1. The best geisha tour in Kyoto

The best geisha tour in Kyoto

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Kishirou Kase

I live in Kyoto close to Nijo-jo castle. The more I was exposed to foreign culture, the more I realized how fascinating Kyoto is. I love very much to introduce Kyoto culture for foreign tourists. That's why I am writing the article here, and I'd like to make your trip much more enjoyable!

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Are you looking for an ultimate experience of meeting a geisha in Kyoto?
We guess that you’ve started looking for something typically from Kyoto, you may also be desperate to meet a geisha. Meeting geisha is not easy, even for Japanese locals, because of what’s called the Ichigensan Okotowari tradition, but also because meeting a geisha is very expensive. You may already be finding it difficult, but don’t worry, we are Kyoto residents and know the best ways.

For instance, joining a “geisha tour in Kyoto”, especially one held at a high-end Japanese restaurant in Gion, a geisha district to make your dream come true.

So how to find the tour?
Let us explain the details of the geisha tour in Kyoto for tourists. It includes information about the cost, the application and more. We can suggest an affordable geisha tour, hoping our readers will find helpful information for their stay.

Why you should take the geisha tour in Kyoto?

Well, it is because Kyoto is the heart of Japan’s geisha culture.
According to the Kyoto Traditional Musical Art Foundation, there are more than 180 geiko (actually geisha are referred to as “geiko” in Kyoto) and 132 Ochaya (teahouse used for entertainment by geisha) in Kyoto.

But to meet geisha is not easy, so, let us tell you the reason why. There is a tradition called “Ichigensan Okotowari”, where the first time customers are refused entry unless the person has been invited by another regular customer. The tradition makes geisha even more mysterious and unique.

So it is clear that it’s very difficult for foreign tourists, who don’t know any regular customers of Ocha-ya, to meet geisha, even if you are in Kyoto. You might see geisha on Hanamikoji Street though if you are lucky.

Then what you can do? The answer is to join a geisha tour in Kyoto which is the best way for foreign tourists because there are some tours in Kyoto – and it is not difficult to join – but you will meet a real geisha.
Therefore we recommend that you take the geisha tour in Kyoto where the heart of Japan’s geisha culture is easily accessible.

What actually geisha is?

Geisha are female Japanese entertainers who have professional skills such as playing classical Japanese music, traditional dance, and conversation for her male customers.

Geisha exist in Kamishichiken, Gion Kobu, Gion Higashi, Ponto-Cho and Miyagawa-cho which collectively are known as “Gokagai” in Kyoto, and they live at Okiya, which is a boarding house.

What’s the difference between geisha and maiko? It’s very simple, maiko becomes geisha. Geisha are professional entertainers and maiko are young apprentice geisha.
Hope that clears up the difference!

Now, we’re going to explain about the geisha tour in Kyoto.

How much is it to join the geisha tour in Kyoto?


Normally, if you want to meet a geisha in private, it would be costing around the US $900 per night for two. You won’t be able to arrange it yourself, and it’ll need to be done in Japanese. There is no fixed price and you can not actually negotiate to reduce the price.

But don’t worry, we can introduce you to some affordable geisha tours in Kyoto!

<Enchanted Time with Maiko>

-Price: 19,000 yen/person
-Include: Japanese cuisine, drinks (alcohol and non-alcohol)
-Place: Yasaka-Dori Enraku in Gion
-One English interpreter and two English speaking staff

The reasons why we recommend “Enchanted Time with Maiko” services are:
1. Very clear price
2. The service includes very beautiful Japanese cuisine
3. Complete English support

<Gion Hatanaka>

-Price: 19,000 yen/person
-Service with some geisha
-English interpreter
-The atmosphere of a Japanese inn
-No entry for children of 7 years old or under

<Gion Tomikiku>

-Price: no fixed price (depends on time)
-Experience the real Ozashiki play as the tour is held at an Ochaya.

What is included in the geisha tour in Kyoto?

Let’s find out what you get in the geisha tour in Kyoto.


<Enchanted Time with Maiko>

-Price: 19,000yen
Special price: 13,000yen in December 2018, January and February 2019 (online booking only)
-Some groups in the tour
-When: from 6 pm, every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday
-Place: Yasaka-Dori Enraku in Gion

-One English interpreter and two English speaking staff

-Food: Kyoto style, Japanese multi-course cuisine

-Spending some memorable time with a Maiko
As you are aware how difficult to meet a geisha for both Japanese and non-Japanese people – because of Ichigensan Okotowari tradition – it is a fantastic opportunity to see Maiko in stunning kimono, who’ll sit down just next to you, treat you impeccably with her Omotenashi hospitality, and gently smile whilst conversing politely. She’ll also pour your drinks, and it’s set in a traditional Japanese tatami room in Gion.

-Japanese traditional dance performance
Maiko trains very hard in many Japanese skills daily, and one of them is the traditional dance which you will watch happen just in front of you.

-Experiencing Ozashiki games with a Maiko
One of tradition is that the customer plays some “Ozashiki Asobi” games with a Maiko which you’ll experience in the tour. The games are so simple, so everyone, including children, can enjoy. The Maiko will teach you how to play so don’t worry!

-Photo shooting with a Maiko
After spending time having fun and enjoying many experiences, it’s a shame to go.
But there is one last thing to do, and that is taking memorable pictures with the Maiko. Also, some pictures are taken by the staff and you’ll be given them after the tour.

As you can see, lots will be happening when you join “Enchanted Time with Maiko”, and it’s very reasonable.

Would you like to know how to apply?

How to apply to the geisha tour in Kyoto?


You can apply yourself online in English without any stress.
Apply online at https://www.travel-kyoto-maiko.info/book-online

Here are the steps to apply:
1. Go to “Book now”

2. Select the date

3. Fill in your details

4. Fill in your credit card details
5. Proceed to checkout

6. Done!
Now you can look forward to joining the tour without any additional costs!


Have you found this article helpful in making your dream to meet geisha in Kyoto come true?


Even under the traditional difficulties of meeting a geisha, there is one way to make it happen – by joining the geisha tour in Kyoto.

Very clear pricing, with delicious Japanese cuisine and some unforgettable time with a geisha, the whole package is waiting just for you.
You can be 100% sure that it is going to be an unforgettable experience for you.

Thank you for reading!