Top 4 Maiko Experiences in Kyoto: Choose According to Your Wishes
One special thing about Kyoto has to be their maiko, and there are certainly many of you who are hoping to experience being a maiko when you go to Kyoto. However, there are so many places where you can do the ‘maiko experience’. This is a special opportunity so we’ve put together tips on picking the right place to fit your objective so you can get the most out of your trip. Read on to learn more.
Things to Check Before Your Maiko Experience
If you don’t know what a maiko is, read this article first: Overview on the Differences Between a Kyoto Maiko and Geiko
1. Do they have a professional photographer?
It may come as a surprise, but some places don’t have a professional photographer. There’s a big difference between pictures taken by amateurs and pictures taken by professionals so you need to check first. Also, with a professional you can get help with posing and how to look even more beautiful.
2. Go full wig (zen-katsura)? Or have your own hair styled / half wig (han-katsura)?
Since real maiko use their own hair to make the up-do, you’ll get a more authentic transformation by choosing to have your own hair styled or the half wig option. However, once your hairdo is finished your hair will be left feeling sticky afterwards from any styling products. Be sure to pick the best option that will go well with your Kyoto tourism plans after your maiko experience.
3. Are they located in an easily accessible place for tourism?
The maiko experience easily takes 2-3 hours with changing into the kimono, make-up, photography and stroll. In order to smoothly transition from that to sightseeing in Kyoto, we recommend picking a place that’s around Kyoto Station or Gion.
What’s special: Beautiful pictures taken by professional photographers
They have the trustworthiness and experience of an industry leader. Also, their photography methods really stand out and they’ll touch-up your photos too, which will leave you with probably the best photo out there.
You can’t see a single line or wrinkle. Even older ladies can return to their younger years! Their main branch is outside Kyoto Station, making the location great too. Information: Map
What’s special: Abundance of packages for men. Recommended for couples.
And what makes them special is they offer a complete package for men. They have options from “wakadanna” (young gentleman), samurai or “shinsengumi” (shogun police officer) and if you add a maiko then your couple pictures will be complete. Another good thing is that they offer an inexpensive “okigaru plan”. Information: Map
Kokoro -Hana Shizuku-
What’s special: They’re famous for their “oiran (courtesan)” experience. They have many colorful kimonos and are quite popular with young people.
Calling everyone who wants to really stand out! This Kokoro isn’t famous just for maiko but also for their oiran experience. They regularly get new kimono in so they have a huge number of pink, light blue, green, purple and other modern colorful kimono.
Ooh, sexy! Unlike the Yume Koubou where they’ll bring back your youth by erasing your lines and wrinkles, here they’ll help bring out an alluring maturity. Information: Map
What’s special: An authentic studio for becoming a maiko.
The store uses a real tea shop that was actually used in the Taisho period (1912-1926). The photographs taken in their tatami room have an authenticity to them that you can’t get from a regular photography studio. You’ll be a genuine maiko!
The make-up they use is also authentic and what maiko actually use. It costs a little bit more than the others but there’s no doubt you’ll be completely satisfied with it. Gion AYA has photos taken by a professional photographer and also does touch-ups, just like Yume Koubou. Information: Map
Was this helpful? We hope you’ll choose one based on how you’d like your maiko self to look. And then come and get a great memory with a great photo!