The Geisha Encounter with Japan Awaits is a geisha experience at a modern ochaya, or contemporary tea house, where geisha entertain guests with song, dance, games and conversation.
In Japan, an ochaya, while literally meaning “tea house,” is not actually a place to go for drinking tea. An ochaya, traditionally, was a place for customer to be entertained by geisha, with history dating as far back as 1712 when the Tokugawa Shogunate grated licenses to the ochaya of Gion to provide geisha entertainment. Ochaya are typically very exclusive, invitation-only establishments, and while traditional ochaya are predominantly made of wooden structures, this ochaya has a modern interpretation–coinciding with the modernism of Tokyo.
The Geisha Encounter will feature performances from geisha representing multiple okiya (geisha houses) in Tokyo. This small ochaya is generally a gathering for locals in the area to have leisurely conversations with geisha throughout the day and to watch geisha performances. On some occasions, there may be English-speaking geisha who may converse with English-speaking guests, while English pamphlets and information will be provided at all events.
Participants at the 90-minute event will eat and drink while entertainment is provided by geisha through the form of song, dance, games, conversation, and sometimes even poetry whilst making sure everyone’s glasses are filled. Aside from the highlight, which is the geisha’s performance of a seasonal dance, the geisha performances might also include some of many Japanese fine arts, including playing traditional musical instruments such as the koto (Japanese harp) and shamisen (a three-stringed musical instrument).
Guests may mingle with others at the ochaya, including locals who often frequent the ochaya to support the geisha in their community.
At the end of the event, guests may gather and take photos with geisha before leaving.
Availability: Everyday from 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM (except some holidays)
Location: Ochaya in Omori, Tokyo (location is a 5-minute walk from Omori Station)
– The directions to the venue will be provided after booking.
– Standard: ¥8,900 per person (includes one drink and sweets)
– Premium: ¥11,500 per person (includes bento lunch and all-you-can-drink option)
- One drink and sweets for each person (for those who purchase the premium option, a bento lunch and all-you-can-drink will be included)
- Authentic geisha performance and entertainment
- English information
- Free souvenirs
- Photo opportunities and more
Guests may dress casually, but we do ask that guests dress appropriately in the presence of geisha. Socks are also required for tatami mat rooms.
Kimono: There are some kimono with obi (belt) that are at the venue. This is a free service that are sometimes offered to guests if there is enough time (at the discretion of the geisha). There is no guarantee of kimono dressing being available for guests, or if there is time to put kimono on all guests.
All seats are non-smoking; there are designated areas outside for those who would like to smoke.
There is no age requirement, but a reservation must be made for all guests, and the cost is the same, except for infant (0-1 years old).
All reservations are final and is payable via PayPal. Confirmations regarding your booking will be sent at least 10 days before your activity date.
What is a geisha?
The term, “geisha,” literally means “a person of art,” and the first character, “gei” means “technique,” which is representative of the highly-trained profession of a geisha to mastering the art of music, dance, and entertainment. Traditional entertainment typically provided by geisha includes traditional dances in exquisite kimono, games, and conversation at exclusive establishments, such as ryokan or ryotei. It takes many years of study and practice to train as a geisha and most geisha dedicate their whole lives to mastering the art.
Since the Edo period, the geisha has been iconic to Japan and even to this day, the geisha world is highly mysterious and exclusive, as requesting a geisha’s services require an introduction or referral from an existing customer or venue.
What makes Japan Awaits (JA) different?
Unlike other companies, JA wants guests to experience the most authentic Japanese experiences. Geisha are known for their acuity and wisdom-training from a young age to be able to carry any type of conversation; traditionally, geisha were known for having a vital voice in politics as many political meetings involved the accompaniment of geisha and they had the ability to intellectually hold debates, influencing laws and policies in Japan. Thus, JA want our guests to experience what it truly means to be in the presence of a geisha, through dance, song and conversation.