Geisha Museum Kyoto Ticket & Guided Tour

*This experience is currently NOT available.

Maikoya owns and operates the Geisha and Tea Ceremony Museum near Hanamikoji street which is considered to be the center of the Gion Geisha District. The museum has a number exhibitions, artifacts and explanations on the history and culture of geisha. There are guided tours which last for about 30 minutes but the visitors can also walk inside the museum on their own. The museum collection is limited to geisha musical instruments, geisha hair accessories and geisha kimono. The museum has simple and easy-to-understand visual aids on the differences between maiko and geisha and the geisha training phases. The museum also hosts various geisha shows and geisha experiences everyday.

The geisha museum ticket includes the English guided tour of the museum which has been conducted by a knowledgeable local guide. The tour guide will explain  everything you may wonder about the geisha from their kimono motifs to the movie "the Memoirs of Geisha." You can ask questions to the guide though most visitors tend to ask similar questions all the time which are listed below that we usually answer during the tour. There is a possibility that you may get a glimpse of a real geisha or maiko at the museum, as the museum organizes the various geisha activities everyday, but they are not included in your ticket.

This reservation includes

  • Geisha Museum entrances fee
  • English guided tour of the geisha museum for about 30 minutes
  • Detailed explanation of the Gion Geisha District map so that you know what you are looking at when you are walking in Gion
  • Question and answers to the local guide
  • Close look of geisha artifacts, geisha goods, geisha kimono
(Our location ; Geisha Experience Gion MAIKO CHAYA)
Geisha Museum Kyoto 2 Geisha Museum Kyoto 1 Geisha Museum Kyoto 3 Geisha Museum Kyoto 4 Geisha Museum Kyoto 5
We hold many geisha shows and events and these are the most commonly asked questions to geisha / maiko
(Our location ; Geisha Experience Gion MAIKO CHAYA)


  • Why did you decide to become a geisha? 


Most maiko answer as their imagination of the fancy world of the geisha. A lot of girls are influenced by the beautiful maiko photos on the internet or TV documentaries about maiko lives. Some of them just want to work as a maiko, as it’s a fun adventure, and they never become geiko. 



  • How did your family react? 


Some families have concerns about their daughters’ living in the lodging house at an early age. However in Japan, part of being a democratic and advanced country, families tend to support the decisions of their daughters. However, maiko get to see their families only once or twice a year (Obon and the new year-eve).


  1. Can Geisha Marry or have a boyfriend? Geisha cannot get married. The rule of this profession is “being married to the art, not a man”. If they want to get married, they have to quit the job. Once they quit, it’s usually impossible to come back, however they can debut from the beginning in a different city, under a different name and rules. Maiko cannot have a boyfriend, and if they do, they can easily get caught as they live in very strict conditions. Geisha live alone, they can secretly have a boyfriend.


  1. Do geisha have any days off? Maiko only have two days off per month, but they can take longer holidays three times per year too - New Year period in January, Golden Week in May, and Obon in August. Geiko decide their own schedule, so they can have days off whenever they feel like.


  1. How much does a geisha make? What is geisha’s salary? Maiko don’t receive any salary, as they are in training. The maiko house pays for everything, starting with food, taxis, and accommodation, to kimono and classes. Maiko get some pocket money each month, though, so they can go shopping during their days off. Geiko receive a full compensation for their job engagements, however, the monthly income depends on the amount of hours they make, so they have to be wise with their schedule. Just like theater performers, there is a huge variation in the income of the geisha based on the skills and popularity. It can be anywhere between $3K a month to hundreds of thousands as they can also get gifts (a, house, car, etc.). Geisha’s salary is secret.



  • Why do geisha have white powder on their face?


The short answer is: in the past there was no electricity and it was believed the white powder made the face look beautiful in the dark. There are other reasons such as in ancient China entertainers also wore the white powder make-up and white skin symbolized youth and nobility. Geisha also often shared the stage and hung out with kabuki actors who wore white-powder and visible lip and eye liners to be watched from the distance.



  • Are they courtesans? 


No as explained in other posters.


