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), 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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Interested in this Experience? It is included in this tour:

  • Explore the best of Japan's classic sights as autumn unfolds, then cheer on the Wallabies in their first ever test match in Japan

    The Wallabies Go Japanese!

    It's rugby, but not as you know it! This November the Wallabies play their first ever test match in Japan, on their way to Europe for the end-of-year internationals. This trip introduces you to Japan's classic sights and ends up in Tokyo for the match itself. The perfect way to whet your appetite for a certain world-famous rugby event heading to Japan in 2019.

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    Explore the best of Japan's classic sights as autumn unfolds, then cheer on the Wallabies in their first ever test match in Japan

Other Geisha experiences

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  • Maiko makeover

    Maiko makeover

    Become a maiko yourself with a wonderful makeover including white make-up, a black wig and a beautiful kimono.

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  • Gion walking tour at dusk

    Gion walking tour at dusk

    Gion comes alive as night falls and the geisha go out to entertain at tea house parties.

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