A beautifully preserved ageya (geisha entertainment house) in the south-west part of central Kyoto, Sumiya is a truly sublime showcase of Japanese architecture, design and decorative traditions.
Sumiya Pleasure House – Central Kyoto – image © Damien Douxchamps
Sumiya is one of the last remaining examples of ageya in Japan. An ageya is a traditional entertainment house where geisha and taiyu (another type of geisha) entertained elite guests in refined surroundings. Sumiya dates back to 1641, but parts of the buildings are more recent additions. It’s located in the old Shimabara pleasure district, of which very little remains.
You can tour the first floor for Y1,000 without an appointment during opening hours. However, you must make a reservation (in Japanese) and pay Y1,800 to tour the second floor. The tour of the second floor is given in Japanese but it’s well worth taking the tour, even if you do not understand Japanese. It is truly sublime and will give you a sense for the incredible wealth of pre-modern Japan.
If you’re a fan of Japanese gardens, architecture, design or history, don’t miss Sumiya!
32 Nishishinyashiki-Ageya-cho, Shimogyo-ku
10am-4pm, closed Dec 16-Mar 14, Jul 19-Sep 14 and Monday, tours of second floor by appointment only (phone the number below in Japanese)
Admission: Y1000 to first floor, Y1800 for second floor tour
Non-smoking area: Yes
7min walk from Tambaguchi Station, JR Sagano line
See hotels near to Sumiya Pleasure House on Agoda.com
Website: Official Website (English)
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