Have you ever fantasized about the world of geisha? Even for most Japanese, the beautifully made-up and richly adorned geisha is an object of fascination and mystery, simply because the world they live and entertain in is so exclusive.
Since it’s quite rare for the average Japanese person to have the opportunity to be entertained by professional geisha, many of us don’t really have an idea of what goes on in the tea houses ("ochaya") and traditional restaurants ("ryotei") where geisha perform, which is why the ryotei Miyakodori has come up with a one-day event called the Ozashiki Cafe to offer us a glimpse into the hidden world of geisha.
Yes, for just one day this month, on June 21, the "ryotei" located in Tokyo’s Asakusa district will be opening its doors to the public by advance reservation. Ozashiki in Japanese is the word that refers to the rooms in tea houses and "ryotei" restaurants where geisha entertain guests, and the event is meant to be an opportunity for people to experience the world of "ryotei" and geisha in a more casual way, as if they were visiting a cafe (albeit a high-end one), hence the name Ozashiki Cafe.
For 5,000 yen per person, guests will be treated to a one-hour session of song and dance performances by three professional geisha as well as experiencing some of the unique games geisha usually play with guests, known as "ozashiki-asobi" (literally, “room-play”), and they’ll also be served Japanese tea and sweets. There will be two sessions held that day, one from 2 p.m. and the other from 4 p.m., with room for 20 guests for each session. Reservations are required, and with the limited number of seats available, the 4 p.m. session seems to be full already.
If you’re interested, inquiries and reservation can be made directly to Miyakodori per the contact details below, but you should expect the sessions to be in Japanese.
5,000 yen for one hour may not sound especially reasonable, but considering how expensive a regular visit to a tea house or "ryotei" could be, and also that you can’t even get into many of the "ochaya" or "ryotei" without being accompanied by a regular customer, the Ozashiki Cafe actually may be an excellent chance for members of the public to see beautiful and accomplished geisha in action.
Address: 3-23-10 Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo 111-0032 Tel: +81-3-3874-2175 Closed Saturdays and Sundays Access: 10 min walk from Ginza Line and Asakusa Line Asakusa Station 5 min walk from Tsukuba Express Line Asakusa Station Website: http://asakusa-miyakodori.com/ Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/asakusa.miyakodori
Sources: Miyakodori website and Facebook page via Asakusa Keizai Shimbun
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