Geisha are the traditional entertainers of Japan. They are well versed in many arts including singing, dancing, games and other forms of entertainment. Being a geisha is not easy because they undergo special training in order to be recognized.
Some of these aspiring ladies start their training at a young age. Before you become a geisha, you must first become an apprentice to one. Apprentice geisha are called “Maiko” or “Hangyoku” (the term differs depending on the region) and they accompany their Geiko, or Geisha (a veteran geisha, the term changes depending on the region). Geiko supplies them with the tools and knowledge needed to become a full-fledged geisha.
If you want to see or meet a geisha, you must first know where to find them. Some people think that you can see geisha anywhere in Japan. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Here are some of the places in Tokyo where you will be able to see these elusive and charming ladies.
1. Geisha performance and traditional games in Nihonbashi
Not everyone can have the opportunity to play with Geisha, but if you go to Nihonbashi, you will be able to experience this first hand. Not only that but they will also entertain you with their traditional dance and other performances that have been passed down from generation to generation.
2. Ichimatsu in Asakusa
Ichimatsu will give you a taste of traditional Japanese food, along with traditional entertainment courtesy of their popular geisha. Great food, great service, and great entertainment, what more can you ask for?
3. Walk Kagurazaka district from twilight
Kagurazaka district has a rich history and is one of the places where you can find geisha in Tokyo. In the past there were many traditional geisha houses in the surrounding area, but now there are only a few of them. Looking for a geisha walking along the streets of Kagurazaka is like playing hide and seek, sometimes you see them, sometimes you don’t. However, there is a higher chance that you will find them walking the streets during twilight as they commute to their work.
4. Kaga in Kagurazaka
Kaga is a restaurant that has been around for more than 60 years. An establishment that specializes in the “kappo” cuisine that makes use of traditional ingredients found from all over Japan. Not only that, you can enjoy performances by geisha with the accompaniment of the shamisen.
5. Yukimoto in Kagurazaka
Yukimoto is a popular ryotei restaurant in Kagurazaka (ryotei means luxurious restaurant). They serve traditional Japanese dishes in private tatami rooms that bring out the unique culture of Japan. If you want to impress someone, whether it be a business deal or an important event, you might want to consider bringing them to Yukimoto. It is advisable to call for a reservation in order to get the services of geisha in Yukimoto.
6. Free Geisha Performance at Asakusa Culture Center
Asakusa Culture Center is a unique building that houses conference rooms, an exhibition space, and a multi-purpose hall. As the name suggests, it is a place where tourists can ask for vital information about the city of Asakusa. Geisha performances are also held in the Asakusa Culture Center from time to time. The staffs are polite, accommodating and will do their best to help you. If it’s your first time visiting Asakusa, going there is a must!
7. Akasaka Odori Festival in March
The Akasaka Odori festival is a festival that started since 1949. It is one of the few occasions for people to see Akasaka Geisha’s performances outside of Ozashiki, restaurants, etc. It is a great opportunity to get a glimpse of geisha for those who visit Akasaka and want to see geisha performances. A time where they go out of their traditional houses to show a glimpse of their grace and talent for everyone to see.
Website: http://www.ints.co.jp/akasaka2017/index.htm (Japanese Only)
8. Kagurazaka Street Stage O-edo Tour Festival (Kagurazaka Machibutai Oedo Meguri Festival)
During the Kagurazaka Oedo Meguri Festival, there is an event called Ozashiki Asobi. The term Ozashiki Asobi refers to traditional Japanese games that are now almost forgotten. The only ones who remember them and skillfully play them are the geisha. Foreigners sometimes take this opportunity to play a game with them and experience this unique culture firsthand. The Kagurazaka Oedo Meguri Festival was held in November, and the program (Ozashiki Asobi) was available in 2016. The schedule for 2017 performances is undecided.
All information in this article is as of March 2017
Thumbnail is from Wikimedia