A chaya (lit. teahouse) is an exclusive type of restaurant where guests are entertained by geisha who perform song and dance. During the Edo Period, chaya were found in designated entertainment districts, usually just outside the city limits. Kanazawa has three, well preserved chaya districts, Higashi Chayagai (Eastern Chaya District), Nishi Chayagai (Western Chaya District) and Kazuemachi.
Of the three districts, the Higashi Chaya District (東茶屋街, Higashi Chayagai) is the largest and by far the most interesting. Two chaya, the Shima Teahouse and Kaikaro Teahouse, are open to the public. Other buildings along the central street now house cafes and shops. One of the shops, Hakuza, sells gold leaf products, a specialty of Kanazawa, and displays a tea ceremony room which is completely covered in gold leaf.
The Higashi Chaya District can be accessed by the Right Loop of the Kanazawa Loop Bus in about 10 minutes from Kanazawa Station. Get off at Hashibacho (Koban-mae) bus stop (number RL5), from where the district can be reached in a five minute walk.
How to get to and around Kanazawa