Monday, 29 February 2016

Miyako Dori and Issen Yosyoku, Gion, Kyoto

Spring is fast approaching, in most parts of the world anyway. 
Springtime I reckon is the best time to visit Japan when cherry blossoms or sakura are in full bloom
(late March to mid April) and weather is more favourable.
Our visit to Kyoto coincided with Miyako Odori (Cherry Blossom Dances) 
which is held every April. 
It is one of the biggest and most spectacular Geisha events in Japan.
 The show features a large number of maiko and geiko in their brightly coloured kimono.
There's plenty of dancing, role playing and live traditional music.
It was quite a spectacle to watch and absolutely amazing even though everything was in Japanese.
We were seated towards the back but as the theatre is quite small that was fine.
Take note that taking photos is strictly prohibited during the performances. 
If you are visiting Kyoto at this time, don't miss out on this. 

I highly suggest you purchase your tickets well in advance as they often sell out pretty fast.
 You can buy it here.

What is a Geisha, Geiko and Maiko?

Some people believe geisha are prostitutes, this is not true.
 Geisha, which means "person of art" is a woman highly trained in Japanese arts.
She spends many years learning different skills like playing classical Japanese music, dancing and poetry.
In Tokyo these women are called Geisha and in Kyoto they are called Geiko.
A Maiko (literally means dancing child), on the other hand is a Geiko's apprentice
and in Kyoto they are called Hangyoku.

How can you tell the difference? 

Hair: Geisha wears a wig. Maiko do not wear wigs.
Age: Maiko is younger than Geisha.
Shoes: Maiko wears high wooden sandals while Geiko wears lower sandals.
Kimono: Maiko wears colorful kimono with long sleeves while Geiko wears less colourful kimono with shorter sleeves.

Most importantly, if you spot a geisha please treat them with respect. 
Do not mob them to take photos. They will not stop for photographs.

Formerly the imperial capital of Japan, Kyoto is an absolute gorgeous city. 
This historical city filled with many temples, old paved roads, traditional shops and century-old buildings 
no doubt invokes a feeling of the ancient times.
In the heart of Kyoto lies Gion, the city's most famous entertainment district.

Gion is where you can find this popular eatery that serves only one dish- 
issen yoshoku, a Kyoto-style okonomiyaki which is also the name of the eatery.
This eatery is not hard to find as you can see, the entrance is marked by a dog 
pulling the boy's pants down. 

In Japan, you will find plenty of unique rubber stamps in nearly all tourist attractions, 
train stations and some cool shops and restaurants like this. 
So the next time you visit Japan don't forget to bring your notepads 
and be ready to partake the great Japanese Stamp Rally!
Gotta collect 'em all!

It is quite popular among the locals and tourists.

This Kyoto-style okonomiyaki includes egg, ginger, spring onions, 
 meat, seafood, sauce and nori.
It tasted delicious and I especially love the sauce. 

They have quite a few mannequins seated inside, they look a bit creepy though.

List of Restaurants and Markets in Japan. Click here
More on Kyoto's Sights. Click here
Osaka Sights. Click here
Tokyo Sights. Click here

Miyako Odori
570-2 Gion-machi Minamigawa, Higashiyama-ku,
Kyoto 605-0074 Japan
Tel 81-75-541-3391
Fax 81-75-525-3105

Issen Yosyoku
 238 Giommachi Kitagawa, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto 605-0073 , Kyoto

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