24 Feb 2017 in Discover Japan
Welcome to Higashi Chaya, a picturesque neighbourhood that's a focal point of Japanese heritage...
At one time Kanazawa’s tea houses were to be found all over the city, but nowadays they are concentrated in three districts, of which Higashi is the largest.
The neighbourhood of Higashi Chaya is the eastern part of the city – higashi means east in Japanese – and more specifically, to the south-east of Kanazawa Castle. This district lies alongside the Asano river and is characterised by its long streets lined with wooden houses, representative of the Edo period in their appearance and their typical two-storey construction.
A true heritage
Higashi’s tea houses are easily recognisable by their architectural style that was unusual for the Edo period, because at that time, the tea houses were among the few categories of buildings to obtain permission to be built on two floors.
For this reason, they are now designated as an Important Preservation Districts. These houses are distinguished by their superb external latticework at ground-floor level, and their upstairs room in which the guests might sometimes be greeted by geishas.
And while some of the houses have been refurbished and turned into restaurants or gift shops, others still welcome visitors at tea time in the purest tradition.
Located some 40 minutes by bus from Hoshino Resort KAI Kaga, the Higashi district is visited for its beauty, its tranquillity, its authenticity, and for the pleasure of seeing geishas in ceremonial dress.