ultramarinus – beyond the sea

DAY 8 (4/6): GEISHA, TEA, AND GOLD LEAF, Higashi Chaya District (東山ひがし茶屋街), Kanazawa (金沢), Ishikawa Prefecture (石川県), Japan, 2018.06.01

North of the Asano River lies the Higashi Chaya District (東山ひがし茶屋街), the postcard perfect historical neighborhood that appears in all tourist brochures on Kanazawa.  Pedestrian streets flanked both sides with timber row houses where geisha tea houses once flourished, the Higashi Chayagai (Eastern Teahouse Street) has become the iconic image of the old Kanazawa that every tourists love to see.  Today, Higashi Chayagai is the most popular tourist area in the city.  A few geisha tea houses still exist, such as the Shima and Kaikaro Teahouse, and so as many cafes, ice-cream parlours, craft and souvenir shops.  Tourists are particularly interested in the local gold leaf products.  Kanazawa, which literally means “gold marsh”, has been manufacturing gold leafs for 400 years.  Due to the good water quality and relatively high humidity, Kanazawa is an ideal place for gold leaf production.  Today, the city has become the only remaining hub of gold leaf production in Japan.  Gold leaf has been used on traditional buildings, Buddhist altars, statues, glasswares, cosmetics, soaps, and even edible items like cakes and ice-cream.  We weren’t particular interested in having gold leaf on our ice-cream.  Instead, we did try some special types of ice-cream at Higashi Chayagai.  Strolling along the historical street was pleasant under the afternoon sun, despite the pedestrian street could be slightly overcrowded with the continuous influx of tourist groups.  Perhaps the upcoming three-day Hyakumangoku Matsuri Festival (百万石まつり) did attract quite a bit of tourists coming into the city.  Like many other tourists, we would check out the famous Kaga Yuzen Toro Nagashi, the spectacular event at the first day of Hyakumangoku Matsuri Festival where candle lit lanterns would be placed into the Asanogawa River.

1Reaching Oriental Brewing Higashiyama, the renowned brewpub of Kanazawa, signified our arrival at the geisha district of Higashi Chayagai.

2Soon we arrived at an open space at the intersection of several lanes that served as a central plaza in the old neighborhood.

11Many of the timber houses are very well preserved.

3The wooden screens, windows, sidings, and even gas lamps provide a vintage setting to the geisha district.

4_01The beautiful setting of Higashi Chaya District (東山ひがし茶屋街) attract tourists from all over the world.

5Some visitors even come wearing the traditional kimono dresses.

6Swallows construct their nests under the eaves of the timber houses along Higashi Chaya  pedestrian street.

7It is possible to see traditional geisha at Higashi Chaya.

8Posters for the annual Hyakumangoku Matsuri Festival (百万石まつり) could be seen at Higashi Chaya.  The three-day festival commemorates the arrival of Lord Maeda Toshiie in 1583.

9Most wooden houses at Higashi Chaya have been converted into restaurants, cafes, tea houses and souvenir shops.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGold leaf remains as a favorite souvenir for foreign tourists.

12The sugidama (杉玉) signified our arrival at a traditional sake brewery.

14We also went in Yamato to check out their soy sauce.

13Soon the sun angle was getting low at Higashi Chaya.

16Soon the sun angle was getting low at Higashi Chaya.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANear the central plaza of Higashi Chaya, we stopped by an ice-cream shop for an afternoon snack.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe opted for local favours such as tofu and green tea instead of gold leaf dessert.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe walked over to the Asano River near Higashi Chaya.  Organizers were busy preparing for the lantern event Kaga Yuzen Toro Nagashi.

20In Kaga Yuzen Toro Nagashi, about 1200 lanterns made with Kaga Yuzen silk textiles would be released into the river.

