Somaro

Somaro, Sakata: Hours, Address, Somaro Reviews: 4.5/5

Speciality Museums • Points of Interest & Landmarks
10:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Monday
10:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 4:30 PM
About
Dating back over 200 years to the Edo Period, Somaro is a maiko teahouse and museum in the northern port city of Sakata. It is one of the very few places outside of Kyoto where geisha culture can be enjoyed. Originally called Soma-ya, Somaro's geisha culture was brought up to Northern Japan through the thriving trade ties that once existed between Kyoto and Sakata. During that time, Somaro served as an entertainment destination and exquisite restaurant for the many merchants and shipping agents who shuffled through this city. Beautifully restored in 2000, Somaro is a museum and maiko dance house that preserves and showcases the splendor of Sakata's geisha culture.
Suggested duration
1-2 hours
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4.5
69 reviews
Excellent
33
Very good
23
Average
12
Poor
1
Terrible
0

The Hidden Japan
3 contributions
The Culture of Kyoto in Tohoku
Apr 2019 • Solo
Somaro Maiko Teahouse dates back to the Edo Period to when Sakata City served as a key port in the domestic trade network of an isolationist Japan.

During this period the Shonai Region produced rice and safflower that was then shipped across the country.

In order to serve the many merchants and government officials who came to this port, this teahouse was established with hundreds of maiko (trainee geisha) who provided entertainment for the delegations who stayed in Sakata.

Somaro still continues to train maiko to this day and has two daily performances where you can see them.

Be sure to reserve in advance as they are prone to become fully booked if tour buses come.

Also be sure to tour the entirety of the home which is beautifully restored and is essentially a museum.
Written June 5, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

kd2226
NSW Australia259 contributions
Interesting and enjoyable, well worth doing.
Jul 2018 • Family
We went to Sakata as one of our cruise ports, and organised lunch at Somaro. We are a family of 4 and it was about $30USD to get a taxi from the ship to Somaro (each way).
There is a geisha type house that you can explore, a gift shop, and then an authentic Japanese lunch and an entertaining geisha performance.
While you're not allowed to take photos in the house, you are allowed to take pictures with the costumed performers at the end.
If you have any extra time, there is also a beautiful temple about a 3 minute walk down the road.
Written August 18, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Brisbane41
Newcastle, Australia2,099 contributions
Excellent Preserved House
Jul 2018 • Solo
I visited here for a cruise ship visit and toured on my own. The Somaro was expecting a group but was still admitting guest for an inspection before the group. There is an entrance fee and a host dressed in full Geisha attire will give you a brief introduction and escort you to the first room and allow you to finish the tour on your own.

For people interested in photography there was a sign indicating no photography or video work inside. This may turn some people off, but for whatever reasons they had on the day it was still worthwhile visiting and having a look around.
Written July 27, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Krystal B
41 contributions
A cheap way to see a geisha performance!
Apr 2018
We were so pleased we went here - it was only ¥1,000 to see a Maiko performance. If you have any interest in geisha culture, I'd highly recommend this place. You can even pose for a photo with them at the end. Very cool.
Written May 29, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Hidden J
5 contributions
Beautiful Teahouse with Stunning Maiko
May 2017 • Friends
Visited here on my day off to enjoy some traditional dancing and music by the maiko.

Somaro is also a museum and you can explore the many rooms of the teahouse. It even has art exhibits and galleries.

I finished off my visit with a traditional Japanese tea set next to the central garden.
It was prepared and served by a maiko too!

