Have you ever seen a maiko?
A maiko is an apprentice geisha, in more modern terms, a young girl doing her on-the-job training to become a full-fledged geisha.
Although the number of Geisha has been declining considerably, you can still find a certain number especially in Kyoto in areas such as Pontocho or Gion.
What is the difference between a maiko and a geisha besides age and experience? Do you know how to recognize a maiko? Well, basically maiko wear more colorful kimono with almost ground touching sleeves (furisode) and a large sash (obi). They have elaborate hair-dos and their face is made up whiter than that of a geisha.
In Kyoto there are several places where you can get the thrill to see yourself transformed into a beautiful maiko.
One of the most popular photo studio is Yumekoubou: with 4 shops around Kyoto, the main shop within 5 min. walking distance from Kyoto station, 3 others in Gion, Arashiyama and near the Kiyomizudera temple.
For about 10.000 Yen you will get your full outfit as a maiko, with a wide selection of kimonos to choose among.
Included in the price are 20 photos taken in their photo studio by a professional photographer from which you can choose 3 for your special photo-album.
After the photo session you can take as many photos as you like with your own camera in a special setting.
Other options are photo books, name cards, sticker and much more. Everything you order will be sent to you to your home address within 3 weeks.
You should make a reservation in advance.
The whole procedure takes about 1,5 to 2 hours.
There are a few other studios in Kyoto such as
- Studio Shiki: With a special samurai plan
- Yumeyakata: They offer free tee and sweets and you can take home photos the same day (unless too crowded)
- Maica: Prices depend on kimono quality
- Aya: This studio is located in an atmospheric, traditional Japanese style townhouse (machiya)
- Hanagiku: The shop only uses real expensive and elegant kimonos and obi (sashes) which have been used by maiko.
- Maikozaka“: Open 365 days
Some places allow you to walk around outside the studio.
In Arashiyama you have the option to take a rikshaw ride (with photos).
To have an idea how it looks like to become a maiko, please have a look at out photo story (pictures might be slow to build up, please wait a little)
The transformation of Lulu-san:
If you are interested in dressing up as a maiko, just contact us. We can help you to make a reservation or even accompany you to the studio.
For more info please contact: email@example.com