The tea house located before the gates of Yasaka Shrine near Shinmonso is said to be the birthplace of the tea house. It was the first to serve tea and dango (dumpling cake made of rice or wheat flour) to people visiting the shrine. Later, other establishments offered sake together with lighthearted entertainment involving female hostesses playing the shamisen (a three-stringed musical instrument) and dancing in faux or mock kabuki (traditional drama performed by male actors). It is said that this is how the maiko (apprentice geisha) and geiko (geisha) originated.
To become a maiko, a girl is required to become a live-in apprentice at a yakata (or okiya, a house from which geishas are dispatched). While performing household chores at the yakata, she learns how to dance and absorbs the language and knowledge of the hanamachi (geisha district). This period of her training is called shikomi and continues for about one year (the girl is referred to as an ochobo). When she is judged to have mastered the dance of the maiko, preparations then begin for her misedashi (training toward her first appearance as a maiko). The approx. one month period until her misedashi date is spent as a minarai. During this period, minarai attend ozashiki (banquets in which guests are attended by geisha). They standby at these banquets and help wait on guests who call on the maiko and geiko in order to become accustomed to the atmosphere. This is because maiko are considered to be in training to become geiko. They are assigned an ane-geiko (older sister or her senior or mentor), and they exchange cups of sake to forge their onee-san/imouto-san (senior/junior) bond. This relationship is important as the imouto-san learns from her senior geisha mentor, and the onee-san provides both physical and emotional support. Her new professional name is chosen using kanji (character symbols) related to the ane-geiko's own name.
While her image as a "sweet innocent" is integral to her image as a maiko,
by the time of her 20th birthday, she undergoes erigae (promoted to a full-fledged geisha) and changes her appearance into that of a geiko. During the one month period before her erigae, she wears her hair in sakko fashion (only worn during this transitional phase), and paints her teeth black (called ohaguro). On the last night before the day of her erigae, her chignon is cut off, and on the day of her erigae, she wears a wig,
completing the transition into a geiko. Geiko can be broadly categorized into either tachikata, in charge of dancing or playing musical instruments such as drums and flutes, and jikata who are in charge of playing the shamisen or singing nagauta (long songs chanted to the accompaniment of shamisen often with drums and flutes added). As there are no age restrictions for geiko, they can continue to be geiko no matter how old they become. This custom was perhaps adopted to pass down this culture to successive generations.
Kanzashi (elaborate haircombs and hairpins) and chignons will hange according to age.
The nape of the neck is painted with oshiroi (white face powder) in nihonashi fashion (a few areas are left unpainted).
The kimono is made using the traditional kyouyuuzen dyeing technique for textiles in Kyoto. The pattern is a favorite of the yakata and is appropriate for the season.
The "obi" (a sash measuring over 5 meters in length) is a trademark
item of the maiko.
The designs and materials used vary with each season. Original crests are woven onto the edge of the obi.
Pocchiri refers to the large kimono sash clip. Some of these clips are extravagant, set with jewels, and are heirlooms for the akata which are passed down over generations. While these accessories are often considered to be symbols even in the context of the maiko-san's overall attire, they are not worn during formal dress.
Geta (wooden clogs). The geta straps can be red, pink, light blue etc. and will change according to the maiko's age, as will the height of the geta.
- Maiko will visit the roof top beer garden everyday.
During hours when maiko will be in attendance, they will make rounds to each table. Enjoy a pleasant chat and feel free to take pictures with them.
At around 8:00pm, the maiko will perform two kyomai (Kyoto style dance) on our special stage.
you can download from here the information of beer garden in English.
- Reservations can be made for two or more people.
- Maiko will be in attendance from 6:00-8:00pm.
- The beer garden is completely undercover making it the perfect venue in all kinds of weather. We kindly request guests order the course menu when using the beer garden.