Two maiko wearing black kimono



The first of August is a very special day in Kyoto’s Gion district.  Named after a term which designates the first day of the eighth month of the ancient Japanese calendar, Gion’s Hassaku is a special opportunity to see many of the “Geiko” (a local term in Kyoto for geisha) and “Maiko” from Japan’s most renowned “Hanamachi” or geisha district.


Photographers waiting for the arrival of the maiko
A maiko passes in front of the photographers




We arrived a bit before 10, and it was already crowded. I mean, the main street, Hanamikouji, was packed with photographers. Many of them have been there for quite a while, seated, waiting. The day was particularly hot and humid.  And nothing was happening.

140801_Kyoto-Hassaku-Gion-812416-2140801_Kyoto-Hassaku-Gion-812382We moved around, went to another location. In front of a famous teahouse (ochaya) more photographers were waiting. Back on the main street, we could see some maikos driving by in taxi, but none yet walking around. Then, a couple of them, wearing a gorgeous kimono arrived and walked by.  All the photographers jumped and pushed each other to take pictures.


Two maiko entering a chaya (teahouse)

Two maiko passes in the front of the photographers


A geiko (geisha) walks around with her “team”


With this heat, I wonder how the maiko, covered with thick make-up and wearing such heavy kimono, do it. Impressive.  The scene repeated itself a couple of times — as soon as a maiko arrived, photographers forgetting any manner and only thinking about their picture, pushed each other. This somehow annoyed me very much. We just left.

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