ひがし茶屋街 Higashichaya Old Town
- Walk around (Old cities)
- Around Kanazawa
- Travelko Rating
Beautiful wooden architecture and interesting shops
You can see the old town with beautiful wooden lattice called "Kimuko". It is located near the Asano river and temples at the foot of the Utatsu mountain. In the evening, we can listen to the sound of Japanese traditional instruments, shamisen and taiko.
This area is similar to the district of Gion in Kyoto.
Near the area of Higashi Chayagai, there is also Kazuemachi Chayagai where you can see the old town and some famous monuments too.
This vicinity is registered as an important preservation district of historic buildings. Although there are many beautiful buildings in Tokyo, they are not all in the same area whereas this district has all its architectural wonders in the same district, making it easier for you to visit it and see everything at the same time.
Although most tea houses only accept regular members and newcomers cannot enter them, you can still admire them from outside. Some tea houses were also renovated in cafes, restaurants and souvenir shops.
Shima is a famous spot where you can see the interior of an old tea house. It is like a small museum.
Another one is Kaikaro which you can visit during the day. There is a cafe and a souvenir shop and you can also see a geisha performance. They are professional entertainers wearing traditional Japanese costumes.
Next to Kaikaro, there is a sake brewery, Fukumitsu founded in the 17th century. You can also buy sweets, souvenirs and sake flavor ice cream. There are shops selling gold leaf, porcelain called Kutani ware, handicrafts and many other good shops too.
It is frequent to come across geisha and other people wearing kimonos on the street.
Weddings in this area are very traditional too. You can wear traditional costumes, go to a shrine and walk around like it was a parade.
In June, during the "Kanazawa Hyakumangoku festival", you can see lanterns floating on the Asano river.
Kaga yuzen is the name of traditional textile in Kanazawa. You can also see Kaga yuzen textile fixed to poles and floating in the Asano river sometimes. It is one of the final production processes of the textile.
Walk in the historic labyrinth of beautiful traditional tea houses
Higashi Chaya district is the largest geisha district in Kanazawa which used to be a prestigious geisha district comparable to Gion in Kyoto.
Kanazawa is called the little Kyoto and there are 3 geisha districts: Higashi Chaya district, Nishi Chaya district and Kazue-machi Chaya district.
"Chaya" means tea house but it is not your regular cafe. It is a place you go to to see geisha performing Japanese traditional dances and playing traditional musical instruments. If you're lucky, you can see real geisha around the district especially at night.
But nowadays Higashi Chaya district is a major tourist area in Kanazawa. There are many fancy restaurants, stylish cafes and lovely tea rooms, unique shops, galleries in beautiful latticed tea houses that were renovated to offer modern features while keeping their original form.
Of course, you can learn about geisha and their culture at special tea houses like Shima (http://www.ochaya-shima.com/english/index.html) and Kaikaro (http://www.kenrokuen.jp/en/kaikaro/index.html).
Shima is the precious tea house designated as a cultural asset of national importance. They don't carry on business anymore and are now open to the public. You can learn a lot there about the geisha world and also you can experience tea ceremony in the tea room "Kanson-an" attached to Shima.
Kaikaro is a real tea house which still does business and normally they refuse first-time customers like many other tea houses. However you can take a look inside of the tea house and have a coffee or tea in a cafe attached to Kaikaro.
Higashi Chaya district is located near Omi-cho market and Kazue-machi Chaya district in eastern Kanazawa, it takes about 10 minutes by bus or 30 minutes on foot from Kanazawa station.
I recommend to get a 1-day ticket of Joka-machi Kanazawa Syuyu bus (Hop On Hop Off Sightseeing Bus) for ¥500 and you can go easily almost all the major tourist spots in Kanazawa.
Address: Higashiyama, Kanazawa 920-0831
- Route bus: About 10 min from the Kenroku-en exit bus terminal at Kanazawa station. Get off at "Hashiba-cho (Kazue-machi / Higashi Chaya district)".
- Joka-machi Kanazawa Syuyu bus (Hop On Hop Off Sightseeing Bus) : About 10 min (the bus that go around the right course) or 25 min (the bus that go around the left course) from the Kenroku-en exit bus terminal at Kanazawa station. Get off at "Hashiba-cho (Kazue-machi / Higashi Chaya District)".
About 10 min from Kanazawa station.
- * The information above is from the date of the review. Please be aware that some of the content may vary from the most recent information.
Other Sightseeing Spots of Kanazawa, Noto (Ishikawa)
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