[The Most Popular Kyoto Activity!] Report on the Activity Everyone Wants to Do Once, Dressing Up Like a Maiko

Dressing up like a maiko (apprentice geisha) is one of the most standard activities to do in Kyoto. It earned #1 (along with dressing up like an oiran (courtesan)) in the reader survey done by KansaiWalker, but many people haven't done it. Here's a report on Yume Koubou, where you can have dress like a maiko and have your makeup, photography, and even retouching done all at a comfortable price point!


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[Characteristics of a Maiko] Maiko perform at dinner parties, usually by singing, dancing, or playing instruments like the shamisen, a traditional stringed instrument. They're underaged girls who are apprentice geisha. This collar can be seen from the base of the neck to the top of the chest is colorful with beautiful embroidery. This is one of the biggest characteristics of a maiko. The obi (belt) hangs down to her ankles and sways as she walks. These shoes are about 10cm high and are only worn by maiko. In the Kanto region, they're called "pokkuri."

Start the Activity!

<1>Maiko are light-colored and classic, while oiran (courtesans) are colorful and modern. After you pick your kimono, they'll coordinate everything else to it.

<2> They use the same makeup maiko use. There are no additives, so it's gentle on skin. Any makeup you have is removed, then your face, neck, and back are painted white.

<2>The red eyeliner is another characteristic of a maiko.

<2>The last step is the most important, the red lipstick.

<3>They tie the loose obi that marks a maiko. The 7m long obi takes about 10 minutes to put on, and is the final step that marks being fully dressed in a kimono.

<4>They use a full wig that hides all your hair. The last step is a makeup and kimono check to make sure everything is perfect.

<5>You move to the tea room set and shooting commences. You do about 20 poses using props like a folding fan.

Yume Kobo Kyoto Ekimae Main Branch is in a machiya-style building, a traditional merchant's house reminiscent of Kyoto. They also have plans for children and men, so the entire family can enjoy this activity.

Price: Maiko Studio Photography Plan - 9500 JPY (includes hair, makeup, dressing, 20 poses, 4 2L-sized photos, 1 photo card)/Business hours: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm on weekdays, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm on weekends and holidays/Required time: 120-150 minutes/Reservations required (by phone) * Same-day reservations OK

Yume Koubou Kyoto Ekimae Main Branch

Yume Koubou Bldg., 511 Minami-machi, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

[This article was originally published in Walkerplus on 03.15.2017]

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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