Somaro (Maiko Teahouse, Hina Doll Gallery)
Experience the gaiety and "The best of Japanese culture"
In a port town once bustled with commercial ships
(c) Yamagata Prefecture, JNTOSakata is a once-bustling port town. Kamigata culture (Kyoto culture) introduced to the town is integrated into the local climate and nurtured. Ryotei (traditional restaurant) is a part of the culture. Soma-ro was opened in 2000 as a new sightseeing spot by renovating Soma-ya, an old ryotei since the Edo Period.
Its wooden main building was lost by a big fire of the Great Shonai Earthquake in 1894 and rebuilt around a remaining plastered storehouse just after the fire. The building was designated as a registered tangible cultural property in 1996. Thatched gate and vermilion walls are its trademarks. Somaro was the stage of "Soma-ya incident" where local wealthy merchants held a banquet imitating court banquets. They ordered costumes from Kyoto to dress themselves as emperor, empress and others. This expensive game was accused of dishonoring the Imperial family. Astonished at the development, people of Soma-ya tried to justify the event as imitating hina dolls and finally escaped punishment.
A 20-tatami mat room on the ground floor is used as a tea room, kitchen is used for dancing practice of Sakata maiko and the hall of the 2nd floor is a theater, where you can enjoy glamorous dance of maiko and Japanese food. You can pose for a commemorative photo with maiko. How about immerse yourself in the culture of Sakata that once flourished? The museum exhibits antiquities such as historical hina dolls and paintings of a Japanese-style painter Takehisa Yumeji. Their luxury will amaze you.
Address: 1-2-20 Maikozaka Hiyoshi-cho, Sakata, Yamagata
Hours open to visitors: 9:00-17:00
Admission Fee: 700 yen (adults); 500 yen (junior/senior high school students); 300 yen (elementary school/kindergarten students); free for children under 3 (discount for large groups of 15 members or more)
Directions: (Train) A 15-minute walk from Sakata Station on the JR Uetsu Honsen (one hour by air from Haneda Airport, Tokyo, and 40 minutes from Syonai Airport). (Car) 10 minutes from Sakata Interchange on the Yamagata Expressway.