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Chaya Districts / Kanazawa / Hokuriku

http://www.japaneselifestyle.com.au/japan_picture/albums/upload/kanazawa/higashi_chaya_district/normal_higashi_chaya_district_1896.jpg
(Higashi Chaya District)

A chaya (lit. teahouse) is an exclusive type of restaurant where guests are entertained by geisha who perform song and dance.
During the Edo Period, chaya were found in designated entertainment districts, usually just outside the city limits.
Kanazawa has three, well preserved chaya districts, Higashi Chayagai (Eastern Chaya District), Nishi Chayagai (Western Chaya District) and Kazuemachi. They are charming places with wooden buildings and paved streets reminiscent of another era. Each district still has operating chaya, and you may happen to see a geisha in the early evening as she travels to one of her engagements.
http://www.japaneselifestyle.com.au/japan_picture/albums/upload/kanazawa/higashi_chaya_district/normal_higashi_chaya_district_1908.jpg
(Higashi Chaya District)
http://www.japan-i.jp/explorejapan/chubu/ishikawa/kanazawa/d8jk7l00000002xl-img/d8jk7l00000002y4.jpg
(Nishi Chaya District)

The Higashi Chaya District is the largest and by far the most interesting of the three districts. Two chaya, the Shima Teahouse and Kaikaro Teahouse, are open to the public. Other buildings along the central street now house cafes and shops. One of the shops, Hakuza, sells gold leaf products, a specialty of Kanazawa, and displays a tea ceremony room which is completely covered in gold leaf.

The Nishi Chaya District, a short walk from both the Nagamachi samurai district and Ninja Temple, is much smaller and offers less to see. There is a museum, the Nishi Chaya Shiryokan, which displays the history of the district and is a meeting place for free tours of the area (Japanese only).

The third district, the Kazuemachi Chaya District has the smallest number of preserved buildings and consists mainly of restaurants and chaya. It is located a short walk across the river from the more interesting Higashi Chaya District.

Higashi Chaya District:
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3028/2827434645_2bc072806d_m.jpg
Shima Teahouse
30 meters down the north side of the street
Hours: 9:00 to 18:00
Closed: No closing days
Admission: 400 yen
A preserved tea house, which has been converted into a museum. The rooms where geisha would perform and the kitchen are on display along with various instruments and items used by the geisha.
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3643/3652533782_970e5618e4.jpg
Kaikaro Teahouse
100 meters down the south side of the street
Hours: 9:00 to 18:00
Closed: Tuesdays (except national holidays)
Admission: 700 yen
The Kaikaro Chaya is still an operating tea house, but opens its doors to the public. Tea service is included with admission.
http://lh6.ggpht.com/claraandpaul/SOw86XAcOOI/AAAAAAAABWg/L9XXuk4gdTk/KS15_08.jpg
Hakuza Gold Leaf Store
A few steps from Shima Teahouse
Hours: 9:00 to 18:00
Closed: No closing days
A shop selling gold leaf products, a specialty of Kanazawa. Inside the shop is a traditional Japanese warehouse which has been turned into a tearoom and completely covered inside and out with gold leaf.

Nishi Chaya District:
http://www.travel-around-japan.com/pht-k47-09-3.jpg
Nishi Chaya Shiryokan 
At the southern end of the district
Hours: 9:00 to 17:00
Closed: No closing days
Admission: Free
This converted chaya houses a museum with a model tea room and exhibits about the history of the district.

How to get there

The Higashi Chaya and Kazuemachi districts can be accessed by the Kanazawa Loop Bus in about 12 minutes from Kanazawa Station. Get off at Hashibacho bus stop, from where either district can be reached in a five minute walk.

The Nishi Chaya District is located a short walk from Hirokoji bus stop, reached in a 20 minute bus ride from Kanazawa Station (East Exit bus stops numbers 7 to 9).

How to get to and around Kanazawa
http://mappery.com/maps/Kanazawa-Tourist-Map-2.mediumthumb.gif

By TS on May 15, 2011
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tag : Kanazawa

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