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Kamishichiken

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Kamishichiken

Kamishichiken

Kamishichiken is one of Kyoto's five licensed geisha districts. It is the oldest of the five, and is located in northwest Kyoto just east of Kita no Tenmangu Shrine. Kamishichiken is the least famous of the five the others are Gion Kobu, Gion Higashi, Pontocho, and Miyagawacho mainly because it is not close to downtown or Yasaka Shrine, and because it is small. The name Kamishichiken literally means "Seven Upper Houses," which refers to seven teahouses built from leftover materials following renovations done to Kitano Shrine during the Muromachi Period (1333 - 1573).The seven block district is near Nishijin the center of the city's weaving and textile industry just off Imadegawa Dori (street). The largest buildings in the area are the Kamishichiken Kaburenjo Theater, which is where dance performances are held, and Saihonji Temple. There are many traditional wooden buildings, some of which are ochaya (teahouses) or okiya (geisha houses). There are approximately 25 maiko and geiko in Kamishichiken today; they entertain in 10 teahouses. This compares with some 50 teahouses that were in operation prior to World War II.