During the Edo period, in Shimabara, the courtesans district (yūkaku) from Kyoto, the main attraction were the ageya, luxury restaurants specialized in sophisticated parties, with geisha and taiyu singing, dancing and performing tea ceremonies.
Today, the only surviving ageya is Sumiya, converted since 1998 in a “banquet culture” museum. Built in 1641, Sumiya was owned by the Nakagawa family for 13 generations and was once the most famous establishment from Shimabara. Its elegant architecture impressed me and today I would like to share with you the entrance view, with lattice windows and bengara colored walls (the same color used for the Gion tea-houses).
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: