Kanazawa Chaya Districts

This tea house area still has the appearance of an Edo period castle town

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Tea houses, where visitors can enjoy the company of “geisha”, were established in the Chaya (tea house) districts since the Edo period. That tradition is still alive today in these picture-perfect districts with their historical buildings.
東山ひがし茶屋街,Higashiyama Kanazawa, Ishikawa

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Come and listen to the sounds of the shamisen and taiko in an elegant atmosphere

The Chaya districts, which were constructed around the year 1820, have a long history in the castle town of Kanazawa. At the tea houses, geishas who had refined their craft welcomed visitors by playing the shamisen and taiko and with dancing. Even today, there are three Chaya districts that retain their ancient appearance; Higashi Chaya District, Nishi Chaya District, and Kazuemachi Chaya District. Although first-time customers are often refused entry to the tatami rooms in the tea houses, which are difficult to enter, some tea houses have a bar is more easily accessible. Today, in addition to the tea houses, many of the traditional buildings contain restaurants, cafes and souvenir shops. It is fun even just to walk around these beautiful streets. In the evening, you can hear the sounds of the shamisen and taiko in this elegant atmosphere.

National Preservation District for Groups of Traditional Buildings (also includes Kyoto’s Gion)

The most popular Chaya district is Higashi Chaya District, which is the largest district and is situated between the Utatsuyama Temple Area, with its roughly 50 temples, and Asanogawa River. It is a designated Preservation District for Groups of Traditional Buildings, which also includes Gion in Kyoto. The rows of wooden buildings feature black tiled roofs with lattice doors, which gives the area an atmosphere of having been transported in time from the Edo period. At the Sabou-isho café in Higashi Chaya, you can try Kenjo Kaga-bocha, a Kaga specialty tea that is known for having been presented to the Emperor Showa. From its elegant rooms, you can enjoy the scenery of the Chaya district through the lattice doors. There are delicious Japanese confectionaries to try, such as fresh Japanese sweets and sweet bean jam. You can also inspect the inside of the Shima tea house, which is a designated National Important Cultural Property built in 1820. Here, you can taste matcha and Japanese confectionaries in the Kansonan tea house inside Shima.

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