Brief Outline of Gion Corner
If you don’t have the budget to see Kyoto‘s geisha in action in an actual tea house, Gion Corner in the Gion district is a must-visit on your trip to Kyoto to get a great overview of traditional Japanese performing arts. In a show that lasts a little under one hour, you will see actual maiko (apprentice geisha) and geiko (in Kyoto geisha are called geiko) perform on stage. This show is especially popular with foreign tourists because you get to see seven Japanese traditional arts within one hour.
You can also visit the Maiko Gallery, where videos of dances, hair decorations used by maiko dancers, and other items are displayed.
Here is an overview of the seven arts you can see during the show.
Originally from Kyoto, the kyo-mai dance is an elegant dance performed by dancers maiko and geiko with a beautifully decorated dress.
The tea ceremony is a choreographed tradition of making and serving tea to your guests, in which every little movement counts. At Gion Corner, the ryurei style of the tea ceremony is performed where participants sit on stools. This style is specially chosen for visitors from foreign countries who are not accustomed to kneeling on tatami mats.
Ikebana Floral Arrangement
Ikebana is the art of the arrangement of flowers and other materials. It is about creativity and enjoyment with sometimes minimal material and simple but beautiful arrangements.
The koto is an old Japanese thirteen-string instrument that is played with ivory plectrums on the fingers, producing wonderful harmonies with the lightness of butterflies and strength of thunder.
Gagaku Court Music
Gagaku is the name of the Japanese indigenous music and dance performed in the imperial court, shrines, and temples. Here you can enjoy maigaku performances accompanied by dancing.
Kyogen is a form of theater that portrays life as it was in a comic way.
Bunraku Puppet Theater
Bunraku, the traditional puppet theater in Japan, was included in the UNESCO list of masterpieces of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity in 2003.
Learning about Kyoto’s ancient traditional culture is one of the highlights of many visitors’ trips to Japan. Gion Corner is one of the places where you can learn more about this old culture, and it is especially recommended for first-time visitors or people who like an efficient introduction to some of Japan’s most important cultural heritage.
From Gion-Shijo (Keihan Line) Station or Gion bus stop
Adult 3,150 yen, student (16-22) 2,200 yen, children (7-15) 1,900 yen
1st stage: from 18:00
2nd stage: from 19:00
(From December to mid-March, they perform only on Friday, Saturday and Sunday)