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Geisha girl in Gion

Gion is Kyoto's most famous traditional area. And geisha have been entertaining their wealthy customers for centuries.

Geisha are women who make a profession of providing entertainments for banquets. They do up their hair in the Japanese coiffure; go out to traditional inn and Japanese restaurants. Wearing Kimono, sing traditional song, play the music and perform traditional dancing. There was a time when they were also prostitutes, so the sexual image is strong, But the tendency is rather to regard them as working for valuable profession that inherits traditional arts.

Hanami-koji, perpendicular to Shijo-dori is where most of the 17th century wooden houses are to be found. Geisha or Maiko sometimes wander through the streets during the day, but you will have more chances to see one between 5pm and 6:30pm, before they start working.

There are more old beautiful teahouses on Shirakawa Minami-dori and antique shops on Shinmonzen-dori, which both intersect Hanami-koji.

At the end of Shijo-dori, near the Yasaka shrine Gion Corner and Gion Kobu Kaburen-jo Theater have various traditional dances. The most famous are the Miyako Odori in April, where Geisha perform dances in honor to the coming of spring.

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