Impression of Gion

Impression of Gion by Haruyuri
Impression of Gion, a photo by Haruyuri on Flickr.

Über Flickr:
A small street in Gion Kobu at night.
Somehow I like Miyagawacho more than Gion because it's not that big and there aren't as many tourists as in Gion. But even Gion Kobu has nice small quiet streets.
I followed the advice of a well known Photographer and avoided Hanamikoji - dori as much as possible.
We were rewarded with a beautiful atmosphere in the side streets and could even see some geiko saying goodbye to their customers.

Merry Christmas everyone!


News Of The Hanamachi Collection

You may remember the wounderful blue Dragonfly Maiko Susohiki which I bought from Ichiroya and the pictures I linked with Makino wearing it.

Today ewoodham from flickr showed me a picture which she took of Maiko Mahiro wearing exactly the same Susohiki.
She kindly allowed me to show you the picture here.
I didn't even remember that I commented on her picture when she posted it on flickr in 2009, noticing how beautiful this kimono is.
If someone would have told me back then, that I would own this kimono in near future, I wouldn't have believed it.

Former Maiko Mahiro-san / picture taken by ewoodham. Copyright by ewoodham. Please don´t use this picture without permission.

Yesterday Ichiroya listed some new Maiko/ Geiko related items. I was looking for a new Darari Obi since mine got lost in space.... Long story.
But they were listing something even more rare instead.
Maiko Han- Juban and Geiko Juban.
Since they are almost never sold and were so cheap I couldn't resist and buy them imediately, no matter how much stains they had.

Yesterday I bought something that was sold as Maiko's Han-Juban. (half Juban) My first impression was, that this is the Hadajuban Part which is worn under the Nagajuban. But now I'm not so sure what it is exactly anymore. Since the Hadajuban of the Maiko that I have seen have short red sleeves more like a T-Shirt instead. And I wasn't sure about the length either. Maybe it is a Hadajuban for winter season? Or even a geiko's? Or it is a Juban for Maiko's everyday kimono which have longer sleeves than the normal kimono too, but aren't Furisode.
Maybe we'll figure it out when it arrives here.

The second thing I bought yesterday was a Geiko's Juban (which until now I have never seen for sale) which is - unlike a normal Juban - made of two parts. A 'blouse' - the Han- Juban, and a 'skirt' -the Sosoyouke.

It has maple leaves and fits every season except summer. I really wanted the summer one but this was sold already.

And today they listed another Geiko's Juban in pink with BAD stains. But I really wanted to have a pink one too. Maybe I can handwash it if it looks too bad in reality.


What you can do in kimono- decorate a cake

Über Flickr:
We made a training course how to decorate a cake with fudge during our stay in hamburg two weeks ago. We choose to make it in kimono since we met some other kimono addicted ladys later and didn't have time to change clothes.

We tried different sorts of japanese tea later at the Hamburger Teespeicher.


Impression of Miyagawacho

Small street in Miyagawacho by Haruyuri
Small street in Miyagawacho, a photo by Haruyuri on Flickr.

Evening Impression from the Geiko / Geisha quarter Miyagawacho in Kyoto.

During our Stay in Kyoto we spent the evenings walking around the different geisha quarters. It was difficult to get good pictures without flashlight (I did not want to use flashlight because I would have felt like an intruder). But some of the pictures captured the atmosphere quiet well.


... and again

Ichiroya posted an original Maiko's Eri today. Since I don't own one until now, I wanted to have one of these beauties. They are really difficult to get.


Ups I did it again

Unfortunately Ichiroya has listed many original Maiko items lately...

Bad for my purse....

As far as I know they were property of Mi - No - Yae Okiya.

I bought these kanzashi:

A big single flower for senior Maiko for January

A complete set for Junior Maiko for March

A complete set for Junior Maiko for December

Now I'm waiting for these beauties to arrive at my home. Maybe I can figure out who they belonged too, since Ichiroya said the Maikos named are written on the boxes.

And two days ago Ichiroya listed some Maiko Hikizuri from Mi - No - Yae. Some of them were worn by Maiko Makino.

I bought the blue dragonfly Hikizuri. Fortunately there are some pictures where Makino is wearing it ^v^


Now I'm broke ;-)

I hope I will finish my travel diary the next weeks. I'm sorry, I was lazy.


Fushimi Inari and Fukukimi-san

We changed our hotel after three days and moved to a hotel near the main station were we stayed another three nights.

Inside the Main Station we saw a group of Maiko and Geiko of Pontocho. They were Shinaju, Hisasuzu and Ichifuku and two other women which I didn't recognize. Maybe Okasan. they were all wearing normal kimono.
After searching for it for a while we found it, left our luggage there and went to see Fushimi Inari Shrine.

