Kyoto's Geisha & Maiko

Among the many things Japan is famous for, Geishas have definitely put on the top of the list before. After the movie "Memoirs of a Geisha” in 2005, geishas were definitely popularized in the western society. But little of the public known that, the real geishas and their apprentices maikos look vastly different from the actress who portrayed them. As a kimono maniac, my visit to Kyoto(the old capital of Japan) couldn’t have been completed without maiko transformation. It’s among the more costly tourist activities in Kyoto but definitely gives a very different angle to view Kyoto’s history.

Even though commonly known as Geishas altogether, these artisans actually go through an apprentice phase when they’re referred to as Maikos “The Dancing Girl” before being perceived as a Geisha.

This is a real Geisha.
Geisha Front   Geisha Back
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Kyoto's Geisha and Maiko: Part 2

This entire process of just hair and makeup took 1-2 hours, which makes sense why most transformation shops just use wigs which they can dress a customer head to toe in less than 1 hour. After another 5 Kgs of kimono and obi put on me, we headed out to Gion for an hour of strolling around and taking photos.

me back
me front

Little did I know, how crazy other tourists can get. The moment the staff helped me off taxi, crowds came surrounding me in a scary speed. Despite the obvious flaws(my tattoo and not a drop of Japanese), people were very excited to meet a maiko-like figure. In reality, maikos only walk on the streets formally dressed in the evening and they walk really fast.
Continue reading "Kyoto's Geisha and Maiko: Part 2"