Geisha dance performances

Geisha dance performances

Take a seat for the annual geisha dance shows in Kyoto.

Every year Kyoto's geisha districts hold dance festivals, giving locals and visitors lucky enough to obtain tickets the chance to see the geisha in their full splendour with vibrant kimono and beautiful hair arrangements. There are four geisha districts in Kyoto each with its own theatre. The most famous and largest is Gion (which is actually split in two: Gion Kobu and Gion Higashi) and this was the area featured heavily in Arthur Golden's best-selling novel Memoirs of a Geisha. Next door to Gion is Miyagawacho and nearby Kamishichiken and Pontocho are the other quarters.

The dances themselves are set to a musical accompaniment of shamisen (traditional Japanese guitar) and tell old stories of love and loss, life and death. The colourful backdrops change during the performance to reflect the changing of the seasons: beautiful pink cherry blossom of spring give way to the greens of summer, the flaming golds and reds of autumn and finally the cold white snow of winter.

When to go:

Geisha dance performances take place during late March, throughout the months of April and May, and in the first ten days of November. InsideJapan can obtain tickets, although the more notice we have, the better!

Geisha dance performances

located in Kyoto

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