Kamishichiken Teahouses

This 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 leftover 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 Kamigyo-ku are made up of dark, wooden buildings, mainly o-chaya (teahouses) and o-kiya (Geisha or Geiko 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 geiko 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.

The district crest is a ring of skewered dango (sweet dumplings). On lanterns they appear as red circles on white paper (as opposed to Gion, which uses a similar design, but with the reverse colors – white dango on a red background).

Seike Nishijin

In addition to walking the streets and alleys of this district, you can combine a visit to the Shrine and enjoy a traditional teahouse lunch at this recommended yuba restaurant.