1. Three Points to Distinguish between False Maiko and True Maiko!

Three Points to Distinguish between False Maiko and True Maiko!

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Nanaka Shirasawa

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


Three Points to Distinguish between False Maiko and True Maiko!


Hi everyone!

There are a lot of visitors to Kyoto misunderstanding that fake maiko are real maiko.

In fact, most of maiko you can find in the city at the day time are also visitors who are experiencing maiko’s makeup and costumes. Real maiko are rarely found around maiko/geiko districts.


Today, I’d like to talk about how you can distinguish between fake maiko and genuine maiko by three obvious features!





◼︎ What features should we look at?




| Hair wigs look similar to real hair

Firstly, fake maiko wear wigs instead of styling their own hair. If you find something doesn’t feel right with maiko’s hair, she probably is a fake maiko.
However, the quality of hair wigs has been getting better and better. Also, there is a back-side wig, which requires real hair only in front of the wig, so it might be hard to say whether it’s fake or not.


Makeover Maiko wearing a hair wig


Real Maiko styling own hair





| Not hold up a hem of kimono

Real maiko are holding up a hem of kimono when they walk around like the picture below.

On the other hand, fake maiko don’t do it since a hem is already tied up not to fall. It depends on maiko-makeover stores actually, so I cannot say that all of them don’t do it, but almost all of them, no.


←Makeover Maiko: NOT holding a hem of kimono                                                                                          Real Maiko: holding it→



| Talking with other maiko while walking

Maiko do not speak while they’re walking. Without any special reasons, they don’t talk to their co-workers.




| Walking slowly

Real maiko walk really fast. They don’t have much time between ozashiki, dinner rooms.
It means that they cannot have photos with travelers, or they arrive late for their work places.


Real Maiko walking quickly





If you see maiko around Kiyomizu Temple, they must be fake maiko. Real maiko never walk at the most crowded tourism spot.

When real maiko have a work at Kiyomizu Temple, they move by a taxi, not by foot.

Maiko take a taxi for a long distance from their house. Only within their district, they move by foot.



Real Maiko getting into a taxi


In other words, when you see maiko in a taxi, it’s 100% real one. Traveler maiko visit photo spots according to the dedicated plan.






◼︎Where to see real maiko then?

Maiko live in one of the five maiko districts.
Fake maiko are prohibited to enter into the five maiko districts.

Gion-kobu and Miyagawa-cho have a lot of maiko, as compared to other three.



Also, Ponto-cho is located where visitors can easily find at.



Around the areas, lots of photographers (should I say paparazzi?) are waiting for maiko getting out their house or restaurants.

If you would like to see a true maiko without spending money, you should visit those areas around 5PM to 7PM! You’ll probably see one of them…!?


I’ve seen real maiko at a street twice before by a coincidence and I’ve lived in Kyoto for 20 years, so. . . once ten years? So rare opportunity right?





◼︎ Maiko Makeover Stores


| Yume Kobo



Luxury, stylish, and extraordinary place where you can feel like visiting somewhere new. The interior is carefully selected by the owner and the studio is gorgeous.

You can experience to be maiko or oiran.

The style of makeup and kimono shows the mixture of modern and classic tastes.

You’ll have beautiful photos taken by professional photographers with high skills, so it’s guaranteed that you won’t be disappointed by the quality!

web : http://www.yumekoubou.info/english/




| YumeYakata



A famous kimono rental store where has been recommended by several public media before.

They also have a plan of maiko makeover experience. It provides guests with a photo shooting opportunity near the studio.

web : https://www.kyoto-maiko.yumeyakata.com








Author Profile

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