Although “chaya” (茶屋) literally means teahouse, they were actually establishments during the Edo period where guests would go to be entertained by geisha. They congregated in what are more often referred to as the “pleasure quarters” and Kanazawa has three of these chaya districts—Higashi Chayagai (ひがし茶屋街), Nishi Chayagai (にし茶屋街) and Kazuemachi (主計町)—but of these Higashi Chayagai is the largest and the most popular with visiting tourists. The photograph down the main street is another iconic shot of Kanazawa, and probably the image most used in travel guide books for the city.
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Former area of residence for the samurai of Kanazawa with narrow canals and stone paths. Some of the homes are open to the public. There is also a small museum showing how the merchant class used to live, complete with a reconstructed old style pharmacy, tea room, traditional garden, and displays of local handicrafts.