Dec 18,2016 What is “花街 (Kagai)” which include traditional art and culture of Omotenasi like hospitality?
When you see this Japanese character which is “花街(Kagai)”, you may imagine the town that are full of flowers. That’s right. “Kagai” means town in which flowers are the most important things and the town cherish flowers. Well, why this town cherish flowers more than other towns? The reason is that the town has Maiko and Geiko.
Maiko and Geiko who study various Japanese culture show outstanding art with Kimono, for example, flower arrangement, tea ceremony, song, Kyo-kotoba (Kyoto dialect), dance and so on. Thus, they live in world which is flooded with Japanese culture. Maiko and Geiko are only female. Maiko who wear beautiful Kimono make the gorgeous atmosphere in Japanese-style room. However, Maiko is first step. After Maiko, they can be Geiko who did hard practice and started own art. As a general tendency, people use “Geisha” but people use “Geiko” in Kyoto.
When I went past Maiko on the street in Kagai at around 5:30pm, I noticed that flowers bloom year around in this town. As it were, many kind colors of flowers bloom all over the Maiko and Geiko‘s kimono, then flower ornamental hairpin(Kanzasi) attach season’s flower to them hair.
There are many people in Kagai in addition to Maiko and Geiko. For example, “Mother(Okasan)” who manage Okiya where Maiko and Geiko live. Young girls who want to be Maiko live in Okiya apart from them family. Okiya‘s “Sister(Nesan)” and “Mother(Okasan)” are like new family for them ,and then they work hard on Maiko‘s practice. There are only women in Okiya, however, sometimes men come in there. Okiya “men(Otokoshi)” role is that carrying Maiko to the meeting place, correcting money, helping Maiko put on kimono and so on.
There are many shops like Japanese restaurant and Nishijin-ori(Nishijin Textile) in Kagai now, then Kagai also has many Ocha-ya and Kaburen-jo which has been since the old days. Kyoto has five Kagai that is Gion-koubu, Miyagawa-cho, Ponto-cho, Gion-higashi and Kamishichiken, especially, Kamishichiken is the oldest Kagai which was made for Hideyoshi Toyotomi in 1587.
Would you drop at Kamishichiken after you go and see KITANO-TENMANGU Shrine which is world heritage site?
*You can’t meet always Maiko and Geiko in Kagai.
*Don’t take picture and touch Maiko and Geiko without permission. Please follow rules of Kagai.
・Kyoto bus number is 50,101 from JR Kyoto station and bus stop is “KITANO-TENMANGU-mae” or “Kamishichiken” (the required time: about 30 min)
■Kyoto tourism Navi