Kyoto, Japan is known worldwide for it’s traditional looks, amazing Japanese culture, and most of all, it’s real-life geisha. The first time we visited Japan, I was severely disappointed we never got to skip on over to Kyoto and go geisha hunting, so we made a point to go back on our second trip we took over Chuseok a month ago. I’ve already posted about the gorgeous Fushimi-inari Shrine (basically the most internationally known trademark landsite of Kyoto), and it’s about time I let you take a little trip with me around downtown Kyoto.
And get this. We didn’t even have to hunt very long for geisha. They were EVERYWHERE (we aren’t counting the vast crowds of people who paid a ton of money to donn a traditional kimono for the day). Everywhere meaning we saw four. But let me tell you, four is a huge number after checking out other blogs about the geisha in Kyoto. I was lucky enough to photograph two of them as they scuttled past me on their high wooden shoes (how the heck do they walk in those things?) I only got their backs, but that was good enough for me. The second two we saw as we were walking past one of the traditional tea houses. They were being escorted out the door and into a waiting car that quickly sped off as soon as they were shooed inside.
Here’s the thing
aka I feel as if this should be mentioned. Contrary to popular belief, geisha are not prostitutes. They are entertainers of the highest class, and spend years perfecting their art of singing, dancing, moving with grace, and talking. I hadn’t watched Memoirs of a Geisha until after I came back from our trip to Kyoto, but I would HIGHLY recommend it if you are curious about this lifestyle. If you’re the bookworm type, I’ve heard reading the book is even better.
Anyway, after our geisha excitement, we walked around trying to find a place to eat. You wouldn’t believe how much it was to eat in one of the traditional tea houses! I’m talking at least $150-200 big ones for a meager meal of fish and vegetables. A geisha entertainer better come with that right? Because I don’t know how else to justify that price. We decided to go restaurant hopping and went to three different places for small dishes. Seriously the best thing in the world. My favorite was the second. It was run by a bunch of 20-something year old, jolly, and highly entertaining gentlemen. The kicker was their food was some of the best we had while in Japan.
Kyoto, especially under a full moon is gorgeous. I could spend hours on here trying to explain why, but instead I’ll just show you some pictures.