Kyoto part 2 : Gion
Ochaya, geiko (don’t say geisha in Kyoto…), maiko (apprentice geiko), dormitories, host mothers, beauty parlors, closed doors and performing arts above all.These are the names of the people who gave money for preserving Gion, you know what to do if you want to be there…This is the shinto shrine for the performing arts, where maiko and geiko come to pray.An ochaya (teahouse) as the plaque on the right says. You can’t go in an ochaya without someone recommending you. And privacy is the word in there.A geiko trying to avoid the stupid foreign tourists and their stupid cameras… she wears a wig, whereas maiko wear their own hair.Look at her obi : tied up in a box shape, typical of geikos.The names of the maiko and geiko of this dormitory are visible on the door.And here is a maiko, with her flowing obi and platform shoes. They start at 15 nowadays, and they have to be very dedicated, since they won’t earn money for the next 4 years or so, the lenghth of their apprenticeship.There is only one shop that makes these rice balls, and they are Christmas presents for the maiko.The high-class ochaya in the neighborhood.