1. Use "Kyoto eAR" To Meet A Maiko Privately

Use "Kyoto eAR" To Meet A Maiko Privately

Kyoto tower with Maiko

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Kanae Nakahama

Lived in the States for ten years. Now living near a famous sightseeing area; Arashiyama, for more than 15 years. Watching people and feeling the culture in two countries made another point of view for me.

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Use “Kyoto eAR” To Meet A Maiko Privately

■ Want To Meet A Maiko?


Even if you wanted to meet a Maiko, isn’t it hard to find out where they are? In Kyoto, there are sections that are called Hanamachi were Maiko‘s usually are. However, there only few ways to meet a Maiko.

The first way is to see them when they are heading to the ochaya; their job place. Even though you saw them, it’s only a second to see them.

The second way is to go to events that Maiko’s hold. Such as “Kamogawa Odori”. This is a concert that Maiko hold few times in a year. However, you need to buy the expensive tickets and there are limits to the seats and the public performance.

The third way is to pay money and have a experience watching Maiko dance, chatting, and playing games with them. This is the easiest way to meet them. However, this is quite expensive.

Yet, it is too fast to give up meeting a Maiko. Today, I would like to introduce an application named, “Kyoto eAR”. This is an application you can meet and take pictures with them by sightseeing together privately at Kyoto station. Not just only that, you can see them dancing and serving tea to you.





■ Kyoto eAR


First of all, do you know what a “AR” is? This is the abbreviation for “Augmented Reality”. It is different from virtual reality, and seems hard to understand, but this is becoming quite common in our lives.

Pokemon Go is one type of AR. Even though there’s nothing in front of you in real life, by adding a digital information; such as using a camera application and GPS, it creates information; such as CG, that you can not see in real life but appears in the cell phone at real time.

Kyoto eAR is one kind of application that uses an AR system. This application is only available at Kyoto station. By using this application at specific places in Kyoto station, it creates a Maiko CG and looks like a Maiko is in front of you.

To use this application, you must download first, and allow the GPS and camera. It’s a free application that everybody can use. Therefore, you can sightsee Kyoto station and take pictures with Maiko privately.





■ Other Function In Kyoto eAR


Not just taking pictures with the Maiko, there are functions to take moving Maiko with you. By watching, it’s understandable to see how they bow, dance, serve tea, and the gesture of Maiko.






If you get tired of Maiko, there are other functions; such as selected gourmet and enjoying the panorama view of Kyoto station. This is a photo of the panorama from the application. These two function can be used even though you are not in Kyoto station. Watching how different it is in winter night with the huge beautiful illuminated Christmas tree, might make you think when to visit Kyoto is good.





■ Using The Kyoto eAR Application


Now, I would like to show how to use this application by demonstrating taking pictures with Kyoto station’s mascot characters. First, Touch the yellow section.






This will show out. Then push the middle button.






The AR will show up. Push it a few times to make the balance. If you satisfy with the balance, press the camera icon.






Isn’t it easy? Now, let’s try it by walking around Kyoto Station.





■ Traveling Around Kyoto Station


As you can see, in some sections there are limits. You have to go there to take the photos or movies.






Starting from the central gate, I was still not used to it so the balance of the Maiko was hard to adjust.






Moving to the stairs, I tried like a Maiko was searving tea.






If you get used to it, it’s easy to make actions like you are really with them. Such as this photo; acting like the arms were around the Maiko shoulders.






At Christmas, a big Chrisrmus tree appears at this stage.






If you go all up the stairs, there is a zone called “Happy Terrace”. Lots of people were taking a break at there.






After taking a few pictures, I got used to adjust the size of the Maiko. It needs a little practice. Maiko match nature very well!






There were beautiful flowers, and could also enjoy the scenery of Kyoto city too.






Now moving down the stairs to the 10th floor, there is a place you can enjoy different types of Ramen (noodles) all over Japan.






There is an entrance to go to sky way. The view is fantastic from the sky gate.






This is a photo of a Geisha. Not just Maiko, you can choose a Geisha too. There are options that you can choice at only here.






There are lots of points to enjoy watching Kyoto Tower. It seamed like a good date spot too.





■ Merit And Demerit Of Using The Application


As you can see, the CG is very real. It looks like if I was really sightseeing with a Maiko and Gisha privately. It is unnecessary to pay to watch and feel how a Maiko is like was the most merit I felt. Even living in Kyoto, there is no chance to take tons of pictures with them for free. In Kyoto station, there were lots of wifi that visitors can use, so there was no need to worry about downloading the application and about the GPS too.

However, there were some demerits too. That is the amount of consumption of battery was so fast. There are plugs that people can use in Kyoto station. If you are worried, you can charge it at there or maybe bringing a spare of battery might be better. This application is still developing, so I would like to see how it changes.





■ In The End


At Kyoto station, the main entrance was noisy. However, there were lots of places that was quite to take a rest, and even feel the nature. There were places I could find that was not known by many people.

Above all, it was fun to take pictures with them and enjoying the view of Kyoto station. I even felt like I was having a special private trip. If you have a chance to go to Kyoto station, try this application. It’s a free application, but more than anything else you can make a precious recollection that you can’t buy.





■ Map & Reference



A link to Kyoto Ear