1. I tried going to watch ” Miyako-Odori”! -What is “Kyo of Five Hanamichi”?-

I tried going to watch ” Miyako-Odori”! -What is “Kyo of Five Hanamichi”?-

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Nanaka Shirasawa

It’ve been 20 years to live in Kyoto. No place to I possibly can live except Kyoto.


I tried going to watch ” Miyako-Odori”!


Recently, I went to see Miyako-odori on the last day of the show. There were a lot of charm and excitement, even though I already watched ” Kyo-Odori(京おどり) ” but I really enjoyed Miyako-odori!





◼︎What is the difference between ” Kyo-Odori ” and ” Miyako-Odori “?

In April of Kyoto, Maiko is busy with the season of dancing.

Although I did not even understand at the beginning, I learned that there is a culture called ” 花街-Hanamichi ” while doing this service.

Even though I live in Kyoto, I don’t know about its culture, so I think it is very interesting to know from foreigners who are unfamiliar with it.
Geisha which is in Japan basically exists in the town called ” Hanamichi ” in any region.
In addition to Kyoto, the geisha can also be seen in Tokyo and Osaka existing in the Hanamichi of each area.
The Hanamichi in Kyoto is called “Kyo of Five Hanamichi (京の五花街) ” and is divided into five parts.

※ There are five areas: “Gion Koubu(祇園甲部)”, “Miyagawa cho(宮川町) ” “Ponto cho(先斗町) “, “Kamisichi ken(上七軒)” and “Gion higashi(祇園東) “.


In this way, the name of the Hanamichi is divided for each area, and each school street has a dance, a school of practice, and a tradition.
There is something like Maiko ‘s house called “Ochaya(お茶屋) ” in this Hanamichi, and the system that each Maiko is working for each teahouse.




◼︎The difference among five Hanamichi




|祇園甲部 -Gion koubu-

The biggest Hanamichi in Kyoto, Gion Koubu.

The reason why it is called the biggest is the number of Maiko and Geiko.It is the most luxurious and famous Hanamichi. In order to be a Maiko here, basically an introducer is needed. Training is also very strict compared to other Hanamichi, and it has a good reputation because of their polite maiko with entertaining performances.
The elegant cityscape in which the appearance of the tea house architecture of the Edo period remains still forms a distinctive emotion.
What I watched this time is the act called ” Miyako-odori ” sponsored by Gion Koubu


official website :  http://www.miyako-odori.jp







| 宮川町 -Miyagawa cho-

Calm street is beautiful and located in the eastern part of Kamogawa Hanamichi from Shijo-dori to Gojo-dori.

Kabuki performance of “Ijumono Okuni(出雲阿国)” was held in the Edo period, and it has been developed as a play town and a teahouse town till the present.

Hanamichi has a large number of Maiko, as many as the Gion Kobu. It used to be Miyagawa cho the red-light district. The Maiko in Hanamichi are not too proud, like those in Gion, but Miyagawa cho Hanamichi Maiko are friendly and equally beautiful.
There are many young Maiko(s), and in our ” Enchanted time with Maiko ” service, we often pick up Maiko from the Miyagawa cho. Everyone Maiko is really cute.


official website : http://www.miyagawacho.jp





| 先斗町 -Ponto cho-

Between Kamogawa and Kiyacho, the Hanamichi on the street extended from Sanjo to Shijo.

Kyoto ‘s luxurious cuisine restaurant is on a narrow alley and it is a very atmospheric street.In the summer you can have a refreshing floor, so you can enjoy your meal in a cozy atmosphere while watching the Kamogawa.
Since Kamogawa is located nearby, the Maiko dance is called “Kamogawa-Odori.


official website : http://www.kamogawa-odori.com






| 上七軒 -Kamishichiken-

It is said that Kamishichiken began with the building of seven tea shops that served as resting places for worshipers going to Kitano Tenmangū shrine when it was rebuilt in the Muromachi period.  In contrast to other Hanamichi pleasure quarters, it is located in the somewhat distant northern region and has a distinctive character.

Kamisichi ken is located near Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine and the oldest place of history that became a shogunate-approved Hanamichi in the Muromachi era. However, the number of teahouses has recently decreased and there are only about ten Maiko now.
The Maiko dance in the spring are called “Kitano Odori.” (北野をどり).”


official website : http://www.maiko3.com






| 祇園東 -Gion higashi-
Like Gion Kōbu, Gion Higashi is a district that was developed in relation to Yasaka Shrine,and is a Hanamichi pleasure quarter that has flourished since the Edo period.  In Meiji 14(1881), with redistricting, the northern area of Gion Kōbu became “Gion Higashi.”

There are still a few Geiko and Maiko.Public performances of “Gion-Odori” take place not in the spring, but in the autumn.


official website : http://www.gionhigashi.com




In April, a dance celebration will be held in each region at once,
The “Kyo-Odori” I watched last time was a performance organized by Miyagawa cho.

This time I watched “Miyako-Odori” is a performance organized by Gion Koubu. Even for the same Maiko dance, when the Hanamichi changes Maiko’s mood also changed, so I enjoyed watching the same dance performances.





◼︎Miyako odori’s tea room

As with Kyo-Odori, tea ceremony will start. While waiting for the Stage, We will have a tea and sweets made by Maiko and Geiko. The taste of the Matcha was deep and tasty.

You can have a bowl containing cookies as souvenirs. It is very cute in a variety of colors that connect a circle(I think it should be “there is a picture of circles of various colors connected by a stick on the bowl”)! I think I will bring it back home and use it (lol).






◼︎Impression of dancing

*As with Kyo-Odori, this picture is used as an image of an official website, and photography is forbidden in the hall.
They made a story of Kyoto about four seasons, land and anecdotes. The story like “Kyo-Odori” was not easy for beginners to understand, but thanks to the voice guide (English version available) I was able to focus watching the show while understanding properly as well.
All the Maiko in the same costume appeared, and the dancing part was the best. Also, unlike ‘ Kyo-Odori’, Maiko has more enjoyable point because it is more exciting.
Although it is my personal opinion, metaphorically, if “Kyo-Odori” is pop, “Miyako-Odori” is a classic feeling that respects tradition and looks more formal.
But both performances show that they were beautiful.


Here you can see the video of Maiko on the official website. You can feel the atmosphere too.
Even looking at the Video is a beautiful thing, if you see it real, it is more awesome!!!


Kyo-Odori official HP:http://www.miyako-odori.jp
Kyo-Odori official Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/miyako.odori/
Kyo-Odori official Twitter:https://twitter.com/miyako_odori


If you couldn’t come this year, please come next year and fell traditional beauty of Keiko and Maiko!
And after the concert, why not enjoying “Enchanted time with Maiko” with us?
Would you like to enjoy the traditional art of Maiko and Geiko more visually and intuitively?


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Nanaka Shirasawa
Nanaka Shirasawa
It’ve been 20 years to live in Kyoto.
No place to I possibly can live except Kyoto.