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)
Where Is This Place Located?See these places on our Kyoto Google map:
- Open the Kyoto map
- You will see the list of places on the left hand side. (Click the 3-line icon in the top left corner if not). Scroll down or use the map search (the magnifying glass icon) to find the place you want.
- Click the name of the place in the list. Its location pin will be highlighted on the map.
- Map pins are color coded - BLUE: Hotels | VIOLET: Ryokan | PINK: Places to Eat | YELLOW: Things to See and Do
- If you're using the map on your phone, open the map and then search for the name of the place. The map will then zoom in on its location.
Kyoto Vacation Checklist
- For all the essentials in a brief overview, see my First Time In Kyoto guide
- Check Kyoto accommodation availability on Booking.com – usually you can reserve a room with no upfront payment. Pay when you check out. Free cancellations too
- Need tips on where to stay? See my one page guide Where To Stay In Kyoto
- See my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
- Buy a data-only SIM card online for collection when you arrive at Kansai International Airport (for Osaka and Kyoto) or Tokyo's Narita Airport. Or rent an unlimited data pocket wifi router
- Compare Japan flight prices and timings to find the best deals
- If you're visiting more than one city, you might save money with Japan Rail Pass – see if it's worth itfor you
- A prepaid Suica card makes travelling around Kyoto easy – here's how
- World Nomads offers simple and flexible travel insurance. Buy at home or while traveling and claim online from anywhere in the world