Shima

Opening hours: 09:00 - 18:00

Address: 1-13-21 Higashiyama, Kanazawa, Ishikawa

Post code: 920-0831

Admission: 500 yen

Closest bus stop: Hashibacho (橋場町)

Website: www.ochaya-shima.com/english/index.html

Higashi-chaya teahouse district

Posted on 01/07/2015

Kanazawa has three old teahouse districts: Higashi-chaya street on the east side of the Asano river, Kazue-chaya street alongside the Asano river and Nishi-chaya street on the west side of the Saigawa river. These teahouses used to be spread out across the city but began moving to these three districts in 1820 and some of them still remain open as teahouses today. This time, we decided to go to Higashi-chaya street where the view of old teahouses with their characteristic lattices is preserved. As you can see in the photo, the street is well maintained and it feels as if you are on a film set. In actual fact, a number of Japanese dramas have been filmed there. Besides the teahouses, there are cafes and Japanese confectionery shops in the street, trying their best to fit in with the view. 

Shima is one of the oldest teahouses that still remains following the move in 1820, and has been awarded the designation of Important Cultural Property, indicating its status as an important cultural asset in Japan. The upstairs of the building is used for guest rooms, where geishas dance and play musical instruments. The rooms feature their characteristic vibrant red mud walls.