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Kagurazaka Geisha


The Kagurazaka geisha district was established in the late Edo period. Its origin dates back to 1788, when an entertainment venue was created within a section of the Gyoganji temple grounds. By around 1857, a geisha district had formed, where geishas specializing in shamisen, singing, and dancing livened up the sake gatherings. At its peak around 1937, Kagurazaka became one of Tokyo's most prominent geisha districts, boasting about 600 geishas, approximately 150 Ryotei (Japanese restaurants), and Machiai-Chaya (waiting tea houses).

Today, about 20 geishas are active in Kagurazaka, playing a crucial role in conveying Japanese traditional culture to the modern era. They also participate in local festivals and events such as the "Kagurazaka Odori (Dance festival)" and "Setsubun bean throwing" at Bishamonten, deepening their interaction with the local community.

Tokyo's six geisha districts are Shimbashi, Akasaka, Yoshicho, Kagurazaka, Asakusa, and Mukojima, known as "Tokyo Rokkagai (Tokyo 6 geisha districts)." Kagurazaka's geisha district has a history dating back to the Edo period and is known as the only geisha district that was spared from the Great Kanto Earthquake (1923). Along with Akasaka, it is frequented by politicians and business magnates, often visited incognito even today.

 

Would you like to enjoy the enchanting songs and dances of Kagurazaka's geisha and engage in conversation with them? Even among Japanese people, conversing with a geisha is considered a high barrier and an experience the majority have never had. Geishas, who have entertained dignitaries from the political and financial worlds through banquets, embody Japan's 'Omotenashi' (hospitality) culture itself. You will surely be amazed by their art and eloquence. The wonderful experience with geishas, enjoyable for children as well, will become an unforgettable memory in your lifetime.

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Kagurazaka Geisha

Kagurazaka's Geisha District Boasts Over 200 Years of History


The Kagurazaka geisha district was established in the late Edo period. Its origin dates back to 1788, when an entertainment venue was created within a section of the Gyoganji temple grounds. By around 1857, a geisha district had formed, where geishas specializing in shamisen, singing, and dancing livened up the sake gatherings. At its peak around 1937, Kagurazaka became one of Tokyo's most prominent geisha districts, boasting about 600 geishas, approximately 150 Ryotei (Japanese restaurants), and Machiai-Chaya (waiting tea houses).

Kagurazaka Geisha

Geishas are women who entertain guests in the tatami rooms of Japanese restaurants by engaging in conversation, serving drinks, performing dances and other arts, and playing games with the guests.

Particularly, Kagurazaka geisha, having entertained dignitaries from the political and financial realms, are distinguished not only by their high level of artistic skill but also by their conversational abilities to entertain guests. This adeptness at building interpersonal relationships is also evident with children. Children of foreign tourists are often delighted to speak with Kagurazaka geisha, and some even send letters to the geisha after returning home.

Kagurazaka Geisha

A characteristic of Kagurazaka geisha is that they do not wear white face makeup

One distinctive feature of Kagurazaka geisha is that they do not wear white makeup on their faces. This practice stems from a concern that geisha walking outside with dignitaries from the political and financial world, who visit Kagurazaka incognito, would easily reveal the identities of these dignitaries if they wore white makeup. This is a major difference from the geisha in Kyoto, who do apply white makeup. However, on official occasions such as New Year's or during geisha debut ceremonies, Kagurazaka geishas do wear white makeup.

Kagurazaka Geisha

Apprentice geisha are known as 'Hangyoku'

Apprentice geisha are called 'Hangyoku' in Tokyo. A distinctive feature of Hangyoku is that they always wear white makeup on their faces. This is because Hangyoku are apprentices and thus do not entertain dignitaries from the political and financial world. The term 'Hangyoku' (apprentice geisha) is written in kanji as 'half jewel' (半玉). The origin of 'Han'gyoku' comes from the term 'Gyokudai' (jewel fee), which refers to the fee for a banquet with a geisha. The fee for an apprentice geisha, or 'Gyokudai,' was set at half the amount of that for a full geisha, hence the term 'half jewel' or 'Han'gyoku'.In Kyoto, geishas are referred to as 'Geiko,' and apprentice geishas are called 'Maiko.’

Kagurazaka Geisha

Kenban: The Place for Arranging and Practicing Geisha Performances

In Kagurazaka, there is a street named 'Kenban Yokocho'. It was named after the 'Kenban' located along the road. The 'Kenban' serves as a place for arranging geisha performances and for practice. Suitably for a district inheriting the traditional performing arts of the Kagurazaka Karyukai (geisha district), occasionally, the emotional sounds of the shamisen can be heard emanating from the 'Kenban'.

Kagurazaka Geisha

From casual conversations to full-fledged artistic appreciation with geisha

Our geisha tours range from casual to authentic experiences. You can enjoy a relaxed conversation at a bar run by geisha, engage in brief 'Ozashiki asobi' (parlor games) with geisha at the restaurant 'Torijaya,' or participate in a full-scale 'Ozashiki asobi' at an upscale ryotei (traditional Japanese restaurant) frequented by dignitaries from the political and financial world, all while savoring high-end Japanese cuisine. 'Ozashiki asobi' involves appreciating geisha dances and music performances, and enjoying traditional games and conversation with geisha. Notably, the authentic 'Ozashiki asobi' experience at a ryotei is known for its exclusivity, to the extent that even Japanese newcomers may be refused entry.

Kagurazaka Geisha Tour Information

Meeting point

Meeting place will be decided upon consultation with the customer.

Tour Duration

The Geisha Tour is divided into three tours: 1) Geisha at Bar, 2) Geisha at Restaurant, 3) Geisha at Ryotei.

The duration for each is as follows: 
1) Geisha at Bar: One hour for conversation with a geisha at a bar


2) Geisha at Restaurant: A two-hour tour includes watching a Geisha's performance for one hour and having a meal at the famous traditional Japanese restaurant "Torijaya." Please note that while the total time, including the meal, is two hours, the time spent with the geisha is one hour.


3) Geisha at Luxury Ryotei: Two hours in total for an authentic geisha performance viewing and a meal at a luxury ryotei, "Yukimoto," with the performance itself lasting two hours.

Accessibility

We strive to make the geisha tour accessible to as many people as possible.

 

However, please note the following conditions for participation:

1) Geisha at Bar are restricted to customers over 20 years old due to the alcoholic nature of the venue.


2) Geisha at Restaurant is a private tour, and children are welcome to participate.

 

3) Geisha at Luxury Ryotei is also a private tour, but the participation of children requires prior consultation with the ryotei, and we will contact you accordingly.

1) Geisha at Bar

2) Geisha at Restaurant

3) Geisha at Ryotei

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Would you like to enjoy the enchanting songs and dances of Kagurazaka's Geisha and engage in conversation with them? Even among Japanese people, conversing with Geisha is considered a high barrier and an experience the majority have never had. Geisha, who have entertained dignitaries from the political and financial worlds through banquets, embody Japan's 'Omotenashi' (hospitality) culture itself. You will surely be amazed by their art and eloquence. The wonderful experience with the Geisha, which is also enjoyable for children, will become an unforgettable memory in your lifetime.

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