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Kyoto in Photos

Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan
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The beautiful geisha of Kyoto Kyoto  Japan
Community engagement by Kyoto University Kyoto  Japan
Kyoto’s Kimono Culture Kyoto  Japan
Traditional Tea House Kyoto  Japan
Colors of Fall Kyoto  Japan
Kyoto at 4:00AM Kyoto  Japan
Glamour Geisha Kyoto  Japan
Within Temple Grounds in Kyoto Kyoto  Japan
Becoming a Maiko  Kyoto  Japan
Inside a Geisha’s World Kyoto  Japan
Stroll the Higashiyama Area Walk through Gion Kyoto  Japan
Kyoto Kyoto  Japan
perfection Kyoto  Japan
The beautiful geisha of Kyoto Kyoto  Japan
Community engagement by Kyoto University Kyoto  Japan
Kyoto’s Kimono Culture Kyoto  Japan
Traditional Tea House Kyoto  Japan
Colors of Fall Kyoto  Japan
Kyoto at 4:00AM Kyoto  Japan
Glamour Geisha Kyoto  Japan
Within Temple Grounds in Kyoto Kyoto  Japan
Becoming a Maiko  Kyoto  Japan
Inside a Geisha’s World Kyoto  Japan
Stroll the Higashiyama Area Walk through Gion Kyoto  Japan
Kyoto Kyoto  Japan
perfection Kyoto  Japan

The beautiful geisha of Kyoto

Geisha have an interesting perception in history. People think of them as earlier versions of courtesans, but the geisha profession began in the 1750-60′s as an occupation and were actually prohibited from sexual acts. Otherwise they would have been competition to the already existing prostitutes. Geisha were (and still are) entertainers. Geisha has their origins in Kyoto where the imperial court was located. They do exist in other parts of Japan but, Kyoto is where you will find the largest population. They mainly live in the Gion District and many tourists camp out in the early evenings hoping to catch one heading to a teahouse to work. I came upon these two geisha by accident early one morning when they were out making their rounds. They visit local businesses and share offerings of thanks for their patronage. A local resident bowed to these two women and asked if she could take a photo. I took the opportunity to do the same and they graciously accepted. It was a magical moment. They were unstressed and unhurried by tourists playing paparazzi and I felt blessed to have been allowed to take their photo!

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almost 5 years ago

Community engagement by Kyoto University

After a day of cycling around Kyoto, my husband and I were heading back to our guesthouse when we encountered this group of Masters Urban Planning students wrangling any and all passersby into a spontaneous (well, it was definitely planned on their part) picnic ON the river. The project is meant to challenge local residents to view all the possible different uses for their spaces, as well as foster relationships through social activities in the space. It was really cool because we got to eat homemade food with some really interesting people on platforms that were in the middle of the canal/river.
AFAR Local Expert
almost 5 years ago

Kyoto’s Kimono Culture

These days, the Japanese only wear kimonos special occasions. But Kyoto is one of the few places where people regularly wear them. The local government encourages its residents (and tourists!) to wear kimonos by offering discounts and/or free entry at temples, museums, on public transportation and even restaurants. Kyoto is the textile capitol of Japan and the ancient art of kimono painting is slowing dying away. You can visit the Kyoto Museum of Traditional Crafts to learn more about the origins of the kimono. You can buy beautiful pieces at shops in town (its an investment!) or visit the Marumasu Nishimuraya factory where you can make your own kimono-style product. Kyoto is a wonderful place to people watch and appreciate the delicate beauty of the kimono.
AFAR Staff
over 1 year ago

Traditional Tea House

At this shrine, we saw a couple traditional tea houses that had been transported to the location and upkept for many years. These small tea houses were used for traditional tea ceremonies many years ago!
AFAR Staff
over 1 year ago

Colors of Fall

One of my favorite parts of touring Kyoto this time of year was seeing all of the beautiful fall foliage. The colors of the season were so vivid and bright as the leaves had just begun to turn about two weeks prior to our trip.
almost 5 years ago

Kyoto at 4:00AM

My favorite thing to do everytime I am in Kyoto is to get up at 4:00 am go on a walk/run. It's great. No one is out on the street except the street cleaners. You get to see the people you rarely ever see---the ones who spend their lives transforming the city for the people who use the city during the day/night. It's like the city is being reborn. I always go to 7/11 or something and get some sweet unhealthy "pan" (Japanese word for bread, usually has sweet stuff like red bean inside.) and maybe some banana milk if I can find it. If not I usually drink some kind of sesame or red bean drink. These are the things I delight in when I come to Japan. I love how the sun in Japan shines so brightly, illuminating the neon white sky so early in the morning in summer in Kyoto. It wakes me up instantly, streaming through my white paper curtain, as if nothing could stop its rays.
almost 5 years ago

