Kyoto | The day I turned into a Geisha

Kyoto | The day I turned into a Geisha

If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know that I love donning traditional costumes when traveling. I like to become another person for a few hours and play the game as if I were a local. It’s also a way to meet the locals, chat with them and discover a new culture and way of life.


It’s Kyotoand especially in the traditional district of Gion that I found a house offering this type of transformation. Geishas, whose name comes from gei which means art and sha which means personne are refined women of excellent company, reserved for a very wealthy clientele. The geisha’s culture enables her to host a dinner party for several guests. Maikos are young geisha apprentices who accompany and assist the geishas at tea houses, receptions and banquets, learning to wear the kimono, the art of conversation and entertaining.

The Maikos are dressed in a handmade silk kimono in a variety of patterns, with a sort of cushion hanging from the back, sandals or high wooden clogs for rainy days. They’re easily recognizable, as they wear a black headdress with a high bun into which they hang one or more pieces of jewelry.
Make-up is sophisticated, with a white paste spread over the face (a sign of distinction), red lipstick on the heart-shaped mouth and eyes pencilled in with a pink brush. It’s usually in Maiko that we choose to be transformed as the geisha is slightly more sober in her outfit and hairstyle.





They are still regarded today as models of elegance, taste and refinement, and are trained from childhood in traditional artistic disciplines such as singing, music, dance, poetry, tea-making and flower arranging. Once thought of as high-ranking courtesans or prostitutes, today’s geishas are voluntary, starting at the age of 15. However, there are fewer and fewer of them, but a national school in Kyoto is dedicated to them: the Gion Corner. In Kyoto, the « geishas » are called « geiko ». In this space, you’ll be able to see a variety of shows that are part of Japanese culture: Kyo-mai dance performed by geikos and maikos, the tea ceremony, floral art, Koto, gagaku court music, Kyogen theater and bunraku puppet theater.

I wanted to live this atypical experience in an authentic Japanese home. So I chose Maiko Makeover Experience Aya to experience this unique transformation for 2h30, and I really got into it. The AYA studio was once an authentic teahouse during the Taisho period, an establishment where Maikos performed. As soon as you step inside, you’re transported back to old Kyoto by its small gardens and decor.. The young make-up artists who prepare you are highly professional, and nothing is left to chance from start to finish. Several workshops are planned, starting with make-up, followed by hair styling, traditional dress and a photo shoot. If you’re a blonde, light brown or redhead, no problem! You’ll all be wearing wigs, and your front locks will be tinted with black hairspray. When I tell you that everything is planned! Once this experience is over, they hand out all the products you need to remove make-up and cleanse your skin and hair in the bathroom.







Vous pouvez également vivre cette expérience à deux. En effet votre chéri peut revêtir le kimono homme et poser avec vous en photo. Par contre votre chéri ne pourra pas assister à la transformation car le studio maquillage est un endroit est réservé exclusivement aux femmes.


Prices vary according to the services chosen, but payment is accepted in yen and by Visa, Mastercard or Amex.

The price is 20,520 yen (€156 including taxes for 2 people) and includes:

  • Maiko or Geisha make-up and clothing
  • men’s Kimono
  • 2 photos of you as a Maiko or Geisha
  • 2 photos of you as a Maiko or Geisha with your man
  • 4 large portraits with original image covers
  • CD with all photos burned
  • 10 minutes of free time for your own photos




TEL +81-75-532-6666 (Open daily)

Subway station: Higashiyama station


It’s essential to reserve your place before you leave for Japan, because once you’re there it’ll be too late. It’s a popular spot for Japanese and foreign tourists alike. The experience was really great, and I have wonderful memories of it, as I became Maiko for half a day. Thanks to Akkiko for this incredible moment.



Before you leave, I invite you to read all our other articles on Japan to help you prepare for your trip:



Please note that as an accredited bespoke travel designer, I offer to accompany you in the creation of your tailor-made trip to Japan and create a personalized itinerary tailored to your needs. Please send me an email at :







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