Our search for geishas (or geiko as they are called in Kyoto) reminded me of the african safaris I’ve been on – it required a little bit of luck and a lot of patience. We headed straight to Gion which is the area with the restaurants and teahouses where geishas are known to entertain (some are exclusive to them!). And we waited right in front of the geisha school.
And then we waited. And waited. And waited.
And eventually, we found some walking towards the school!
Since geikos and maikos (apprentice geisha) tend to entertain at night, we waited around 6pm thinking that they would have to show up for some of their appointments that night. It was a good guess because we found them right around 6:30pm. What really struck me was how they came out of no where and disappeared just as quickly – almost like apparitions in the night – which is what makes seeing one all the more special!
If you’re planning on going:
If you’re interested in searching for geishas when you’re in Kyoto, you should wait outside the geisha school as well. It’s literally 3 blocks up from the Gion Shijo subway stop. Coming out of the subway, walk north on Shijo-dori and turn right at the 3rd block. The school is right there. If you’d rather be entertained by geisha, some higher end hotels may be able to help you arrange that but plan to fork out around $900 for the evening (hmm… standing around in front of the geisha school doesn’t seem like such a bad idea now, right?). 😉