We took the big route over the hill and needed about two hours. It was hot, but the many Tori and trees gave some shadows.
There were many moskitos around. I wouldn't go there with short trousers again ;-)

Later we were dining at Mos Burger - a japanese fast food restaurant. I will write a review of the food I tried during my trip when I have finished my travel diary here.

After dining at Mos Burger we walked back to our hotel and took the route via Miyagawacho. It was about half past ten p.m.
And this time I was brave enough to ask a Maiko-san for a picture.
Fukukimi-san came up to us very slowly, so I dared to ask her. She stopped, posed for me and as I thanked her, she thanked me too with an 'Ohkini' and continued her way.
I was in heaven! She was so cute and friendly, I surely will never forget this moment.

We continued our way as we saw a group of Maiko and geiko parting.

Kimika-san came our way and I greeted her with her name and asked for a picture too. She was so friendly and let me take her picture too. ^v^
(which i'm not going to post here, since the lighting is bad)
She had a really perplexed look on her face as I greeted her with her name ^v^

Maiko and Geiko- san we have seen this day:

1 Maiko that I didn't recognize
Miyoharu ?
2 Maiko in a taxi

All without formal attire. (some of them in the morning as we left our hotel)

Fukue (with a spectacular dragonfly kanzashi)
1 Maiko which I didn't recognize.

All in full attire


Day 7 - A special day

Maiko Ichitomi and Chiyoko
Plans for tuesday were kind of different as we got an invitation to follow a flickr member into his Shukubou (the ochaya where he is guest) where we had lunch.

The okasan was a very nice woman and very hospitable.

Maiko Ichitomi and Maiko Chiyoko entered the ochaya greeting the okasan while they made some visits in the hanamachi.
The okasan asked them to come in.

So this is how the picture was taken.
The girls were really nice and even gave us their senjafuda/ hanameishi (Business card)

It was such a great experience. I still cannot believe that this really happened.
I`m grateful and feel very honoured.

Later this day we went to the Shijo Dori and visited the Kanzashi Shop Ikuokaya. I bought two Maiko Kanzashi sets via the internet some time ago and was now happy to visit the shop. To our great surprise one staff member spoke german.

I bought a Maiko comb for summer and a small kanzashi as a gift for a friend.

I couldn't decide to buy the Junior Maiko June Kanzashi which I want to buy for a long time now.

And we have been at Kanshindo and bought some cakes as a present for the owner of our Ryokan.
Readers of Lesley Downers Book: Geisha - might know it.

Box with cakes from Kanshindo

In the evening we have been dining at a restaurant in Pontocho. I had Beef sukiyaki and my friend sushi with eggplant and avocado pear.

Beef Sukiyaki and Avocado Pear Sushi
Lantern with Crest of Pontocho - Chidori/Plover
The entrance of the Restaurant
On our way back we saw a geiko in normal attire (no wig and makeup) in a beautiful green kimono with a black obi with shimmering pattern. Unfortunately I didn't know her face. I'm bad at recognizing Pontocho Geiko.

Maiko we have seen this day:

Katsumi (on her last day before her retirement/ with Maiko hairstyle)

All in normal kinono without makeup


With complete Maiko kimono and makeup

So this was the best birthday that I ever celebrated ^v^


Day 6 Kyoto,Kyoto!

Yesterday we visited some temples near our hotel, including Kiyomizu Dera. I think it's one of the most famous temple in Kyoto and its picture is often used for postcards. It is really a nice Temple and you have a great view down on Kyoto.

Kiyomizu Dera Tempe

We got there via some beautiful streets with old buildings and many nice small shops which sell japanese pottery, sweets and things for tourists. We also saw two Ghibli Stores.
And we saw some Maiko Henshin- Girls who pay to be dressed up like a Maiko- some pretty good with nice kimono, some less good but all with very nice makeup.

In the evening we walked around Gion and Miyagawacho and saw the following Maiko and Geiko:

All in normal kimono going to ozashiki


All in full kimono makeup and wig

Yukako - on her day off

I stilldidn't dare to take a picture but enjoyed the moment as they walked by.

Evening Impression of Miyagawacho


Nara/ Osaka Castle / Kyoto

We left Nara yesterday pretty late. We walked back to the main station and had a short look at the five storied pagoda.

Pagoda in Nara
After that we took the train to Osaka where we visited the castle. To our great dissapointment it was only very interesting from the outside. On the inside there was everything new with a big exhibition explaining the history of the castle. Not uninteresting, but not what we expected.

Castle in Osaka
We took the train to Kyoto then, where we searched for our hotel which is located in the middle of Miyagawacho in an old house beside teahouses.

