With the opening of the Hokuriku Shinkansen, the “Higashi Chaya-gai” or traditional old teahouse street in Kanazawa has been getting a lot of attention.


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Chaya(teahouse) street is an important heritage of Gion, Kyoto.

This street is located on the east side of Asano River, in Kanazawa city, Ishikawa Pref. The street was formed in 1820. We introduced the Chaya-gai, or teahouse street in this past article. The location has been getting more attention after the opening of the Hokuriku Shinkansen because it enables transportation between Kanazawa and Tokyo in just 2 and a half hours.

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What’s “Ochaya”?

Ochaya or teahouse is different from the usual café. It’s where rich people enjoy geisha and maiko shows. It has been developed as a social arena where important people meet new people. Therefore, most of Ochaya still refuses first-time customers, unless someone who is already a customer of the Ochaya has introduced them. Actually, most Japanese people have never been to Ochaya. Why do they have to be so strict about first-time customers? It’s because Ochaya is not just a place where maiko and geisha perform, but also Ochaya coordinates every aspect of the customer’s trip. In addition to this, Ochaya doesn’t bill customers on the spot. They think that billing the customers after servicing them might turn them off, so it’s usually done by future payments through bank accounts. Since the future payment is difficult for first time customers, Ochaya requires a firm relationship between them and their customers.

You will be able to hear the sound of drums and shamisen that the geisha play while strolling through Ochaya-gai at night. If you are interested in having a look at the inside of the Ochaya, you can enter Kaikaro, which is opened as a café during the daytime with an additional cost of 750 yen. Also, the Shima and Ochaya Museum offers a look inside at the local culture.

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The Bridal Journey at Ochaya-gai is becoming secretly popular!

Ochaya-gai is known for its unique culture and one other thing that should be noted is the Bridal journey. Many companies offer bridal/banquet plans and work to promote the attractions of Ochaya-gai. The Bride is wearing the traditional and beautiful Kaga-Yuzen and is walking down the street with her groom. Their relatives walk after the couple and the people on the street celebrate them. Getting a lot of attention at this celebratory walk gives the bride and groom a memorable day. I can understand why this service is becoming popular. If you happen to bump into the newly married couple on the street, you are lucky!

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Map

1 Higashiyama, Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture 920-0831

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AUTHOR

Wasabi

Wasabi

Writer / Translator

I’m a freelance translator from Tokyo who likes to travel right in the middle of the unpredictables in life. Through the translation of articles I hope to create points of contact between Japan and the rest of the world. As a writer, I want to add information that isn’t in the guide book, from a “wasabi” perspective!

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