Somaro Maiko Teahouse

Sakata City

Somaro is a Maiko tea house and Hina Doll Gallery in the heart of Sakata City that is sure to please anyone who has an interest in Japan and Japanese culture. Somaro is perhaps best known for the daily dance performances by Maiko (trainee Geisha), stunning artwork by famed artist Takehisa Yumeji, and beautiful architecture and design with a direct influence from Kyoto. The historic buildings that were originally built during the Edo period (1603-1867) maintain the traditional Japanese atmosphere and have been updated as recently as 2000 by Hirata Farms.

Quick Info:

 

Open daily from 10am to 5pm (Last entry 4:30pm, closed Wednesdays)

Prices: 

Exclusive Meal and Maiko Performance (see below)

Adult (including dance performance) ¥1800

Adult ¥1000

Junior and Senior High school students ¥500

Elementary school students and kindergarteners ¥300

*Prices vary, more information below. 

Groups of more than 15 receive a

10% discount

 

Other Tips:

- Recommended length of visit 1-2 hours 

- Easy access from Sakata Station 

- 2 parking lots available 

-Contact information: Please email us at thehiddenjapan@gmail.com 

Somaro, Geisha, Maiko

One of the many tearooms 

Somaro, Maiko, Geisha, Japan, Sakata

An interior map of Somaro

History 

Somaro, Maiko, Geisha, Japan, Sakata

The exterior of Somaro

Somaro is one the best places to experience the rich history and culture of the port city of Sakata. Originally a traditional Japanese high-class restaurant named Somaya that operated for over 100 years, the buildings underwent a renovation in the year 2000 when the newly renamed Somaro was born. 

From the 1600s onwards the Tokugawa Shogunate commissioned the Shonai region to be a producer of rice allowing Sakata to prosper greatly. The Japan Heritage Kitamaebune ships were used to trade rice and safflower to Edo (modern-day Tokyo), Osaka, Kyoto, and other regions all around Honshu in return for salt and cotton.

Somaro, Maiko, sakata city, shonai, Sakata

Perhaps the most remarkable thing traded on the Kitamaebune ships was the culture of western Japan, most notably Geisha and Maiko culture of Kyoto. Somaro was the materialization of this culture import.  

Maiko welcoming guests

It was during this time Somaya was built and garnered popularity among politicians and VIPs. In fact, the large hall on the second floor where the Maiko perform was the location for the Somaya incident in 1893; a group of rice merchants impersonated royalty in clothing they had obtained from Kyōto and were promptly arrested for lese majesty. The following year the Shonai Earthquake and subsequent fires destroyed everything but the white storehouse.  Somaro was rebuilt around this structure that you can still enter today.

Taleb Rifai, head of the United Nations World Tourism Organization during his visit in 2017.

Somaya began to decline following WWII and eventually closed in 1990. However, identified as an important cultural asset to the region, Hirata Farms (Hirata Bokujo) purchased Somaya and fully restored the home to its former glory.  Following its restoration, Somaya was renamed as Somaro and is now a popular tourist destination for travellers in Japan and abroad.

Daily Performances 

Somaro, Maiko, Geisha, Japan, Sakata

Maiko giving a performance

There are daily performances by the Maiko at 2pm and more performances held during busy seasons, however if there are two or more of you it is highly recommended to order a meal in advance for an exclusive Maiko performance while you enjoy exquisite local delicacies (bookings required, performances held at 12 noon). Photographs can be taken with the Maiko following their performance.

Somaro, Maiko, Geisha, Japan, Sakata

Maiko giving a performance

There are three performances that together take about 15 minutes.  They also vary by season and constantly change throughout the year, so be sure to visit during different seasons if you have the chance.

Lunch and Private Performances 

Somaro also offers the chance for guests to enjoy local delicacies from Sakata with a private performance at 12 noon each day.  Note that reservations must be made at least two business days in advance.  

You can also make your reservation online!  Please scroll down to our online reservation forum.

Somaro, Maiko, Geisha, Japan, Sakata

The lunch service and performances on the 3rd floor. 

Somaro has three options for Bento lunches at Somaro. 

Please note that prices vary by bento and that parties must agree on one type of bento for the entire group. 

Kaiseki Bento (Variety Bento)   

¥5,500

 

Chirashi Bento (Sushi Bowl Bento)  

¥5,000

 

Unagi Bento (Grilled Eel Bento) 

¥8,000

Bento Options

Reservations

Refreshments  

Japanese Tea and Confectionary Set

In addition to the private lunch bentos, Somaro serves food and drinks throughout the day in the large tea room next to the central garden.  Here you may order a variety of refreshments or small food items that are served by the Maiko. 

During the summer months you can even sit along the garden and enjoy a light meal. We highly recommend the traditional Japanese tea and confectionary set for 600 yen. 

Tea Menu:

 

Green Tea (includes a Japanese sweet) ¥600

Coffee ¥400

Ice Coffee ¥600

Juice ¥400

Beer (Bottled) ¥500

Appetizers ¥500

Brown Sugar Kanten Jelly with Ice Cream ¥500

Maiko serving refreshments

View of the outside garden

Access 

Somaro is located in downtown Sakata City and is easily accessible by either car or public transportation.

 

It is an approximately 20- minute walk from Sakata Station, or a six-minute cab ride.  

Somaro also has two parking lots for those who wish to come via rental car.

Google Maps link

Address in Japanese:

〒998-0037 山形県酒田市日吉町1丁目2−20

Contact 

Contact us directly for inquiries about Somaro.  For reservations, please refer to the above reservation forum. 

Email us at:   thehiddenjapan@gmail.com

One of the Maiko of Somaro

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