Japan Day 10, Part 2: Gion, Geishas, and Gardens

After spending the morning going in circles, we once again left our hotel, and walked to the train station. This time we went to the station nearest us, which – go figure – was not a JR Station. However this time, we had an actual goal in mind.

Double decker train

At Son’s suggestion, we were heading to the Gion area of Kyoto – an area famous for its Geishas (or, as they’re called in Kyoto, Geiko).

Historical building in Gion area

We took the local subway to the Gion-Shijo station, which let out on Shijo street, which is the main street in the Gion area.

The main street in the Gion area

Street in the Gion area

It’s a busy street, and obviously caters to tourists.

Signs on the main street in the Gion area

Man on a motorbike

Maiko on the main street


Eventually we turned down a side street, and just wandered.

Beautiful houses down a side street in the Gion area

Smaller street lined with restaurants in the Gion area

A restaurant in the Gion area

We found our way to one of the busier side streets, where there was a traffic jam of cars lined up all the way up and down the street.

Cars lined up in the street


According to a woman on Flickr who is apparently familiar with the Gion area, this is a lantern in front of the Tama ochaya (tea house).


It was the time of day when the maiko were beginning to make their way around the area.

Large building next to a theatre

Woman with umbrella and two dogs

Alley in Gion

This narrow alley holds the entrances to the two most popular okiya (geisha houses) in Gion Kobu: the Tama (left sign) and the Tsurui (the right sign).

A geisha getting mobbed by tourists wanting to take her photo

We also saw one or two geisha… or at least, we got quick glimpses before the poor geisha got mobbed by tourists wanting to take photographs. We kept our distance, but some people had no problem getting right up in her face, crowding all around her to take their pictures. Crazy.

Alley in Gion

Back alley in Gion

Street in Gion

We headed off on another side street to avoid the crowds and try to see more of the area, and ended up at a temple.

Structure in the middle of the park

Park in Gion

We wandered the temple grounds for a bit, Son taking pictures, me taking pictures of him taking pictures.

My view for most of the trip

A pathway in the park

It was late enough in the afternoon that everything was closed, but it was a beautiful, serene area.

Pathway out of the park

Entrance to a restaurant in Gion

A restaurant in Gion

A cafe

Crossing the river

By that time we were getting pretty hungry, so we headed across the river to try to find somewhere to eat…

4 thoughts on “Japan Day 10, Part 2: Gion, Geishas, and Gardens”

  1. Jackie @ Domestic Fits -

    I’m so jealous! There is something about getting lost in foreign cities that make me happy. I think it’s my Gypsy soul. It’s been way too long since I’ve been off US soil, and I’ve always wanted to go to Japan. I’ll just have to live vicariously through your posts 🙂