Jan. 28, 2016 UPDATE
Leading You to Plum Blossom's Season in Kyoto
Part 2

Kamishichiken; the town where Maiko lives

Kamishichiken; the town where Maiko lives
Kyoto is a city known for its Maiko and Geiko in the Gion area, but they can actually be found in other three areas other than Gion. One is the quiet district of "Kamishichiken," the oldest of Kyoto's four "hanamachi", or Geiko districts.

The area is lined with two-story tea houses where the Geiko live, including Kaburenjo Theater, a training center for song and music. Once the sun sets, you can begin to spot Maiko here and there as they head off to work.
Regrettably, many townhouses with priceless cultural value have been demolished in recent years, causing the area to lose its traditional townscape. As you may already know, visitors from abroad are now unable to get taste of "the real Kyoto" unless they specifically go to places such as Gion or Higashiyama.
The "Kamishichiken" district had its main street's power lines buried underground in 2003 to help restore its traditional atmosphere. It is one Kyoto district where a clear effort is being made together with the city and its citizens to preserve the scenery.
The Kamishichiken Kaburenjo Theater, considered by many to be the main symbol of this small Geiko district, is said to be one of the few remaining wooden theaters. Maiko and Geiko learn and practice their songs and dances here every day. In springtime, the entire district becomes festive as the extravagant Kitano Odori performances are held by the Maiko and Geiko.
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During summer, you can relax at a beer garden as you relish in the hospitality of Maiko and Geiko in their matching yukata(cotton kimono for summer) outfits. However, there is more to this experience than just the exquisite service. For this particular event, the women do not wear their characteristic white make-up as they do when serving guests at dinner parties. You would be hard-pressed to find another event where you can have a nice beer together with Maiko and Geiko wearing normal amounts of make-up.
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Grill Yahey
If you ever visit the Maiko district, then you should try some of the stores frequented by Maiko, take in the unique atmosphere, and let your imagination flow. Grill Yahey, an old Western cuisine restaurant, is one of the area's establishments that has been enjoyed by actual Maiko for years. We recommend their omelet rice (fried rice topped with an omelet) with demi-glace sauce, but if you are able to schedule your visit for noon, then you could also enjoy their daily lunch special which is made in limited quantities. Many locals frequent this restaurant, so give it a try if you would like to enjoy the atmosphere of the town.
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Sushi Yoshizuki
Allow us to introduce some of our favorite Japanese restaurants tucked away in the tasteful streets of Kamishichiken. There is Sushi Yoshizuki.
At Sushi Yoshizuki, you can enjoy delicious sashimi and sushi made from fresh fish that is delivered to the restaurant each day. On top of that, their prices are hard to beat! The dessert here, made by a chef who once worked at a restaurant specializing in French cuisine, is also a must have.
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This (slightly pricey) Japanese restaurant deserves its place on our list of Geiko district bests. Koshiji, an old restaurant specializing in Kyoto cuisine, is a favorite of Maiko and is one of this town's most famous establishments. It would be a shame to miss the opportunity to dine here and relish in the wonderful dishes put together by the veteran chef and receive the hospitality of the kind hostesses. Prices are not listed on the menu, but you can expect to pay around ¥10,000 for a course of four dishes and one bottle of Japanese sake.
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For those in the know, Kyoto is considered a battleground for Chinese cuisine. Ranging from Sichuanese to Cantonese, you can discover a variety of restaurants specializing in Chinese cuisine regardless of whether you want to eat at a standard fare place, or a more upscale venue. One restaurant and its chef have tantalized the tongues of Kyoto citizens ever since they opened over 35 years ago. At Itosen, the food deserves the title of “Chinese of Kyoto”. They are known for having a simple non-overpowering flavor, and their dishes only use the slightest amounts of fragrant spices that leave aftertastes, such as garlic. This is so that even the Maiko, who work in service, can enjoy their food without having to worry about aftercare. As such, the food here is truly reflective of the region.
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