What are Hanamachi and Kagai?
Hanamachi and Kagai are words that interchangeably represent Japanese geisha districts. The words literally mean “flower town”. Hanamachi (or Kagai) contain various Okiya (where geisha live) and Ochaya (tea houses).
Tokyo has six Hanamachi districts which are: Shimbashi, Akasaka, Asakusa, Yoshicho, Kagurazaka, and Mukojima. In each Hanamachi, Geisha are called Shimbashi geisha, Akasaka geisha, Asakusa geisha, and so on. Nowadays, the Tokyo Hanamachi of Shimbashi, Asakusa, and Kagurazaka are the most well known.
Geisha study traditional instruments like shamisen, shakuhachi, and drums, as well as learn games, traditional songs, calligraphy, Japanese traditional dances, tea ceremony, literature, and poetry.
Geisha in modern times
In modern Japan, geisha are now a rare sight outside hanamachi. In the 1920s, there were over 80,000 geisha in Japan, but today, there are far less. The exact number is unknown and is estimated to be from 1000 to 2000.
Geisha are expected to be single women; those who choose to marry must retire from the profession. It was traditional in the past for established geisha to take a danna, or patron. A danna was typically a wealthy man, sometimes married, who had the means to support the very large expenses related to a geisha’s traditional training and other costs. This sometimes occurs today as well, but very rarely.
Experience Sayuri’s world
We invite you to the world of Sayuri from the film Memories of Geisha as we take you to a Michelin three-star restaurant in Kagurazaka. We promise that you will have the very best Geisha experience.
Why not try experiencing the best of Japanese culture with us?
Duration is about 2.5 hours. Minimum number of participants are 2. Your English speaking guide will meet you at your hotel. Price will include transfers, car/driver, English-speaking guide, activities, entrance fees, and dinner while touring. Optional special activities will be quoted separately.