We saw our first Maiko already this evening. It was such an amazing moment. We moved inside the mainstreet of Miyagawacho and on our left she came up to us very slowly. I bet she saw my camera and thought I wanted to take a picture. I only greeted her in japanese and she greeted back very friendly before turning into another steet. I had weak knees and my heart was fast beating!
She was so beautiful and although I have seen thousands of pictures of them on flickr already you cannot compare it with a real meetup on the street.
I searched for her name and I think she could have been Maiko Fukumari.
Later I have seen more geiko in normal kimono among them Fumiyuu.

Poster advertising Gion Odori
We made a walk through Pontocho and a Part of Gion Kobu also. In Pontocho we saw two Maiko on a veranda entertaining guests.
Shop Entrance in Pontocho

Teahouses along the Kamogawa River

When we returned to our Ryokan we heard the Sound of a shamisen played beautifully in the house beside our Ryokan. We listened for a while and noticed that the cat of the neighbours was watching us through a small window ^v^

Neighbours cat


Meeting the Deer - in Nara

We travelled from Tokio to Nara via Kyoto yesterday. Travelling with the Shinkansen was an adventure since we didn't make a seat reservation before, so we had to search for a free seat but at the beginning of our ride we had to stand because there was none. Later we got the opportunity to sit down.

We arrived in Nara and had to search our Ryokan which was surprisingly far away from the main station. After searching for a while we found it. It was so worth the way we walked with our heavy luggage on the back.
The house where we stayed is about
100 years old and a classical japanese house.
The old lady that owned that house before was a teeceremony teacher and had her own teahouse integrated into her house. This was the part of the house were we slept. It was an amazing experience, though it got a little bit cold during the night since it was raining.

Entrance of the Backpackers Hotel Nara
Our Room  - The Room for Teeceremony

We had a great walk through Nara yesterday, visited a classical japanese garden, where there was free entry for visitors of foreign countries, and Todaiji Temple, which is the largest wooden building of the world. It's three Buddhas were really beautiful.

Japanese Garden

Small Buddha at Todaiji

The biggest of the three Buddha

And of course we meet the Deer, which are almost everywhere in Nara. They are so cute and beautiful. You can even pet them ^v^
But you have to be careful with food beside them. They are always hungry it seems and they can be a bit obtrusive sometimes.
Deer at Nara

We then visited another temple near Todaiji where you have a great view over Nara.

We had a great dinner in a local inn in Nara that evening.
Our Dinner


Day 3 / Administrative District/ Emperors Palace Garden and Aki Basho

Yesterday we woke up late, so we missed the chance to see the Rush hour in the Tokyo Subway :-(

So in the 'morning' we went to the emperors palace garden again. We only took some pictures of the outside since it was heavily raining and we didn't have very much time. I wouldn't have thought that everything is so big there. The walls were surely ten meters high.

Nijubashi and Big Gate
Afterwards we had a short walk to the administrative region and took a picture of the legislative building.

Legislative Building Tokio

Impression of a Tokio Park

Soon we took the train to the Ryōgoku Kokugikan where the Aki Basho took place.
Aki Basho is the big Sumo Tournament in Autumn which takes place in Tokyo. We had seats very far away from the middle, but could see everything. It was very interesting to see it in Real Life.

On our way to the Ryogoku Kokugikan
Entrance of the Sumotori
Tomorrow following Nara.


Day 2

Yesterday we went to theTokio SkyTree, which was opened in May 2012 and is the second highest building in the world.
Until then we had only used the subway run by the JR Lines which we can use free with our Rail Pass. But for SkyTree we had to take another subway, so we had to buy a ticket at the ticket counter. There are many different lines from different companys and our first try failed. ;-) We bought at the wrong ticketcounter.
Finally we made it right and arrived the SkyTree. It's an impressing building. There were many people visiting and we hade to wait in a long row to get our tickets, but everything was well coordinated and we waited about half an hour to get our tickets. They were a bit pricey though. 2000¥ for one ticket to the first platform and if you wanted up to the top another 1000¥ per person. But I would say it was very worth the money. The panoramic view was fantastic. Unfortunately it was a bit misty so we couldn't see Mt.Fuji.

Tokio SkyTree

Later we visited the Meiji-Jingu, the Meiji Shrine which is dedicated to Emperor Meiji and his wife Empress Shoken. The shrine was destroyed 1945 and rebuilt 1958. It is frequented by many people around the new years celebrations, but as we visited late in the afternoon almost no people were there. The atmosphere was magical.

The big Tori at the entrance
Inside the Shrine

In the evening we made a short trip to the garden of the emperors palace but soon returned to Akihabara since it became dark early (18:00).

In Akihabara we went through the streets with the electronic and Manga/Anime shops. We only spent about two hours there but you could spend days just watching. We also have seen some Maids in the streets advertising for the Maid Cafes.
You could really spend a lot of money there, but I resisted ;-) Saving money for Kyoto.
Electric Town Akihabara

Some Maids advertising  for their Cafe