(ah and these photos were taken secretly since I wasnt allowed to snap any!)
Written June 7, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Davidandalun
Caterham, UK49 contributions
Beautiful
May 2017 • Couples
This is a beautiful building restored recently to a very high standard, and at 2 pm the perform a short dance by training geisha or Maiko-the end of the performance you can have your photo taken with the Maiko-San. You would never get this in Kyoto or other major cities and not for ¥1000. Worth the trip.
Written May 7, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Matthew C
Dublin, Ireland2 contributions
A Wonderful Cultural Experience, with Tremendous Hospitality
Mar 2017 • Friends
After living for a year and a half in Sakata city, I finally managed to find the time to visit Somaro last Sunday. After spending a few hours there, I can safely say that I wish I visited sooner!
One of the distinguishing aspects of Sakata city, compared to other cities in Tohoku, is the greater influence of Kansai culture in its history. As a port town, Sakata became an important trade town during the Edo Period, and so several aspects of Kansai culture took root here. In particular, the custom of maiko dancing became popular, with many merchants and dignitaries observing traditional performances while being entertained in tea-houses. Somaro, built in the Edo Period and restored in 2000, is a chance to experience this history first-hand, with almost daily kyomai dances and shamisen performances available to all!
When I arrived with friends at Somaro, the staff showed us to a traditional tatami room and served us a traditional bento lunch. (1) The bento, filled with local seasonal foods, was delicious, and the presentation was a sight to behold. After we had finished eating, we were invited to watch the maiko performance, with one playing a shamisen and the other two focused on an exquisite dance. After the end of the dance and the photo shoot, (2) we moved downstairs to explore more of the teahouse. As the weather was still pretty chilly in March, we didn’t get a chance to really appreciate the gardens. Still, it was very interesting to see all the rooms and art pieces in the tea house, especially all of the incredibly old and detailed Hina Matsuri dolls that were on display around the building. Afterwards, I was able to buy a lovely piece of Furoshiki cloth from the gift store, which was full of beautiful souvenirs and local snacks.
My visit to Somaro was a genuinely interesting event, presenting a nice, relaxed way to experience Japanese culture while enjoying delicious cultural delicacies. Be sure to give this place a visit if ever you come to Shonai!

(1) When booking tickets, so you must decide as a group what bentos you will eat, rather than making individual choices. If you have dietary restrictions, please let the staff know ahead of time, and they will be happy to accommodate your needs.
(2) Pictures are forbidden during the dance, but you get a chance to take a picture with the maiko after the performance.
Written March 6, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a great review!!
Written March 7, 2017
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

venturewithvi
Sakata, Japan14 contributions
Authentic Japanese Tea House Experience
Mar 2017 • Friends
I have been living in Sakata for about 8 months before I came to Somaro. I went with my friends for a private event, which included bento boxed lunches. The employees spoke English well and they were helpful to direct me during my time there. Lunch starts at noon and the performance begins later (12:30). This unique experience will cost you ¥3,500 ($30 USD). If you only want to see the performance, it will cost ¥300 extra on top of the general admission fee of ¥700 (¥1,000 in total). The bento boxed lunches were delicious and I highly recommend it. The whole museum is larger than it seems and it was fun to explore. I plan to come here again.
Written March 5, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thanks again for visiting and for the review Vi!!
Written March 7, 2017
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

hbclee
Huntington Beach, CA3 contributions
Beautiful cultural experience
Dec 2016 • Friends
It is so fortunate that this exquisite teahouse treasure was chosen to be renovated and preserved. It is a definite must-see experience. As you walk through the different rooms, you can feel the history of the past. The Maiko performance with accompanying shamisen is a genuine treat. The Maiko's kimonos, hair pieces and makeup are gorgeous! What a great keepsake to be able to take photos with them! Do not miss it!
Written December 29, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Jason
3 contributions
The Most Authentic Experience of Our Visit
Dec 2016 • Family
The Somaro Tea House was stunningly beautiful with a large collection of original paintings and artwork from the exchange between Kyoto and Sakata since the 1600s. We were free to roam the building and walk through the traditional hallways with vivid red walls and intricate hand painted doors. The garden outside was green even in the winter and had the reminiscence of a traditional Japanese garden after renovation. The highlight of our visit was the Maiko dance performance in an upstairs private room. The two Maikos performed an intriguing dance to a Japanese guitar in old Japanese singing. It was by far the most culturally unique experience we had there and could not be found in mainstream Kyoto and Tokyo.
Written December 27, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Somaro

Somaro is open:
  • Mon - Tue 10:00 AM - 4:30 PM
  • Thu - Sat 10:00 AM - 4:30 PM