Discovering the Geisha: Japan’s misunderstood hidden world

When it comes to traditional Japanese culture, few things are as globally-misunderstood as the art of the ‘Geisha’ – beautiful women with flawless hairstyles, intricately-detailed silk kimonos and faces coated in thick white makeup. 

While the western media and pop culture have built a reputation for Geisha as expensive, high-class escorts living a glamorous yet lonely lifestyle, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Even today, women across Japan dream of studying as Geisha, and the negative perception that remains abroad has nothing to do with the true lives they live. 

Source: ©photoAC

Who are Geisha?

Geisha (also known as Geino or Geigi depending on region) are highly-skilled entertainers, trained in a range of arts including dance, musical performance, tea ceremony and even political conversation. 

Typically spending around give years training as ‘Maiko’ apprentices, Geisha are incredibly accomplished women and are unrivaled in their ability to entertain guests and customers, regardless of the situation. 

Source: ©photoAC

How can I see a Geisha? 

The world of the Geisha is highly exclusive, with potential clients requiring a good reference from someone already on the entertainer’s contact list.  For most Japanese people and tourists, a fleeting glance in the street of Kyoto’s Gion district is the closest that they will ever get to meeting a Geisha. Unfortunately, this rarity has inspired many people to chase the Geisha as they move from one location to another, taking intrusive photographs and even attempting to touch or hold them. 

As a result, taking pictures of these ornate entertainers is now forbidden in many of Kyoto’s streets, and attempting to obstruct or touch them as they walk could result in police involvement. 

What Heartland JAPAN can offer

We understand that for visitors with a true and respectful interest in authentic Japanese culture, meeting one of these beautiful women is a dream come true. That’s why Heartland JAPAN works with local companies to arrange Geisha entertainment for our clients, providing a truly rare and unforgettable experience to make a trip extra special. 

Private entertainment can be quite expensive for groups of less than six people, so for solo travellers, couples and small groups, we also offer the opportunity to join other guests for a lower-cost experience. 

If you’d be interested in meeting a Geisha during your time in Japan, simply get in touch and let Heartland JAPAN design a unique, unforgettable trip just for you. 

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