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  • Writer's picture Japan Culture Guide

A casual Geisha experience in Hachioji, the suburbs of Tokyo where the geisha district still remains

Updated: Sep 25, 2023

Theme: Geisha, Ramen noodles

1. Overview

Affordable and easy to book are the geisha of Hachioji. Hachioji is a core city in western Tokyo but is also a rare place where geisha culture remains. At the end of the 19th century, when Japan opened its borders to the outside world and silk products were an important export item, Hachioji prospered as a silk distribution center. As more and more middlemen and wholesalers gathered in Hachioji, opportunities for business negotiations increased, and the Kagai (the geisha district) also developed. Later, as the textile industry declined, the Kagai shrank, but thanks to local enthusiasm to keep the chic geisha culture alive, the number of younger generations of geisha has been gradually increasing.

Various facilities and programs are available in Hachioji for a casual geisha experience, and services are offered at prices considerably lower than those in downtown Tokyo. 'Soto Terrace' is equipped with a Japanese-style stage and restaurants and offers the opportunity to enjoy the professional arts of geisha at an affordable price.

2. Must-see spots

three geishas are dancing
Geisha traditional dance performance

1) Geisha culture

Geishas have been in this profession since the Edo period and are professionals who entertain guests by livening up the party with traditional Japanese entertainment such as singing, dancing, and shamisen playing (stringed musical instruments). They are masters of hospitality who practice their art on a daily basis. They also play a role in preserving and passing on traditional Japanese culture and communicating it to the world. Hachioji is the only Kagai outside of the Tokyo metropolitan area, and you can invite geishas to Ryotei restaurants for a more affordable fee than in central Tokyo.

Dancing geishas and watching people
Soto Terrace panoramic-view

2) Soto Terrace

Soto means "silk city" and refers to Hachioji, which flourished in the silk industry. A new facility named "Soto-Terrace" has opened in Nakacho, the center of Hachioji's Kagai. Visitors can casually enjoy geisha performances and other events in the Japanese-style hall while nibbling on local cuisine at tables on the terrace. If there are at least six people, reservations can be made for the introductory geisha experience held once a month. (Held in the afternoon and evening. Advance reservations required.)

soup noodles in a bowl
Hachioji ramen

3) Hachioji Ramen

Ramen is Japan's soul food, and each region of the country has its own distinctive local ramen, including Hachioji ramen. It is characterized by its soy sauce-based ramen soup, the lard that covers the surface of the broth, and the chopped onions that are the key ingredient. Ramen restaurants all over the city serve ramen with these characteristics. A bowl of ramen is the perfect way to end a night of drinking, but please be careful not to overeat!

3. Access

JR Hachioji station (about 50 minutes from Shinjuku)

When you visit Hachioji and Geisha Terrace, it is strongly recommended that you go with an experienced tour guide for easy booking.

If you want a private guide, please click the button below and fill in an inquiry form.



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