History of Omori-Kaigan Seaside
which services Tokyo and Yokohama
The transition from simple countryside seaweed farming village began in the Meiji Period (1868-1912) when the beaches of Omori, then called Hachiman Kaigan, began to attract travelers due to their proximity to the city center in Tokyo.
Before long, industrious businessmen saw the money to be made in this newly popular area and Japanese traditional restaurants began popping up. Soon geisha dwellings followed to provide entertainment for the restaurant patrons. Work was plentiful and times were very good.
Following the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905) Japan experienced unprecedented economic boom. Omori Seaside became known as a seaside hanamachi (geisha district) with beautiful scenic views. In the Showa Period (1926-1989) a geisha association was established to organize one of Tokyo’s most prominent geisha districts of 56 geisha houses and 240 individual working geisha.
by sandy beaches and traditional Japanese restaurants.
Together with the Omori geisha district, the nearby town of Oi also had a licensed geisha area that is said to have had, at the most prosperous period, up to 200 working geisha. Also in the Showa Period, on the east side of Heiwajima Station a licensed geisha district was created, making the area around Omori a huge center for traditional Japanese entertainment.
In summary, in modern day Shinagawa Ward the collective hanamachi area of Omori stretched from the number 2 and 3 blocks of South Oimachi neighborhood throughout the entirety of the Omorihoncho neighborhood in Ota Ward.
a geisha dwelling
of a former traditional Japanese restaurant
The post World War Two economic boom and reconstruction, as well as the period around the Korean War (1950-1953) were still good times for Omori Kaigan as it returned to the liveliness of pre-war days. But before long, the reclamation of the sandy beach area into usable land for business took a toll and as tourist numbers declined, so steadily did the numbers of restaurants and geisha dwellings. Even still, nearly 200 geisha remained working in the area as Japan remained in economic upturn.
Nowadays, the area that was once a bustling hub of geisha activity has transformed into an economic quarter packed with offices and multi-story apartment buildings. These modern buildings were built on the site of the prosperous Japanese restaurants that Omori once boasted about. But some of these buildings still remain, and if you explore the area around Omori -Kaigan station, you may have a chance to catch a glimpse into the past world of Omori’s geisha district.