People gather at Maikoya not to just see a geisha but witness a 400 years old tradition. After the Tokugawa forces captured Osaka Castle in 1615 the shogunate designated Shinmachi, where Maikoya is located, as the officially recognized entertainment hub of Osaka. There used to be huge river where the Nagahori Street street is located today that separated the hanamachi (geisha houses) of Shinmachi and the courtesan houses in Horie.
The first geisha used to be men, also known as taikomochi, who entertained the patrons by singing, dancing and playing music. Later, the geisha custom was taken over by women where even the geisha house owners were females.  Although it is commonly confused, geisha and courtesans are quite different as geishas have many skills to entertain men including dancing, playing instruments, sophisticated conversation and various Japanese rituals and crafts such as tea ceremony and flower arrangement.
Despite the common view that there are geishas in only in Kyoto, there had been geisha houses and communities in all major cities including Tokyo, Osaka, Kanazawa, etc. Most of the geisha houses in Osaka were located in Shinmachi followed by Sonezaki. There were more geishas in Osaka than in Kyoto in the early 1900s. The Osaka geishas spoke with the Osaka dialect and had a different style of sash (a.k.a. yagicha). Ogawa Geisha house was established during the Meiji period and lasted until 1987 in the building where Maikoya is today. The last owner of the Ogawa geisha house supervises Maikoya and trains the maiko.


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