Praying for Healthy Legs – the Mitarashi Festival

Imagine a long, hot, and humid summer day. Your legs are swollen and your mouth is longing for a cold drink. What’s better than immersing yourself in a cool stream of crystal clear spring water? Shimogamo Jinja in Kyoto hosts the most refreshing festival in Japan, 御手洗祭 Mitarashi-sai, where you can relax in a sacred river. The local water is believed to cure diseases, especially those of your legs; and if you take a sip from the nearby waterfall, your internal organs may be cleansed as well. 

(more…)

A Maiko For A Day

The iconic and fascinating look of Kyoto maiko has probably made you want to try it on even once. You can make this dream come true in Kyoto—just visit one of the many makeover studios! You can become a maiko for a couple of hours there, experience the white makeup and heavy kimono outfit, and take great souvenir photos. But which maiko makeover studio is the most reliable? Is it expensive? How does the process look like? Let’s transform into a maiko with me!

(more…)

Maiko Toshinaho—New Star of Komaya Okiya

Book a meeting with maiko and/or a guided tour in Kyoto now at geishakagai@gmail.com

At a tranquil August evening, just a night before a typhoon hit Kyoto, I had a privilege to be entertained by a charming maiko Toshinaho of Miyagawacho district. It is one of my job’s perks when a customer requests to meet a geiko or maiko privately. It was quite difficult to arrange an ozashiki in the middle of Obon holidays, but luckily, while the Gion Kobu artists and local businesses are off, the Miyagawacho geimaiko don’t mind the holidays and keep on working. So young Toshinaho of the Komaya house was chosen to be our star that night.

(more…)

Winter Wonderland and its Demonic Legends – Kyoto’s Kibune Town

I’ve been waiting anxiously for snowy weather over here. This year’s winter in Kyoto, however, is mild and quite warm. There were only four snowy days, including the past weekend, this season. Downtown Kyoto was covered only with a thin, fragile layer of wet snow. But up in the North, there is a magical area called Kibune. (more…)