What It's Really Like To Dine With A Geigi
How Kanazawa keeps this culture alive
Kanazawa remains one of Japan’s most curious cities. True to its deep roots, its architecture and layout still reflect the style and look that dominated its feudal era during the famed Edo period and even today, its mysterious districts draw visitors and photographers from around the world who wish to experience and capture its intrigue.
One of its most intriguing elements is its Geigi culture, a world that is so mysterious to so many. In Kanazawa, Geisha is called Geigi and their life is dedicated to mastering various forms of entertainment which is performed for guests, from dancing to singing, playing instruments to playing games. Kanazawa is home to three distinct Geigi districts and though it can be difficult to secure, a private appointment is actually possible. These opportunities are not for the faint of heart when budget is concerned. However, it promises to be an unforgettable evening once you are able to get your foot in the door.
A private appointment with a Geigi must come by personal referral, or through a trusted travel partner onsite with proper access is needed. Once in, the evening is a captivating series of conversations, questions, performances, and masterful displays of the arts accompanied by several courses of unique traditional Japanese dishes. Guests are able to engage, observe and take photos with the Geigi, finding themselves often times pondering such a lifestyle and taking away a more defined understanding of the culture that is still so vibrant today in Kanazawa’s labyrinth-like streets.
Of course, there are plenty of alternative options for those who don’t need the private appointment to fulfill their curiosity. Geigi Evenings available at Kaikaro teahouse, the largest teahouse in Kanazawa which offer guests an opportunity to see Geigi in full traditional dress, full makeup and ornate hairstyle. One of the highlights at Kaikaro is to meet the legendary landlady, Lady Baba, who provides informative, entertaining speeches on the teahouse and Geigi culture entirely in English. And, if one happens to visit off season when Geishas take a break from full dress, it’s possible to take in the Geigi Practice Session where you can observe the ladies during daytime hours, roaming makeup-free with natural hair and casual dress as they practice their performances.
Geigi culture unites annually in September with Kanazawa Odori, where performers from Kanazawa’s three teahouse districts come together to perform together with various musical instruments and traditional dances that tell stories.
For more information on Kanazawa’s tourism opportunities, please visit www.visitkanazawa.jp.en