History of the Hachioji Geisha
The Hachioji textile industry that flourished in the city made it a focal point for the merchant class’s social activities. Various Japanese eating establishments sprang up as a result, and Geisha were employed to welcome guests with song and dance. The hospitality industry resulted in the flourishing of the city’s Geisha culture. At its peak, some 200 plus Geisha worked in the Nakamachi area.
Although the decline of Hachioji’s textile industry resulted in the end of golden age of the Geisha, even now there are several Okiya houses (houses where Geisha live and learn their art) on the “Hachioji-Hanamachi and Kurobei-dori”, that still employ Geishas. In order to actively promote Geisha culture, regional events, such as the “Hachioji Festival”, encourage the practice of Geisha arts through participation in these events.
The proprietress Megumi-san, who operates the Okiya house “Yukinoe”, found herself in the world of the Geisha after she was scouted while working at Japanese-style eating establishment. She is absorbed in a world of art created from a concentration of all that is the Japanese culture of social propriety. Currently she is actively working on promoting the region’s Geishas. It appears that in recent years, the number of Geisha in Hachioji has been increasing.