Glamour Geisha

While teaching in Japan I celebrated my birthday. What a better way to do that then by going to Kyoto to go full on geisha? I'm not sure if the Maiko Style Experience is the same place I went to, but it seems to provide all the things that my photo experience did. Dressing up as geisha or maiko is popular for groups of women in a wedding party or for a mother daughter experience. There are even opportunities for men to dress as samurai here. During my experience my hair was put in a hair net, my face and neck were painted, a large wig was placed on me, I work the split toe socks, picked out my own kimono, and extremely tall wooden sandals. I posed with a paper umbrella, a fan, and a ball. You can get photos and little cards with your picture on them. Try this unique experience and you'll never regret it!
almost 5 years ago

Within Temple Grounds in Kyoto

I was privileged for their allowing gesture and pose, and very much thankful of the memories thereof from touring the grounds with a friend who grew up there. Quite respectful.
almost 5 years ago

Becoming a Maiko

Becoming a maiko - young apprentice geisha - is one part elegance and three parts hard labor. Available in many studios sprinkled throughout Kyoto, this rich experience lets you live the life of a maiko, if only for one ethereal night. Your visit to Maica studio near Kyoto train station starts with a cup of green tea and a rack of neatly arranged kimonos. Choosing one that catches your eye - the attentive staff recommends gentle colors appropriate for a young maiko - you are ready for the transformation to begin. The foundation to becoming a maiko is a white, clay-based masque, painstakingly and carefully applied to your face and neck by the chatty attendant. Dramatic kohl and rouge eye make-up is next, followed by cherry-red cupid bow lips. Donning a heavy black wig with kanzashi (traditional flower hair accessories), you glance at the mirror and see the beginnings of a 300-year old tale. Another cup of green tea, and the elaborate affair of dressing into maiko's attire begins. Maiko's look has four key pieces: kimono with floor-length sleeves that makes your movements slow and intentional; tight and heavy obi (sash) that straightens your posture; embroidered collar that weighs down your shoulders and elongates your neck; high wooden geta (shoes) that make it harder to walk but easier to float on Kyoto's cobblestone streets. Transformed by a skillful artist, you become a work of art yourself. A fragile, fine Japanese art. Tips: Plan at least 3 hours. From $70.
almost 5 years ago

Inside a Geisha’s World

I’ve always considered the life of a Geisha as a fascinating existence. Shrouded in mystery to the majority of outsiders, the ancient profession is an art form that many say is impossible to master. When I was lucky enough to travel in Japan I would roam the alleyways of Kyoto to catch as many glimpses as possible of their elegant outfits as they shuffled back and forth from school carrying shamisen or shakuhachi instruments. Geisha literally translates as ‘entertainer’ and is an occupation that was originally founded to promote independence and self-sufficiency of Japanese women who perform musical recitals, poetry, serve tea, dance or simply engage a customer in conversation while maintaining an aura of elegance.
over 4 years ago

Stroll the Higashiyama Area Walk through Gion

The Tourist Information Center at Kyoto Station provides a Kyoto Walks guide (or download it from my website), outlining specific walking routes. My favorite was the Higashiyama Area walk that cuts through the shops, restaurants, temples and gardens of the Gion District, into Maruyama Park and terminating at the Heian Jingu Shrine. Exploring the Gion District is the best part of visiting Kyoto. Don't stick precisely to the Higashiyama Area walk: explore its capillaries for glimpses into upscale residential life. I read about Shijo Street frequently: it's significant but lacking in character. The clubs, restaurants and teahouses filling the blocks north of it are far more interesting. Geiko (geisha) and maiko (geiko apprentices) spotting is a popular pastime in the Gion District, but during the day you're more likely to spy young Japanese women dressing up as geiko for fun. What to Do in Kyoto for Fun: http://www.esmetravels.com/do-in-kyoto/
over 3 years ago

Kyoto

kimono
almost 5 years ago

perfection

Our trip to Kyoto made me want to create the same beauty and perfection in my garden as we saw at each and every temple we visited. The harmonious lines and intense colors of this temple drew me immediately. Oh to have room for a teahouse on our 25 foot city lot....