Wachigaiya (the name of a tea house) (輪違屋)

Wachigaiya is an okiya (geisha dwelling) and machiai-jaya (tea house to lend seats and tables, or rooms) that even now operates in Shimabara, a hanamachi (geisha district) in Kyoto.

It has its origin in an okiya that started in 1688.

The okiya was named Yokaro at its start.

The Ochaya (teahouse) business was added in 1872.

The present building was reconstructed in 1857.
(The present building is almost unchanged since 1871.)

In the past, it employed geigi (geisha girls) as well, but today, employs only tayu (geisha of the highest rank), providing training opportunities for them, and is used for banquets.

On the street door, there is a 'no visitors allowed' sign (this store practices so-called 'Ichigensan Okotowari' – only accepting new customers through introductions).

In 1984, the building was designated as a registered cultural property by Kyoto City.

It features an 'Umbrella room,' on whose sliding doors umbrellas used in tayu parades are pasted, and a 'Room of autumn leaves,' on whose walls autumn leaves, drawn tracing real ones, are colored.

Both of the rooms were used by the owner.

Wachigaiya is well known through "Wachigaiya Itosato," a novel by Jiro ASADA and broadcasted as a TV drama, but there is no record on the Wachigaiya side that Itosato lived at Wachigaiya.

'Sakuragi tayu,' famous as 'A beauty in the Meiji Restoration' belonged to Wachigaiya.
(The episode in novels or dramas in which Itosato becomes 'Sakuragi tayu' is fictional.)

[Original Japanese]