Higashi Chaya District
Often called “Little Kyoto,” Kanazawa City is known for its traditional crafts and well-preserved Edo period buildings, like those found in the nostalgic stone-paved streets of the Higashi Chaya District. Literally the “eastern tea house” area, Higashi Chaya was an entertainment district where wealthy samurai and aristocrat customers could be entertained by beautifully-dressed geisha, performing traditional music, Japanese dancing, and playing drinking games. Along the streets today, the traditional wooden townhouses (machiya) have been renovated into working cafes and restaurants, architecturally similar to the tea house buildings. Inside, revitalized shops sell souvenirs, artisanal wares, and exquisite local food, particularly showcasing Kanazawa's specialty gold-leaf crafts. For experiencing tea, Ochaya Shima Tea House has been converted into a geisha museum, while traditional Kaikaro is the other tea house still operating. Servicing the western side of the city, a small geisha district called Nishi Chaya is located by Ninjadera, a ninja temple designed with traps and secret doors. When visiting the Higashi Chaya District, be sure to eat some ice cream topped with gold leaf or enjoy local wagashi sweets like kintsuba, azuki beans wrapped in a dough of wheat flour.
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