Gion sprang to life in the middle ages to meet the needs of pilgrims and travelers visiting the Yasaka Shrine in Kyoto.A robust entertainment industry grew from there, where a weary traveler could be entertained by kabuki theater or perhaps by geishas. Gion would become one of the most exclusive Geisha districts in all of Japan. While the number of geishas has greatly decreased over the years, you can still find many geishas entertaining visitors in ochayas (tea houses) in the old world streets. However, in most cases you must have connections to be able to attend these performances or a big fat bank account. If you are like me and you don’t have either of those things then at the very least you can hope to spot one walking in the streets on her way to work or some other appointment. My first night in Kyoto I set out with my daughter to check out Gion and take some pics of the beautiful old wooden buildings and lantern lit streets. My daughter and I were enjoying looking around and taking photos but I hadn’t seen a single geisha and that was kind of a bummer. Just then my daughter goes “Mom, geishas! They’re in that taxi!” Excitement flooded through me and we chased after the taxi hoping to get a glimpse. Thus began a very fun night for my girl and I. Every taxi that passed we scanned for geishas. If we spotted one we would hurry after it and try to get close enough to get a pic, but not so close as to be overly annoying. We had the best time and laughed at ourselves practically running through the streets. It was such an incredible experience and a memory with my girl that I’ll always treasure.
And then, Geishas! I was so excited to see one that I forgot to change my camera settings from the lantern pictures that I was taking but I don’t even care I still love this shot. lol I’ve always found Japanese culture to be interesting but nothing that I’ve been obsessed with. The first time you see a geisha in real life though is similar I think to what it would feel like to see a unicorn or something like that. Here is this beautiful creature of legend and lore standing before you, it’s surreal. I wasn’t obsessed before, but may be slightly now. lol
And then another.
We had so much fun in Gion that we would spend most of the next day there as well.
A few old homes that we saw.
The old streets filled with restaurants,ochayas, and geishas!
What it’s like to see a geisha. The little boy explains it perfectly. lol
OMG she popped out right in front of us!
The hubby wouldn’t let me follow her! lol
The Minami-za Kabuki Theater and some other beautiful buildings near the river.
Kyoto is a truly spectacular city. It’s one of those special places that will stay with me. If given the chance to go back, I would in a heartbeat!