The sharper edge to traveling in Asia

WoWasis visits Sumiya, a historical restaurant and entertainment architectural museum in Kyoto, Japan

Written By: herbrunbridge - Jul• 20•13

SumiyaCoutyard1cSumiya is a wonderful, ancient traditional restaurant and entertainment venue, originally built in 1641, that’s now a museum of sorts, primarily involved in the architectural preservation of the building and interior. It’s considered to be the finest example of Edo-period ageya (restaurant and entertainment venue) architecture in urban Japan. Here is where lavish meals were served to wealthy patrons, where geisha and taiyu (premiere geisha) performed tea ceremonies, sang, and danced.

SumiyaInterior1cSumiya is where leading politicians, writers, and artists of their times would gather for meals, entertainment, and conviviality. The house was ownerd and operated by the Nakagawa family for 13 generations, beginning in 1641. In 1952, it was designated by the government of Japan as a National Cultural Treasure.

SumiyaKitchen1cToday, it is an outstanding example of urban architecture and design. Visitors are typically only allowed to see the first floor. The second floor rwquires an additional fee of 800 yen, tours must be arranged in advance, and are only given in Japanese. In addition, no photos are allowed to be taken upstairs. A visit to the lower floor, however, is worthwhile. The building is magnificent, and it’s enough off the beaten tourist track in Kyoto that you’ll probably have it all to yourself.

Banner_Asia00It’s located just east of the Simabara Gate, just north of the well-known Nishi-Honganji Temple. Take buses 206 or 207 to the Shimabaraguchi stop, and just ask and business nearby how to get to Sumiya. We here at WoWasis have provided GPS coordinates below.

32 Banchi, Ageya-cho, Shimogyu-ku, Kyoto, Japan
Tel: 075-351-0024
Sumiya GPS: N34°59’34’’  E135°44’34’’

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One Comment

  1. lune says:

    I am so grateful for your article. Much obliged.

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