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“Rebuilt but not recently” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Higashichaya Old Town

Higashichaya Old Town
1 Higashiyama, Kanazawa 920-0831, Ishikawa Prefecture
+81 76-220-2194
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Ranked #3 of 83 things to do in Kanazawa
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Attraction details
La Mesa, CA.
Top Contributor
129 reviews 129 reviews
87 attraction reviews
Reviews in 55 cities Reviews in 55 cities
150 helpful votes 150 helpful votes
“Rebuilt but not recently”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 14, 2013

This is one of two Geisha Districts in Kanazawa, the other one on the southern side of the river should be skipped as it is smaller, and very recently reconstructed.

Most probably 80% of these buildings are reconstructions, Japanese traditional shop and domestic architecture was and is built to be torn down and replace after about 30 years. These buildings are probably for the most part 80 years old, some less. None-the-less they give an idea of what one of the pleasure quarters, a combination of bars, restaurants, short stay inns, and houses of prostitution would have looked like at the end of the 19th century. The Yoshizawa in Tokyo is long gone and the Gion/Pontocho districts in Kyoto have been recently been rebuilt so do not look for too much in the way of authenticity anywhere else. Kanazawa was just beyond the range of U.S. B-29 Bombers flying from Saipan and as a result largely survived the war with minimum damage by default unlike Kyoto which was deliberately spared incineration by the fire bombing.

One of the tea houses has original art on the sliding doors in the upstairs by Clifton Kharu a noted American artist and bon viviant who spent his declining years living in Kanazawa with his lady friend while his American wife was left behind in Kyoto. I rather suspect Cliff used this to pay for his bar bills as he did tip back a few. See in this regard Norman Tolman's book Kharu at 77 and Tolman's brief biography/obituary written after Kharu's death a few years back. They were drinking buddies and great friends; and Tolman sold a ton of Kharu's woodblock prints at his gallery in Shiba Daimon in Tokyo.

The gold leaf museum is also in this district and is worth a short visit, 30 minutes or so.

Restrooms are available near the entrance to the district but it will take a little looking to find them, otherwise invest in a cup of tea and a sweet and ask to use the shop's convenience facility.

Visited October 2012
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New York City, New York
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53 reviews 53 reviews
24 attraction reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“Where the geisha live”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 25, 2013

This is the quarter where the Geisha live, train and work. Here is also the Shima Geisha House where bookings are made to hire them. Very quaint, a lot of atmosphere streets with old style lamps, lanterns, and wooden screened doors and windows.

Visited March 2013
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Luebeck, Germany
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83 reviews 83 reviews
52 attraction reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
59 helpful votes 59 helpful votes
“Two street with old houses.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 26, 2013

Nice area. I expected something bigger, but it was ok. There it not so much to visit in Kanazawa anyway.

Visited December 2012
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Kyoto, Japan
Top Contributor
132 reviews 132 reviews
76 attraction reviews
Reviews in 45 cities Reviews in 45 cities
79 helpful votes 79 helpful votes
“picturesque”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 7, 2013

I love this part of Kanazawa- its absolutely enchanting. Its worth siting down in one of the coffee-tea shops. Also the golden leaf shops have awesome jewelery....

Visited May 2012
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Charlotte, North Carolina
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123 reviews 123 reviews
53 attraction reviews
Reviews in 46 cities Reviews in 46 cities
103 helpful votes 103 helpful votes
“Japan the way it ought to be”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 6, 2013

This little area of Kanazawa, with its old streets and old wooden buildings, is the way the rest of ugly, concrete Japan should be. It is well worth walking around, though the shops did not look that interesting.

Visited December 2012
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