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Tour around the Higashi Chaya District & Kazue-machi Chaya District full of emotion

Approx. 3 hours and 30 minutes
Bus and walk

This half-day course offers a relaxing tour of the Kazue-machi Chaya District, Higashi Chaya District, and the banks of the Asanogawa River, immersing visitors in the lustrous and tranquil atmosphere of Kanazawa, a city of water, greenery, and history.

Tour around the Higashi Chaya District & Kazue-machi Chaya District full of emotion
From Kanazawa Station Kenrokuen Gate (East Gate), bus stop No. 7
Take the Kanazawa Loop Bus RL (clockwise route) for approx.12 minutes.
Get off at "Hashiba-cho (Kinjohro-mae)" bus stop.
Approx. 5 min.

Kuboichi Ototsurugi-gu Shrine

A shrine associated with Kyoka Izumi, perched at the top of Kuragarizaka (a dark slope).

The shrine is located in Owari-cho, a townscape of stately merchant houses, and has a long history as the birthplace of the market in Kanazawa. The stone stairway leading up the hill past the shrine grounds to Kazue-machi Chaya District is known as "Kuragarizaka"(a dark slope), and is a famous sightseeing spot.

Kuboichi Ototsurugi-gu Shrine

Kuragarizaka (a dark slope)・Kazue-machi Chaya District

Historical Rows of Houses Designated as Japan's Cultural Assets

Kazue-machi is an old geisha district located along the river between Asanogawa Ohashi Bridge and Naka-no Hashi Bridge. 

Gaisha are traditional, female Japanese entertainers, whose skills include performing various Japanese arts, such as classical music and dance. It is one of the three geisha districts of Kanazawa. Chaya is a traditional place of feasts and entertainments, where geisha perform dances and play Japanese traditional musical instruments, such as the shamisen (a three-stringed musical instrument), bamboo flute, and drum. 

Still now, many chaya houses and restaurants are located in this neighborhood, and people may hear the sound of the shamisen from the twilight time. When you stroll around this area, you can see very Kanazawa-like and Japanese-like scenes and atmospheres, such as the view of the area from Asanogawa Ohashi Bridge, the rows of chaya houses in Kazue-machi, the appearance of Naka-no Hashi Bridge, and Kuragarizaka (a dark slope), which connects to the Owari-cho hill area. The historical rows of this teahouse town have been designated as Japan's cultural assets since 2008.

Kuragarizaka (a dark slope)・Kazue-machi Chaya District

Naka-no Hashi Bridge

Wooden bridge overlooking cherry blossoms in the Kazue-machi Chaya District

The wooden Naka-no Hashi Bridge retains the historical atmosphere of the Edo period (1603-1868) and from it you can contemplate the beautiful view over the Kazue-machi Chaya District and Asanogawa River. In the spring, it is a famous spot to enjoy cherry blossoms.

Naka-no Hashi Bridge
Approx. 5 min.

Ume-no Hashi Bridge, Taki-no Shiraito Monument

An atmospheric wooden-style bridge nestled in the Geisha district

The wooden-style Ume-no Hashi Bridge spans the upstream side of the Asanogawa Ohashi Bridge. This bridge is for pedestrians only and is convenient when walking from the city center where Kenrokuen Garden and other places are located to Higashi Chaya District. The area around the bridge was the setting for "Giketsu-kyoketsu", a novel by local writer Kyoka Izumi, and a statue of the heroine, Taki no Shiraito, and a monument have been erected there. It is illuminated at night, so it is recommended to stop by after enjoying dinner at Higashi Chaya District.

Ume-no Hashi Bridge, Taki-no Shiraito Monument
Approx. 3 min.

Utasu Jinja Shrine

The origin of this shrine is said to be that an old mirror dug up from the riverside of the Asanogawa River had a pattern of a rabbit and a dragon, and the shrine was dedicated to the god Utatsu (means rabbit and dragon). After the death of Lord Toshiie Maeda, the founder of the Kaga Domain,  Utasu Hachimangu Shrine was built and became a clan shrine enshrining the spirit of the Maeda family. In the back of the precincts, there is a "Sasayu* water well of Lord Toshitsune(the third of Kaga Domain)" which is said to have cured Tsunanori(the fifth of Kaga Domain)'s illness.

*Sasayu...Sake-infused hot water used in Edo period (1603-1868) to bathe children after they were cured of pemphigus.

Utasu Jinja Shrine

Higashi Chaya District

Discover one of Kanazawa’s largest geisha districts

In Japanese culture, geisha houses have been traditional places for feasts and entertainment since the Edo period. Also referred to as “chaya”, they are where geishas entertained wealthy nobility and rich merchants. Geishas are female Japanese entertainers who perform dances and play traditional Japanese instruments.

The central part of Kanazawa was once dotted with a number of geisha houses, but in 1820, these were moved to three specific districts away from the city centre. The largest one of these – and arguably the most famous – is the Higashi Chaya district.

The geisha houses in Higashi Chaya have a stunning traditional appearance. A geisha house is characterised by the beautiful lattice on the outer side of its first floor, called “kimusuko”, and the Japanese-style guestrooms located on the second floor. During the Edo period, the construction of two-story buildings except geisha houses was prohibited, making their appearance all the more striking.

These historical geisha houses along with Kyoto's Gion and Kanazawa's Kazue-machi have been designated as Japanese cultural assets. No other geisha districts have been designated as cultural assets for Japan, making Higashi Chaya even more special.

The district includes facilities where you can see the interior of a geisha house that was built almost 200 years ago, as well as quite a few old buildings have been refurbished into restaurants, cafes, and souvenir shops. Additionally, it takes a mere three minutes on foot to reach the banks of the Asano River from Higashi Chaya, making it an excellent area to explore afterwards.

The Kanazawa City Tourism Association holds a geisha performance show in the three geisha districts of the city on designated Saturdays, so make sure you plan your visit accordingly.

Click here for stores in Higashi Chaya District where you can use the special Gourmet Ticket Kanazawa Bimi.

Higashi Chaya District

Higashi Chaya Kyukeikan Rest House

This Machiya (traditional Japanese wooden townhouse) rest house was built at the end of the Edo period (1603-1868) and was restored in 2003. The building originally served as a pawnshop, and today, it is a rest station for tourists, where volunteer sightseeing guides stand, to give information (in Japanese only) about Higashi Chaya District, and other local sightseeing spots.

Higashi Chaya Kyukeikan Rest House
  • Kuboichi Ototsurugi-gu Shrine
  • Kuragarizaka (a dark slope)・Kazue-machi Chaya District
  • Naka-no Hashi Bridge
  • Ume-no Hashi Bridge, Taki-no Shiraito Monument
  • Utasu Jinja Shrine
  • Higashi Chaya District
  • Higashi Chaya Kyukeikan Rest House


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