I have always been a fan of geisha. As a teen, I’d lap up every geisha related book that had been translated into English. Back in the day, being a geisha wasn’t exactly the life of luxury and often girls would be sold by their families and live a life where they are forced into doing slave labour and prostitution. However, I love the tales of the strong women working through this life.
Towards the end of my stay in Japan, I made a small bucket list of things I wanted to do in Japan before I left. One of the things on my list was to go on one of these “geisha experience days” where you get dressed up like a geisha or maiko. The photo above is of me.
I went with a group of friends and while my girlfriend and I got ready, the two boys waited in the other room. The process of getting us two ready took a LONG time. Firstly, we had to choose which kimono we wanted to wear. Geisha are older and more experienced and tend to wear more simple kimono, whereas the younger maiko wear brighter kimono with loud patterns on them. We both chose to be maiko as the kimono suited us a lot more. It took me SO long to choose which one to wear but in the end I chose a red-ish one since it was Autumn.
Then we were sat down and had our makeup put and wigs put on. The Japanese staff kept asking us if the kimono were too heavy for us as they have so many layers and make it very hard to stand up straight in. But actually, it was the wig, with all its metal underneath, that was the most uncomfortable.
We each had a professional photo shoot then we walked up the hill to take our own photos outside. Walking in the shoes was super hard, especially going up hill. It was a gorgeous Autumn day and so our photos were really great. I’d love to show you more but all my others have my friends in and I wouldn’t like to put them on my blog without their permission.
You can expect to pay anything from 6000 yen to over 10,000 yen, and although the professional shoot was really nice, being dorks outside dressed as maiko with my friends was the part that was the most fun, so I would recommend paying the little extra to be able to walk around outside.
The studio we used was in Kyoto and on the way up to Kiyomizu-dera temple. I can’t remember the exact one we used but here are some links to some that may be there same, and of one in Gion that might be better because that’s the home of geisha.