The Higashiyama Higashi Chaya District is the largest of three chaya districts just outside the city of Kanazawa, next to the Asano River and has been designated as one of Japan’s cultural assets.

It is the largest among three well-preserved historical geisha districts in Kanazawa along with Nishichayagai and Kazuemachi, and the geisha still entertain here today (every Saturday).

Literally translated, the word ‘chaya’ means teahouse, and in context, refers to traditional eating places where guests are entertained with songs and dances performed by geisha girls, a tradition dating back to the Edo period.

The Shima Teahouse and Kaikaro Teahouse are open to the public while interesting shops and cafes populate the other buildings along the central street of the district.

One of the highlights on the street is Hakuze, a shop that sells gold leaf products and displays a tea ceremony room that is completely covered in gold leaf.