Meeting The Furumachi Geigi, The Geishas From Niigata

Furumachi Geigi Geisha Niigata 3

Who doesn’t think of geisha when it comes to Japanese culture? These versatile artists who contribute significantly to the preservation of Japanese traditions and customs are usually associated with the city of Kyoto and the Gion district in particular where unique styles of traditional dance are taught.

But geisha can actually be found all over Japan. We’re meeting the geisha from Niigata today. They are usually referred to as geigi and can be quite different from the geisha you would meet in other Japanese regions.

Geigi culture has developed in the Furumachi district of Niigata and these outstanding artists have a fascinating history. Let’s take a look at some of its most interesting bits!

The History Behind Niigata’s Furumachi Geigi

The history of geigi is intimately linked to the economic development of Niigata. Located along the seacoast in the Tohoku region, such a strategic spot has established Niigata as an important port city on the Kitamaebune trade route.

During the Edo period, Niigata was just as vast and prosperous as other major Japanese cities such as Osaka and Tokyo. Many wealthy merchants were staying in Niigata for business and were searching for fancy and sophisticated experiences. This lead to some restaurants integrating geisha shows as part of their services, especially in the Furumachi district.

Niigata’s geigi have been around for more than 200 years and are now considered an integral part of the region’s cultural heritage.

Lunch at Ikinariya Ryotei

Furumachi Geigi Geisha Niigata 9

We decided to go to the Ikinariya Ryotei to meet Niigata’s geigi. Ryotei are traditional restaurants that usually accept new customers by referral …continue reading