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Maiko and Geiko of Kyoto

September 9th, 2019
Japan Photo Tour - Geiko and Maiko of Kyoto

Japan – More than Autumn Colours

One of my favourite cultural events on our Autumn tours to Japan is our photo shoot with some of the Maiko and Geiko of Kyoto. Known to most westerners as Geisha. This is not a word they ever use in Kyoto. In Kyoto they are Geiko – literally “Woman of Art”, and Maiko, the apprentice Geiko – Literally “Girl of Dance”.

Geiko and Maiko of Kyoto are highly trained professionals, they are not just girls in Kimonos. Becoming a Geiko is full time rigorous study for many years, usually from about the age of 9. They are highly proficient in traditional song, dance and musical instruments. They are remarkably elegant with a poise and grace that is unique… and a great sense of humour.

Japan Photo Tour - Geiko and Maiko of Kyoto

A truly unique experience

We have a full afternoon shoot, usually with three of these amazing ladies. We work in small groups of just 3-4 in various rooms of a beautiful old Machiya (traditional tea house), using the diffuse natural light coming through the Washi paper screens. They show us some traditional dance, music and song and sometimes a Japanese drinking game or two

Japan Photo Tour - Geiko and Maiko of Kyoto

4th post in this series

This is the fourth post in the series talking about some of the cultural elements of Japan that I focus on in our 2020 Japan Autumn Photo tour. You can read the previous post at, Japanese Cultural Photography.

Japan in Autumn is more than Autumn colours. Japan is an old country with a rich and varied culture, to go all that way and not experience and photograph some of that would be a missed opportunity.

2020 Japan Autumn tour 3 places remaining

If you would like to join in and experience some of this unique Japanese culture you can see all the details on my Autumn Colours off Japan photo tour page. As of tonight there are now just 3 places left for the 2020 trip.

The culture of Japanese food

I think the food also deserves a mention. Food is a big part of Japanese culture, and it’s more than Nori rolls!

Japan Photo Tour

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