Higashi Chaya district   ひがし茶屋街

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Higashi district in Kanazawa

A street of the Higashi district at night.

Higashi district in Kanazawa

A street of the Higashi district under the snow.

The ladies of yore

A rustle of cloth, the echo of laughter, the clink of china. For centuries, the same sounds gently filter through paper panels of traditional buildings of Higashi district. This maze of alleys awaits visitors to win in a time which, here, is not yet over.

As we enter the Meiji era (1868-1912) and the Industrial Revolution upset the country forever, Kanazawa, the city samurai, is poised to sacrifice some of its feudal face. Warriors see merchants and industrialists to take their place at the top of society and the city is transformed to better comply with their wishes. However, in this area to the east (higashi), geishas continued to perfect the range of their art to entertain lovers of a tradition that has lost none of its charms.

In the humid heat of summer nights, the facades of wood Chaya (these old houses Nipponese tea) exude a discreet musky smell. Nor garish neon or electric cables to disturb the aesthetics of the main building where the colors match the stone slabs polished by the years gone. The teahouse Shima, perfectly preserved and open to the public, allowing all to enter the heart of this floating world unchanged for 180 years.

The structure of the rest Higashi Chaya Kyukeikan, located in the heart of the neighborhood, hosts free within its walls visitors to offer them refreshments and information needed to assess the true value of this island where history comes alive.

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