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A Private Visit is the Most Authentic Way to Meet Geisha

Although joining an open event is the easiest and the most common way to meet geisha in the present age, booking a private visit to a teahouse is the most authentic way. This personalized visit is called Ozashiki-Asobi.

A Private Visit is the Most Authentic Way
to Meet Geisha

Although joining an open event is the easiest and the most common way to meet geisha in the present age, booking a private visit to a teahouse is the most authentic way. This personalized visit is called Ozashiki-Asobi.

IT USED TO BE SOPHISTICATED AMUSEMENT FOR THE WEALTHY CLASS

In Kanazawa's Higashi Chayagai District, there are six agencies, typically referred to as teahouses, that sign up the fourteen local ‘geisha’ entertainers for various appointments. During feudal times, watching their performances in a teahouse room was a special amusement for wealthy people or celebrities because of their admittance policies. Nowadays to visit this fairyland, one still needs a guarantor, someone who can introduce you to a teahouse. Let’s check the authentic way to spend time there with these gorgeous entertainers!


THINGS TO ENJOY 

The Performance / Chatting / Playing Games
 
To begin with, who are geisha? What will they do for you in the Japanese-style guest room called ozashiki? They are professional entertainers who play traditional musical instruments, perform unique dances, and show the taiko-drumming style to their guests. If you have already seen a performance at one of the big theaters such as in Kyoto or here in Kanazawa, you already understand how attractive they are. If you are fascinated by them and want to see them again, then the next step is booking a private ozashiki for a more authentic experience. Once you have successfully booked a private ozashiki, their hospitality is all yours. After a magnificent dance performance, geisha will come to your seat to pour sake, introduce themselves, and chat with you. Moreover, they will ask you to try drumming the taiko together, or to play some of the traditional teahouse games with them. Teahouse games such as, “Tora-Tora,” “Yakyu-ken,” Sentoukyo,” and “Kompira-Funefune” are famous within teahouses. For those who travel abroad, doing something productive or artistic, such as enjoying a Broadway musical, watching kabuki theater, or appreciating the flamenco dance are precious experiences and could be the highlight of a trip. Yet, not many of the entertainers will come down to have a personal conversation or get to know you. It can be pleasing when an authentic geisha calls your name in conversation. If you determine to become a repeat patron and see your favorite geisha, why not try requesting her specifically? Then you could become one of her regular clients.

MANNERS TO MIND

Dress Code / Punctuality / Respect
 
In teahouse buildings, you should know there is a tacit understanding about the dress code as a manner. Although teahouse staff will not say or warn you in advance, they typically have a relaxed mantra of style that can be coined, “clean casual.” We at “eye on KANAZAWA” would like to suggest all guests wear socks or stockings throughout the building to respect the owners and also the geisha. Of course “dressing up” will make the night even more special. Pick your best attire for this kind of special occasion, or if you want, rent a kimono before you arrive! Needless to say, punctuality is also a common courtesy. Teahouses will prepare everything for the day their guests visit. Teahouses want to know all of their customers’ tastes as they take pride in the level of hospitality they offer. You would be quite impressed at their ability to meet your every (even finicky) demand. Time is valuable, so don’t waste anyone’s time in this exclusive fairyland! We recommend you arrive five minutes early to your appointment. In addition, even if you are a customer, being respectful to each other will help create a perfect experience. Please don’t chat too much with your friends or family while seated, and just focus on the geisha while they dance for you! Also, please do not ask them embarrassing questions when they pour sake or have a conversation with you! Ask the teahouse about photography in advance when you book your visit! Being well behaved and acting appropriately will bring a warmer atmosphere to everyone. Then you can finally make yourself at home in this first-class space with exotic performers.

ADMITTANCE POLICY

Guarantors / Paying on credit / Expenses
 
Many international tourists are curious about meeting geisha privately in these mysterious buildings. However, they often believe they don’t have an opportunity because there are still strict admittance policies for booking: a regular customer such as a socialite would act as guarantor for the new customer. You might think the policy sounds arrogant, yet it is just to avoid troubles in all practicality. Traditionally, guests at a teahouse would pay on credit. Thus as the unfortunate result of unfamiliar guests welshing on their tabs, the strict policy was installed. Nevertheless there is always alternative avenues, even if you don’t have anyone who can act as guarantor for you in Japan. Here is some good news everyone! Kaikaro in the Higashi Chayagai district will make an estimate for booking a private ozashiki for international tourists. Although advance settlement would be required, you are not required to have a guarantor, at least here in Kanazawa. Additionally, we at “eye on KANAZAWA” can help you inquire as to availability for making an estimate, as well as completing payment in advance. Expenses for hiring three geisha for ninety minutes, reserving the whole teahouse building, and food to accompany beverages will be included in the basic package. Please note the going rate for two guests could be valued at approximately two thousand US dollars. If you understand the price and are still seriously interested in booking ozashiki, please don’t hesitate to contact us! It goes without saying that hiring several private geisha is a fantastic and intriguing way to have a most unforgettable memory of Kanazawa!

TEAHOUSE INFORMATION


Kaikaro in Higashi Chayagai District, accepts requests for private parties, while also throwing public parties available to all every year.
KAIKARO 懐華樓
1-14-8, Higashiyama, Kanazawa / Phone: 076-253-0591
 www.kaikaro.jp/eng/