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Enjoy an authentic Japanese experience in Kanazawa. ~ Higashi tea house district and Kazuemachi tea house district~

Writer : kosu

Kanazawa is the main city of Ishikawa prefecture. Ishikawa is located in the centre of Japan’s main island. This region is called Hokuriku. In 2015 Japan Rail started to operate the Hokuriku Shinkansen(bullet train) line. Now we can access Kanazawa station from Tokyo in only 2.5 hours!
This time I journeyed through Kanazawa’s popular tourist spots, the Higashi tea house district and the Kazuemachi tea house district.

Higashi tea house district and the Kazuemachi tea house district.

Many people love to walk in these districts because there are traditional tea houses and small shops. Ochaya (tea house) is a sophisticated place of entertainment for people in high society. Geiko, who are dressed in Kimono, entertain guests by performing traditional dance and playing the Shamisen or by hosting Ozashiki-asobi (games with Geisha).

Higashi tea house district
Higashi tea house district

In Kanazawa three main tea house districts remain down to this day. The “Higashi tea house district”, the “Nishi tea house district”, and the “Kazuemachi tea house district”. These three teahouse districts are designated as Important Preservation Districts for Groups of Historic Buildings in Japan.

YAOYOROZ (or Yaoyoroz Honpo)

I stopped by at Yaoyoroz on the way to the tea house district. This shop is near the “Kazuemachi tea house district”.

Yaoyoroz is a shop that sells select goods from Ishikawa prefecture. The selection ranges from miscellaneous goods to gifts and sweets. They even run a cafe there. It is interesting to see masterpieces created by local artisans and tastefully selected “genuine culinary utensils”.

[YAOYOROZ]
[YAOYOROZ]

The biggest reason I visited was to see and take photos of “Hyakuman-san”! Hyakuman-san was created to promote Kanazawa station when they started to operate the Hokuriku Shinkansen in March of 2015.

[Hyakuman-san]
[Hyakuman-san]

One part of the cafe is used as an atelier to make Hyakuman-san goods. I took some snapshots of Hyakuman-san the making in progress.

[Hyakuman-san]
[Hyakuman-san]
OPEN

YAOYOROZ (or Yaoyoroz Honpo)

Address
2-14-20 Owari-cho, Kanazawa city, Ishikawa prefecture[MAP]
Tel
076-213-5148
Hours
10:00-19:00
Closed
Wednesdays
WEB
URL (Japanese)

Kazuemachi teahouse district

Kazuemachi teahouse district offers traditional restaurants and teahouses. It was the narrow street which made it the less touristy comparing to the Higashi teahouse district later I visited.

Kazuemachi teahouse district
Kazuemachi teahouse district
OPEN

Kazuemachi teahouse district

Address
Kazuemachi, Kanazawa city, Ishikawa prefecture
Access
Approximately 20 minutes walk from JR Kanazawa station
Approximately 8 minutes ride on Taxi from JR Kanazawa station

Kazuemachi teahouse district “Akarizaka”

The main attractions of the Kazuemachi teahouse street are the two hills.
One of them is “Akarizaka”.

Akarizaka
Akarizaka
Akarizaka
Akarizaka

Kazuemachi teahouse district “kuragari zaka”

The other hill is called “kuragari zaka”. “Kuragari” literally means dark in Japanese. This hill is even dark during the daytime.

kuragari zaka
kuragari zaka
kuragari zaka
kuragari zaka

They say that many men used this way to avoid the eyes of others and sneak into the tea house district. When I reached the top of the hill, there was a big tree and vivid red Torii gates.

A big tree and vivid red Torii gates
A big tree and vivid red Torii gates

[Asanogawa-Ohashi bridge]

The view of Asanogawa-Ohashi bridge from Nakanohashi bridge.

Asanogawa-Ohashi bridge
Asanogawa-Ohashi bridge

Alongside Asanogawa river stand Cafes, teahouses and traditional restaurants.

alongside Asanogawa river
alongside Asanogawa river

Higashi teahouse district

This teahouse district which was formed in 1820, is the biggest in Kanazawa. It`s across the river from Kazuemachi teahouse district. A 5 minute walk will you get here from Kazuemachi teahouse district.
The main street is called 2 bancho street. Photos of this street are often used in guidebooks for Kanazawa. The photos below are of 2 bancho street.

[Higashi teahouse district]
[Higashi teahouse district]
[Higashi teahouse district]
[Higashi teahouse district]

“Kaikarou” is the biggest tea house in Kanazawa

“Kaikarou” is the biggest tea house in Kanazawa. This place is open to the general public during the daytime as one of Kanazawa city`s cultural assets.
At night they only serve one group at a time. To get inside, you must be introduced by a regular guest. It’s not easy to get in!

Kaikarou is the biggest tea house in Kanazawa
Kaikarou is the biggest tea house in Kanazawa
[Kaikarou]
[Kaikarou]
[Kaikarou]
[Kaikarou]

There are cafes and souvenir shops as well. Popular items are luxurious Japanese sweets and gifts incorporating gold leaf. You can come in just to use the Cafe as well.

[Kaikarou]
[Kaikarou]
There are cafes and souvenir shops as well.
There are cafes and souvenir shops as well.
OPEN

Kaikarou

Address
1-14-8 Higashiyama, Kanazawa, Ishikawa[MAP]
Tel
076-253-0591
Fee
750yen
Open
9:00-17:00
WEB
URL (Japanese)

When calling from outside Japan, replace the first 0 in the telephone number with 81.

Higashi teahouse district [Shima]

Another famous tea house is “Shima”. This building was built in 1820 and has never been repaired. It`s in it`s original state to this day. For this reason the teahouse is highly valued as a cultural asset. You can only bring compact size cameras inside, not full size SLRs. I at least took a picture of the exterior of the building. For an extra ¥700 on top of your admission fee, you can enjoy Matcha and Wagashi (Japanese confectionery) in this teahouse.

[Shima]
[Shima]
OPEN

[Shima]

Address
1-13-21 Higashiyama, Kanazawa, Ishikawa[MAP]
Tel
076-252-5675
Fee
500yen
Open
9:00-18:00
WEB
URL(Japanese)

When calling from outside Japan, replace the first 0 in the telephone number with 81.

Some old teahouse buildings were turned into cafes or miscellaneous shops around here.
This was the view of Nibancho street from the cafe I stopped at.

[Higashi teahouse district]
[Higashi teahouse district]

I had a fresh sea food rice box. I had my dinner at 16:00 because I noticed there weren’t many places open for dinner in this area at night.

[Fresh sea food rice box]
[Fresh sea food rice box]

I took some snapshots of the back alleys and narrow lanes as well.
Photos below.

[Higashi teahouse district]
[Higashi teahouse district]
[Higashi teahouse district]
[Higashi teahouse district]
[Higashi teahouse district]
[Higashi teahouse district]
[Higashi teahouse district]
[Higashi teahouse district]
[Higashi teahouse district]
[Higashi teahouse district]
[Higashi teahouse district]
[Higashi teahouse district]

I had a little rest at “Chabou & BAR GOCHE” in a back alley.

[Cake set ¥900]
[Cake set ¥900]
OPEN

Chabou & BAR GOCHE

Address
1-16-5 Higashiyama, Kanazawa city[MAP]
Tel
076-251-7566
Hours
11:00-3:00 a.m. (On Sundays open till 24:00)
Closed
Tuesdays

At night on Higashi teahouse district.
You don’t see as many people at night and the light on the street creates a nice photo opportunity.

[Higashi teahouse district]
[Higashi teahouse district]