京都 Maiko and maybe a Geisha will make your night in Kyoto, even if it’s just a snap shot!

These are some photos from when I was in Japan for the first time in 2007. I was traveling with my mom and my friend from Tokyo 東京. When we got to Kyoto 京都 the first thing my mom and I wanted to see wear kimono clad women everywhere, we saw a few everyday women dressed in kimono which made me happy, but as for my mom it wasn’t enough, we had to see the geisha. My friend from Tokyo 東京 did want to be out at night in an area she didn’t know, plus she thought we were going on a wild goose chase along with the whole hotel staff. In this geisha quest we also meant seeing a maiko would do, but at the time I never knew the difference between maiko and geisha(or as locals call them geiko).

The key differences between them is the maiko dresses more colorfully and decorative then her, as they call it, “older sister”. A geisha becomes an older sister by taking on a maiko as her understudy and when they come of a certain age or are ready they become a geisha after a ceremony. There is also a ceremony to bind them as sisters as well.

So after arriving in Gion(one of the geisha districts) my mom and I were on the look out for geisha/maiko along with a few other tourist. As you can see I found a few maiko and maybe the one in the car was a geisha since she was being escorted by a few men and didn’t have any decorative head pieces on. Also below I have a a photo I took of the shoes under the doorway and a photo of the entrance where the geisha walked out of. It was quite a fun night!

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7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. samokan
    Jul 05, 2012 @ 19:41:46

    Another difference is the size of the kimono sleeves. A maiko has longer sleeves and a full geisha has shorter sleeves.

    A friend gave me a little comparison, with regards to the style of kimono used by single and married ladies.

    For single ladies it is very colorful and have long sleeves. But for married ladies is usually have simpler design and shorter leaves.

    Can you guess the significance of the size of sleeves? 🙂

    Reply

    • cutenippon
      Jul 06, 2012 @ 08:34:05

      Oh yeah, thanks! I forgot about the sleeves. I do know womens sleeves are rounded at the bottom edge, especially when younger the more rounded, and mens are a sharp corner. Not sure of the significance of the sleeve size though.

      Reply

  2. Karen
    Jul 08, 2012 @ 11:48:11

    Yes, maybe I was a little obsessed with finding a Geisha, but when you go to Japan that’s what you expect to see! We had a lot of fun looking for them. Didn’t we? Love Mom

    Reply

  3. ThroughTheLookingGlassAndDownTheRabbitHole
    Oct 06, 2013 @ 06:17:37

    I loved Kyoto, but sadly I wasn’t able to spot a geisha. I was a little bit sad 🙂 Perhaps I need to go back 😉

    Reply

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