Kamishichiken

Kyoto, Japan

Kamishichiken

Kamishichiken (上七軒), pronounced locally as Kamihichiken, is a district of northwest Kyoto, Japan. It is the oldest hanamachi (geisha district) in Kyoto, and is located just east of the Kitano Tenman-gū Shrine. The name Kamishichiken literally means "Seven Upper Houses." These refer to the seven teahouses built from the equipment and material left over from the rebuilding of the Kitano Shrine in Muromachi era (1333–1573).

Kamishichiken is located in Kyoto’s Nishijin area, which is known for traditional hand-woven textiles. The quiet streets of Kamigyō-ku are made up of dark, wooden buildings, mainly ochaya (teahouses) and okiya (geisha houses). Unlike the other remaining districts, which are located close to the city center, Kamishichiken is further away, and accordingly significantly quieter and attracts fewer tourists. The geisha of this district are known for being subtle and demure, few in number but each highly accomplished dancers and musicians. There are approximately 25 maiko and geiko in Kamishichiken, along with 11 teahouses.



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