See Ancient Japanese Arts and Geisha on Stage


In the famous Kyoto district known as Gion, you will find a theatrical stage show of the Japanese performing arts. Gion was originally developed in the Middle Ages (!) and eventually became one of the most exclusive and well-known geisha districts in all of Japan. After your day of strolling through the shrines, peeking into shops and sampling colorful sweets, I highly recommend an evening show at the Gion Corner. I’ve been thinking about how this effected me… the simplicity and patience in Japanese artistry is probably the most valuable thing I left with. If they have anything to teach us, it could certainly be balance. And patience. And dedication…. That was my Mister Miyagi moment, right there. Here is what you will experience at Gion Corner show:

• Elegant dance by geisha
• Art of flower arranging
• Tea ceremony
• Music played on a thirteen-stringed koto instrument
• Classical music and dance introduced to Japan in the 8th century
• Comical theater   (which is hilarious)
• Puppet theater play

While it was created specifically for visitors, this show may be the only place where you can see multiple examples of traditional Japanese performing arts all in one place. It was a great show and I even participated in the ancient tea ceremony. It runs about one hour long and ticket prices average ¥2700 or $27 (varies depending on the season). No reservations are needed but check their website for the current schedule.

After the show you get a chance to meet the apprentice geisha, take a photo with them and browse their exhibit with elaborate geisha costumes, accessories and hair pieces on display. Other similarly themed art and novelty items are for sale, one of which I should have bought and didn’t! (photo at the end of this post.)

gagaku masked performer kyoto kyomai kyoto dance by geisha and maiko sitting kyomai kyoto dance by geisha and maiko kyomai kyoto dance by geisha

Handmade cards with layers of colorful, golden accented papers. So delicate! I should have bought it...

Handmade cards with layers of colorful, golden accented papers. So delicate! I should have bought them…

This video, though narrated in Japanese, gives you a glimpse of the show:

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suzetteHoly crap, you found me. That’s fantastic. I’m Suzette and I’m so glad you’re here! I’ve built a successful career as a travel photographer where I have the opportunity to work from anywhere in the world, and run this blog where I share inspiration for YOUR travel photography. This website is specifically for those of us who love to wander with our cameras. We take it slow. We are curious. We love nature and the outdoors. Most of all, we love taking great photographs.

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