If you ever plan on making a trip to Kyoto and have interest in geisha culture, there’s no better place to stop by than Gion. It is noted as Kyoto’s most famous geisha district and not only will you find geisha culture plentiful, but cuisine, shops, and entertainment all around as well.Gion District (祇園) was originally developed in the middle ages and was built around the Yasaka shrine. The intentions of Gion district were mainly for the purpose of accompanying travelers and visitors who came to see the shrine itself. Over time the area expanded and grew into much more, which now boasts shops, restaurants, teahouses, art, and many forms of geisha entertainment.
Many of the locals now come to Gion for its exclusive teahouses and private performances. These performances usually consist of geisha or geiko (geisha in training) that play traditional music, dance, serve tea, and even traditional games whilst you eat. Some of these larger performance buildings are offered to anyone who pays, but the smaller performances are usually exclusive and are difficult to enter unless accompanied by a regular or local. Whether not you decide to watch a geisha performance, you’ll likely see them walking along the streets amongst the beautiful scenery throughout Gion.
The greatest thing about Gion district is probably the beautiful mix of modern and historical culture. Besides the wooden structures and traditional value of Gion, there’s also several other venues throughout. Everything from bars, eateries, shops, clubs, and even pachinko can be found. Gion also offers some entertainment for foreigners, such as Shijo street. On Shijo you will likely find more touristy-friendly areas and clubs filled with travelers like yourself. In other words, if you’re lost, you’re best bet may be to check out the clubs along Shijo street. Along Shijo you may also find some great shopping areas that have food, crafts, souvenirs, clothes, and other merchandise.If you’re into flowers or the more natural spectrum of things, you’ll also love Hanami lane. This stretch of road showcases a more quite and traditional area in which you can relax and observe the trees and flowers while walking down the street.
Gion is also the host of many events and traditional festivals, such as Gion Matsuri, one of the biggest festivals throughout Japan. This particular festival takes place over the month of July delivers years of Japanese history through floats and parade style celebrations.
All in all, if you’re headed to Kyoto, stop by Gion district for a good dose of entertainment and catching a glimpse into the life of a geisha.Article reproduced from JapanRealmhttp://www.japanrealm.com/places-interest-gion/