As a travel destination, Kyoto is a popular choice as it combines the serenity of the Japanese lifestyle and the magical flavor of a tradition, most Westerners are fascinated with — the tradition of Geisha.
The Gion district is the most famous of the five Hanamachi (areas where local Geisha live & work) in Kyoto. In these five Hanamachi, it is said that there are a couple hundred Geisha and most entertain in the many O-chaya (tea houses) which line the narrow streets in the Gion district. O-chayas are not regular tea houses, but rather they are old Japanese style buildings with wooden doors and tatami mats. Some even have traditional Japanese gardens. Most O-chayas are located along Hanamikoji Street and some, even though small, do actually house Maiko (Geisha in training), where the Maiko can live and work. The banquet type tatami clad rooms are used to entertain guests as well as to serve meals.
Many of the O-chaya are located near local shrines and temples — making a stroll in the Gion district a wonderful opportunity to step back in time! If you visit the Gion District in the early evening hours, it is not unusual to see Geisha and Maiko making their way along the maze of alleyways and streets, toward their appointments in one of the many O-chaya or restaurants in the area.
We hope you will enjoy your tour in Kyoto, where the traditional houses & artistic shops still exist.
||Where will you stay in KYOTO?
New Miyako Hotel
Conveniently located in the heart of Kyoto, right across from JR Kyoto Station where everything in Kyoto is accessible! Renovated in the summer of 2005, it is an ideal hotel while visiting this ancient city of Japan!