Dinner with a maiko (apprentice geisha)

Geisha are one of the quintessential icons of Japan, perhaps because they are culturally unique, and because the distinctive make-up of their apprentices - known as maiko - is so striking and memorable. A few hundred geisha still practise, entertaining wealthy clients with traditional music, dance, and storytelling. During this experience you will be served a traditional multi-course Japanese feast while a maiko in authentic dress performs historic dances, after which you will have the chance to talk with her about her career and the world of geisha.

Location: restaurant in Gion district, Kyoto
Duration: half a day
Cost: £   
Accommodation: your choice of Kyoto accommodation

What to expect during dinner with a maiko...

Your experience will commence with a relaxed walking tour of Gion, Kyoto’s most famous geisha district, and attractively old fashioned with its streets of well-preserved wooden merchant houses.

Starting at Minami-za, the foremost kabuki theatre in the city, you will wander past shops, restaurants, a traditional dance theatre, and the lavish teahouses where geisha would perform and undertake the elaborate ritual tea ceremonies that are also closely associated with traditional Japanese culture.

Having paid your respects at Gion’s 1,400 year old Shinto shrine, dedicated to the god of summer and his wife, you’ll wind through the little streets to your restaurant in time for your meal.

Kaiseki ryori is a traditional form of Japanese haute cuisine that consists of many courses, many of which are prepared using just one skill prized within Japanese cooking - for example, pickling or sashimi. Depending on where you are in Japan, the courses will showcase different local produce and specialities.

During this extensive feast, the maiko will perform historic dances, and possibly invite you to join in some traditional drinking games, so make sure you tuck in to soak up the sake! You will also get the opportunity to chat with this apprentice to what is an increasingly rarified world, to find out more about her chosen career, the world of the geisha, and life in Gion and Kyoto.

We say...

'An exquisite and uniquely Japanese combination of fine dining and expert artistry."

Important to note...

Please inform your guide of any dietary requirements.

Dinner with a maiko (apprentice geisha)