Geisha-spotting hotspots

Two maiko running errands during the day

Two maiko running errands in front of the Ichi-riki Tea House in Gion Kobu

If you’re light on cash the easiest way to spot a geiko or maiko today is to go to the Gion, Pontocho or Miyagawa-cho areas of Kyoto in the evening and wait for a kimono clad lady to swish by on her way to an appointment.

Geisha can also be spotted through the windows of the eateries lining the river on Shimbashi-Dori and the calling cards of the maiko can be found stuck to the signs of said restaurants.

Please note though that these are women on their way to work and frequently wearing extremely expensive and fragile clothing; being overtly rude with photography or attempting to touch them is unadvisable – these are not characters at Disneyland but women on a job that you are disrupting.
During the dance seasons geisha and maiko in full dance regalia or dressed to attend the dances can be found near the Kaburen-jo theatre of the hanamachi whose dances are on at the time.

Need a little assistance finding these places? Here are some maps to where you can find geisha walking the streets of Kyoto:

  • Pontocho
  • Miyagawa cho
  • Gion Kobu pedestrian mall (and the Ichiriki tea house)