  1. Why do geisha wear wig but maiko don’t? It’s very difficult and expensive to keep such complicated hairstyle for the rest of the life, so wigs are more convenient. After hours, geiko can wear Western clothes and be normal women. Also many geisha start losing their hair at an early age because of too much pulling as part of the intricate hairstyles. It is healthier to have a wig.


  1. How much does it cost to meet a geisha? The exact cost is never revealed, but an hour with a geisha starts from about 30 000 yen and it can be booked only after being introduced to a teahouse by a frequent customer. There are some cheaper group events for the tourists and first-timers, starting from 10,000 yen. Please inquire to the museum staff. A “geisha experience” is usually not meant to be one-time-only and there are so many other costs such as the fee of the meals and drinks; so, how much does it cost to meet a geisha is a little difficult to understand in Kyoto.  



  • How do you apply to become a geisha?


A candidate for a maiko has to be a Japanese girl who graduated from junior high school (the age of 15-16) and who has black hair. Some okiya require an introduction (personal reference), but some of them encourage girls to apply via e-mail or telephone. They just need to send their photo, fill in a survey, and get their parents’ approval. 



  • Who decides when a maiko becomes a geisha


When maiko reaches the age of 20-21, her art masters and the owner of okiya decide if she’s ready to progress into the geiko stage. There’s no official exam, they just have to give her a green light to go further. Upon becoming a geiko, a maiko has to master “Kurokami” (“Jet Black Hair”) dance which she will perform during her sakkou period. 



  • Are geishas respected in Japan?


They are very much respected as they perform cultural arts and crafts that require so much training and can’t be performed by most people. They are also often invited to public and religious ceremonies and often sit at VIP. Geisha’s outfit is unique and costly, the silk kimono costs at least $5K and the sash ornament (pocchiri) is usually worth thousands of dollars.



  • Do geisha think about quitting and having a family?


As a matter of fact most maiko (apprentice geisha) do not become a full-fledged geisha. They quit at the end of the maiko period. For the rest who chose to be a geisha it is a lifetime profession though so many geisha eventually quit in their thirties and forties and become housewives. If they don’t quit, most geisha become an okiya owner or inherit the okiya they are affiliated and run a geisha house.



  • What is the age limit of being a geisha?


There is no age limit, there are geisha in Gion who are older than 80 years old.



  •  What is a typical day of maiko like?


8:30-9:30 Getting up, putting on a casual kimono and going to the school of art. 10:00-12:00 Time reserved for the art classes. Each class is usually 30 minutes, but before big stage performances the classes can last for 6 hours even! 
12:00-14:00 Free time for lunch and relax. 
15:00-17:00 Getting ready for work. Applying makeup and putting on a dance kimono (a special dresser comes and dresses the maiko and geiko up. It takes only up to 10 minutes!). 
18:00 First work engagements of the night. Usually there are 3 banquets or 3 separate meetings with the clients until midnight 
00:00-1:00 Last work engagements. 
1:30-2:00 Back home, taking off the kimono (and folding it), wiping off the makeup, bath time, hobby (reading books, watching TV) time. 2:00-3:00 Sleep time
(Our location ; Geisha Experience Gion MAIKO CHAYA)

Kyoto Geisha Show & Experience GION MAIKOYA

We are a cultural experience venue located in the heart of Kyoto,Gion the cultural capital of Japan. We pride ourselves on providing authenthinc experiences in Kyoto, Gion. Founded on the four main pricinples of tea ceremony (Harmony, respect, purity and tranquility) Maikoya has gained recognition among both locals and foreigners. Maikoya also recently has been selected as one of the best tea ceremony venues in Japan by Tripadvisor. Learning about a country through cultural workshops and activities will give you a better understanding of our intricate history, valued social principals and holistic way of life. By learning about Japan and its people, you will be immersed in different perspectives and approaches that are unique to this country. Maikoya Gion offers you opportunities to understand this culture through local instructors and guides. There is no better way to learn about a new place from the viewpoints of those who grew up and live in this amazing country. What better way to spend an afternoon than learning a traditional, beautiful new art form with a knowledgeable tutor in a picturesque setting? You wouldn't find friendlier people to help you experience Japan in all its splendour.

Our address is 100, Rokurocho, Matsubara-dori Yamatooji Higashiiru, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, Japan
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