Art, Culture

Geisha Encounters

Kyoto is famous for the Geishas. But arriving in Kyoto we had no real idea of what a geisha was, we knew they were pretty Japanese women who dressed up in traditional attire, but what for? We weren’t quite sure.  David thought they were something like a traditional prostitute. Boy was he wrong. Staying at Ks Guesthouse we found a poster hanging by the tea and coffee station that explained to us exactly what Geishas are all about.

Geishas are broken down into Maiko and Geiko. Maiko are Geishas in training or apprentice Geishas, they’re under 20 years old and study how to be a professional in Japanese traditional culture. They’re taught how to entertain people with tea ceremonies, flower arrangements, and they know a lot about Japanese traditional music and dance. When they are 20 years old, a Maiko becomes a Geiko, a matured Geisha. Someone who is thought of to be skilled in Japanese Culture and Arts, they’ve reached “a higher level of artistry”.

It’s rare to meet Geisha’s unless you know exactly where to find them.  You will see women dressed up like Geishas wandering the streets of Gion, but more often than not, they are not the real thing.  Take the advice shown in these posters and you will more than likely find yourself the real thing!

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