Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Japan: Kyoto 40 - Gion

Let's see my knowledge of Gion before I went there came from reading books. I knew it was the place I most wanted to see in Japan. It is the most famous geisha district. It is indeed very unique and soooo cool. The small walkways and architecture were magical during cherry blossom season. I read that if you're lucky you will see a geisha on the path sometime in the evenings on their way to tea ceremonys.

We were recommended to take the "Higashiyama strolling path." It starts from Maruyama Park and ends at Jishu shrine. It is a historic area lined with gardens, shops and many souvenirs and items made in Kyoto. Tourists particularly buy the fans, crafts and sweets here. Other popular places are the Gion Kobu Kaburenjo and Gion Corner.

I highly recommend buying advance tickets to see the Miyako 0dori. This is the spring dance geikos perform annually. It was absolutely beautiful and different. Of course after reading the book, Geisha, A Life, I was dying to see what all the hub bub was about and what a traditional Japanese dance looked like. It was colorful, full of costumes, dancers, musicians and singers. The group moves in sync w/another and constantly moves in pairs.

Useful websites I used to plan our trip: