How to Experience Maiko in Kyoto Step by Step

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Konnichiwa~~~

Hisashiburi desu!! (long time no see) Many of you might think that my blog has shut down because I haven’t updated for a week….

NOOOOO!!!!

Last Wednesday, 3 lovely friends visited me in Kyoto, and since then I have spent almost 1 week traveling with them in Kyoto. The trip was too exciting that I couldn’t calm down to update my blog.

Though no updates for a week was a pain to a blogger, instead, I have experienced some amazing things in Kyoto and ready to introduce to you here!

Let me start with the representative culture of Kyoto – Maiko Experience!

Videos:

Maiko Experience in Kyoto [Make-up part] | 外国人舞妓変身体験 in 京都! [化妆篇]

Maiko Experience in Kyoto 2 【Walking Part】| 外国人舞妓変身体験 in 京都 [外出篇]

 

First, let me introduce today’s heroines to you. 🙂

Heroines

Mercedes Maiko heroine in Kyoto
Mercedes from Georgia, US / Trinidad

Stephanie Maiko from US
Stephanie from New Jersey, US

Monika Maiko from Lithuania
Monika from Lithuania

Clap hands~~~~~~~~!!! Today, they are going to transform themselves into the beautiful Japanese  performers – Maiko.

 

What is Maiko?

Maiko Kyoto culture

Maiko – is an apprentice of Geisha in western Japan, especially Kyoto. In other words, they are traditional Japanese dance and music performers. Their jobs are performing dances, songs, and playing Shamisen (three stringed Japanese instrument) for the visitors during feasts.

Usually, Maiko is aged between 15-20, and then become a Geisha after learning how to dance a kind of Japanese traditional dance. Maiko is famous for its white face makeup. Nowadays, you can still find many Maiko working at Kyoto Gion area.

In daytime, Maiko takes lesson to polish their performances. At night, they go out to work. They usually perform at high-class Japanese restaurants, which are said that normal visitors are not allowed to enter without an introduction by a regular member. (usually celebrity) They dance, sing, play Shamisen, and serve visitors with Sake.

 

How to experience Maiko in Kyoto?

Nowadays, there are plenty of Maiko Transformation Experience plans available in Kyoto. Just google “Maiko experience in Kyoto” and you will find many studios with different conditions.

The studio we chose was

Aya Studio

http://kyoto-maiko.com/English/

There are several plans provided by Aya studio. You can check out the “Maiko Experience Plans” tag at the homepage. The plan we chose was:

Walking plan (14,500 yen) –
After taking pictures dressed up as a Geisha (including make-up and wearing a Kimono), take a walk(60minutes) in a traditional district located near the studio. The package includes four (2L size) pictures with original picture cover.

Here are some pictures of Aya studio:
Aya studio Maiko experience
The entrance of Aya studio.

Aya studio Maiko Experience
Backyard for shooting

Aya studio Maiko experience
Makeup room

 

The process of becoming a Maiko in Aya studio

p/s Some photos are screenshots from videos.

Makeup for Maiko in Kyoto

First you will have your makeup. They will put on the white foundation on your face and set a black wig on your head. Your hair might partly be sprayed with black color too.

There are 2 meanings of the neck makeup - Shamisen shape. To make the neck look skinny, and to wish the Maiko perform well.

There are 2 meanings of the neck makeup – Shamisen shape. To make the neck look skinny, and to wish the Maiko perform well.

After makeup, you can choose the costume you like from their collection. Usually, Maiko chooses costume to go with the season, but in Aya studio, all costumes are designed to match all 4 seasons.

After makeup, you can choose the costume you like from their collection. Usually, Maiko chooses costume to go with the season, but in Aya studio, all costumes are designed to match all 4 seasons.

Kanzashi is hair ornament used in traditional Japanese hairstyles. The seasons dictate which kind of hair ornament is worn in Japan. Since maiko wear more elaborate kanzashi than their senior geisha, seasonal changes are even more important for them.

Kanzashi is hair ornament used in traditional Japanese hairstyles. The seasons dictate which kind of hair ornament is worn in Japan. Since maiko wear more elaborate kanzashi than their senior geisha, seasonal changes are even more important for them.

Then, move to the shooting studio and choose 1 set of poses out of 3.

Then, move to the shooting studio and choose 1 set of poses out of 3.

After choosing a set of poses, the professional photographer will instruct you how to pose like a Maiko.

After choosing a set of poses, the professional photographer will instruct you how to pose like a Maiko.

Then smiles~ cik cak

Then smile~ cik cak

Monika did it very well! Completely look like a Japanese ;)

Monika did it very well! Completely look like a Japanese 😉

 

After photo shooting, go for a walk!

Before going out, we got 10 min to take photograph freely in the backyard of Aya studio

Before going out, we got 10 min to take photograph freely in the backyard of Aya studio

European Maiko - Monika lol Photograph by Shen ;)

European Maiko – Monika lol Photograph by Shen 😉

It's time to go out! See how many people will get amazed by us :)

It’s time to go out! See how many people will get amazed by us 🙂

We got a lot of compliments from the people! I was busy with taking photos and videos. Then I hear people said "Look, the Maiko experience plan also provides you a photographer along." lol

We got a lot of compliments from the people! I was busy with taking photos and videos. Then I hear people said “Look, the Maiko experience plan also provides you a photographer along.” lol

The back of a Maiko is the most beautiful part to show. At this time, I feel like shouting, "The back of your hair is ridiculous!" (from a comedy show lol)

The back of a Maiko is the most beautiful part to show. At this time, I feel like shouting, “The back of your hair is ridiculous!” (from a comedy show lol)

Look back with a smile can always kill a guy lol

Look back with a smile can always kill a guy lol

The back of a Maiko is ridiculous :)

The back of a Maiko is ridiculous 🙂

We are like super stars. (Well im the photographer provided by the studio lol) Everywhere we go, we are asked for photos. :)

We are like super stars. (Well im the photographer provided by the studio lol) Everywhere we go, we are asked for photos. 🙂

Who says Maiko can't take photo with peace???

Who says Maiko can’t take photo with peace???

Jinrikisha 人力車 (rickshaw) with American Maiko Stephanie!

Jinrikisha 人力車 (rickshaw) with American Maiko Stephanie!

American / Trinidadian Maiko with Jinrikisha :)

American / Trinidadian Maiko with Jinrikisha 🙂

Monika:" I want iPod!" Stephanie: "I want iPhone!" Mercedes:"I want iPad!" Shen:" i Die"

Monika:” I want iPod!”
Stephanie: “I want iPhone!”
Mercedes:”I want iPad!”
Shen:” i Die”

Behind the scene

3 hours, I never stopped taking photos and videos. Let me enjoy 1 photo with you guys. lol It was a very nice experience^^

3 hours, I never stopped taking photos and videos. Let me enjoy 1 photo with you guys. lol It was a very nice experience^^

Westerner Maikos security guards - Satoshi and Chihiro. Thanks for protecting our Maikos from the crowd lol

Westerner Maikos security guards – Satoshi and Chihiro. Thanks for protecting our Maikos from the crowd lol

Cute Japanese couple ^^

Cute Japanese couple ^^

That’s all for our Maiko Experience Trip. If you want to know more about the Maiko Experience in Kyoto, leave a comment or contact me on Facebook. 🙂 I will tell you everything I know such as how to make reservation and stuff. I will also upload the video of the Maiko experience so that you can enjoy more visually.

Any request in Japan? Let me know and I will go take photos and videos for you!

Shen Lim
A Chinese Malaysian, Blogger, Vlogger on YouTube, Tour Guide in Japan. He believes 1 day his videos can bring Japan and Malaysia together. マレーシア華人、ブロガー、YouTubeクリエイター、日本にいるツアーガイドです。いつか自分の動画は日本とマレーシアを繋げる架け橋になると信じています。 Read more ABOUT him.

This Post Has 3 Comments

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