There are 5 kagais (geisha districts) in Kyoto, and Kamishichiken, dating back to the 15th century, is the oldest one among them. It originated from seven teahouses built along the approach to Kitano Tenmangu Shrine using building materials left over from the reconstruction of the burned-down buildings of Kitano Tenmangu Shrine. Thereafter, when Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a famous samurai-leader who unified Japan in the 16th century, hosted an extremely large tea party, in which even common people could also participate, in this area in the 16th century, these 7 teahouses jointly presented bamboo skewered dumplings for the many guests. This good deed was highly evaluated by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and he gave them permission to exclusively run the dwellings of maiko and geiko, commonly known as geisha, as a reward. Since then, Kamishichiken has developed as a kagai, geisha district. Because this vicinity is the production area for Nishijin-ori textiles, a traditional high-end textile representing Kyoto, Kamishichiken once flourished with the owners of Nishijin-ori related industries as its main customers. However, due to the decline of kimono industries, the liveliness of the past is gradually disappearing. On the other hand, there are few tourists here due to its remoteness from the center of Kyoto, so it can be said that it is a pleasure to wander around this quarter where the old townscape remains intact.
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