war damage or earthquakes. This time, let's focus on the culture of the popular "Higashi Chaya District" of Kanazawa.

What is the one characteristic of Higashi Chaya District that you will notice when you walk through it?

As you walk through Higashi Chaya District, you will notice that the houses lined up on the street have a lattice of very thin wood with very little gap in between. This lattice is called the "Kimusuko", and it is one of the main features of the houses in Higashi Chaya District. It is made so that you can see well from the inside, but cannot see anything from the outside.

The Kimusuko is not only beautiful, but it also has is an excellent provider for privacy. So what kinds of things were done inside the teahouses that you could not see from the outside?

The teahouse is not a place for drinking tea! It was a social gathering place for wealthy men and geisha

Although most of the teahouses are now reformed into Japanese cafes where you can have tea, the teahouse was used as a place for geisha to entertain customers during the Edo period.

Samurai were not allowed inside, and only the wealthy merchants and local businessmen were welcomed to enjoy the gatherings every night. What's more, all bills were paid afterwards. The teahouse was a place for social gatherings built on mutual trust between the geisha and the limited number of wealthy men.

The wealthy men took lessons themselves to be able to repeatedly go to the teahouse

At the teahouse, it was expected for guests to have the knowledge, education, and competence to understand the provided entertainment. For this reason, the wealthy men would take lessons in their own wills to acquire the ability to have a taste for the entertainment. Of course, the geisha had to have a wide range of knowledge and education as well, so they would also work hard on self-improvement. In this way, the teahouses were like an extraordinary world built up by the wealthy men and geisha who valued sophistication.

The only teahouse in the country that has been left the same is "Shima"

To directly experience the teahouse culture, I recommend visiting "Shiga", which was designated as an important cultural property of the country. Shiga is a teahouse in Higashi Chaya District that was established in 1820. Its delicate and exquisitely designed inner garden and the drawing room decorated with taiko drums and lanterns, you allow you to enjoy the atmosphere from back then.
How about enjoying the culture of the brilliant teahouse in a space that will make you feel like you will hear the sounds of the shamisen at any moment.
▲You can have green tea and high-grade Japanese confectionery for 700 yen in the tea room of Shima
【Address】1-13-21 Higashiyama, Kanazawa, Ishikawa
【Price】Adults: 500 yen, Elementary and Middle School: 300 yen
【Closed】Open all year round
Higashi Chaya District is filled with fascinations. You can go around the town wearing a kimono, go on a tour of Japanese cafes, or go on a search for Japanese arts and crafts. Be sure to fully enjoy the brilliant teahouse culture with a history of over 200 years to your heart's content.

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