* * *

CHUBU (中部地方) 2018, Japan, 2018.05.25 – 06.03

Day 1: Tokyo (東京)

Day 2: Matsumoto (松本)& Kamikochi (上高地)
2.1 MATSUMOTO CASTLE (松本城), Matsumoto (松本)
2.2 “ALL ABOUT MY LOVE”, Yayoi Kusama’s Exhibition at Matsumoto City Museum of Art (松本市美術館), Matsumoto (松本)
2.3 MATSUMOTO PERFORMING ARTS CENTER (まつもと市民芸術館), Matsumoto (松本)
2.5 ARRIVAL IN KAMIKOCHI (上高地), Chūbu-Sangaku National Park (中部山岳国立公園)

Day 3: Kamikochi (上高地)
3.1 MORNING WALK IN KAMIKOCHI (上高地), Nagano Prefecture (長野県)
3.2 DAKESAWA HIKE (岳沢), Kamikochi (上高地)

Day 4: Kamikochi (上高地) & Shirahone Onsen (白骨温泉)
4.1 TAISHO POND (大正池), Kamikochi (上高地)
4.2 RETREAT IN THE JAPANESE ALPS, Shirahone Onsen (白骨温泉)
4.3 MOMENTS OF ESCAPE, Tsuruya Ryokan (つるや旅館), Shirahone Onsen (白骨温泉)

Day 5: Hida-Takayama (飛騨高山)
5.1 CITY IN THE MOUNTAINS, Hida-Takayama (飛騨高山)
5.2 HIDA BEEF (飛騨牛), Hida-Takayama (飛騨高山)
5.3 SAKE (日本酒) BREWERIES, Hida-Takayama (飛騨高山)
5.4 YOSHIJIMA HOUSE (吉島家住宅), Hida-Takayama (飛騨高山)
5.5 HIGASHIYAMA WALKING COURSE (東山遊歩道), Hida-Takayama (飛騨高山)

Day 6: Hida-Takayama (飛騨高山), Shirakawa-go (白川郷) & Ainokura (相倉)
6.1 MIYAGAWA MORNING MARKET (宮川朝市), Hida-Takayama (飛騨高山), Gifu Prefecture (岐阜県)
6.2 OGIMACHI IN THE RAIN, Shirakawa-go (白川郷), Gifu Prefecture (岐阜県)
6.3 SOBA, TEMPLE & LOOKOUT, Shirakawa-go (白川郷)
6.4 RAINY AFTERNOON IN AINOKURA (相倉), Gokayama (五箇山)
6.5 GASSHO MINSHUKU, FLOWER BEDS & RICE PADDY FIELDS, Ainokura (相倉), Gokayama (五箇山)

Day 7: Kanazawa (金沢)
7.1 DEPARTURE IN THE RAIN, Ainokura (相倉) to Kanazawa (金沢)
7.3 D T Suzuki Museum (鈴木大拙館)
7.4 Kenroku-en Garden (兼六園)
7.5 Oyama Shrine (尾山神社) and Nagamachi Samurai District (長町)
7.6 Nomura Samurai House (武家屋敷跡 野村家), Nagamachi Samurai District (長町)
7.7 Sushi Ippei (一平鮨), Katamachi (片町)

Day 8: Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture (金沢, 石川県)
8.1 Iki Iki Tei (いきいき亭) and Higashide Coffee (東出珈琲店), Omicho Market (近江町市場)
8.2 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art (21世紀美術館)
8.3 Kazuemachi District (主計町茶屋街)
8.4 Higashi Chaya District (東山ひがし茶屋街)
8.5 Kaga Yuzen Toro Nagashi (加賀友禅燈ろう流し), Asano River (浅野川)

Day 9 & 10: Tokyo (東京)
9.1 Marunouchi (丸の内) & Nihonbashi (日本橋)
10.1 OEDO ANTIQUE MARKET (大江戸骨董市), Tokyo Forum (東京国際フォーラム)
10.2 FARMER’S MARKET, United Nations University (東京国連大学), Aoyama (青山)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s