ひがし茶屋街 Higashichaya Old Town
- Old cities
- Around Kanazawa
- Travelko Rating
Beautiful wooden architecture and interesting shops
We can see old cityscapes with beautiful wooden lattice called Kimusuko. It is located near the Asano river and temples at the foot of Utastu mountain. In the evening, we can listen to sound of Japnsese traditional instrument, shamisen and taiko. It is similar to Gion in Kyoto. Near Higashi Chayagai, there is also Kazuemachi Chayagai. We can see old cityscapes and some monuments of literature.
This vicinity is registered as important preservation district of historic buildings. Although there are many excellent architecture in Tokyo, they exist as points. It is impossible to create this continuity as a cityscape now. So, we can see how important it is, if we actually visit this district.
Although some ochayas where we need introduction still exist, here is one of sightseeing spots in Kanazawa. There are some cafes where we can enjoy sweets, restaurants and souvenir shops.
Shima is one of famous spots where we can see the interior of an old ochaya house. It is like a small museum. And, in the daytime, we can see the interior of Kaikaro. There are a cafe and a souvenir shop. And also, we can see a performance of Geiko (Geisha). They are professional entertainers wearing traditional Japanese costume and trained traditional performances.
And also, we can often come across Geiko (Geisha) and people wearing Kimono on the streets. And, if we marry in this area, we wear traditional costume, go to a shrine commonly called Bishamon-san, hold a wedding and walk around like a parade.
In June, during Kanazawa Hyakumangoku Festival, we can see lanterns floating on the Asano River. It is one of annual events, Kaga Yuzen Touro Nagashi. Kaga Yuzen is the name of traditional textile in Kanazawa. We can also see Kaga Yuzen textile fixed and floating in the Asano River sometimes. It is one of the final production processes.
And, next to Kaikaro, there is a shop of a sake brewery, Fukumitsu founded in 17th century. We can also buy sweets and souvenirs. We can eat ice cream with sake flavor. And, as for a souvenir, there are shops of gold leaf, porcelain called Kutaniyaki, handicrafts and many other good shops. So, please walk around and find good ones.
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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