Nov. 11, 2022 UPDATE

5 events in Kyoto where you get to see geisha

There are many events in Kyoto where you can see beautiful maiko and geisha. I have five events, from ones where you can see maiko dance to ones where you can drink beer with them!

If you hear the word Kyoto, many of you probably think of temples and shrines, but some of you probably also think of geisha, or to be more exact maiko and geiko here in Kyoto. If you come to Kyoto, you would probably also like to see a maiko wearing a pretty kimono. In Gion or Ponto-cho you stand a chance to see a maiko heading for practice or teahouse, but many of us would like to see maiko up close. So, without further ado, here you have 5 events where you can see maiko up close! How about joining these events and seeing maiko up close?

1Baikasai Plum Blossom Festival and Nodate Ocha no Yu tea ceremony


First, we have the Baikasai Plum Blossom Festival and Nodate Ocha no Yu tea ceremony event at Kitano Tenmangu Shrine held on February 25 every year. This event is held in honor of the big tea party the Japanese historic figure Toyotomi Hideyoshi held at Kitano Tenmangu, and because of this many maiko from Kamishichiken come every year to take part in the ceremony. 

geiko and maiko

In this event, you can enjoy tea served by maiko. 


The way maiko stir the matcha and conduct themselves; all of their movements are gorgeous but refined.

tea ceremony

Even if you don’t know how to behave during a tea ceremony, you can learn by watching others. Since this event is very easy to join many people from overseas also take part in it. The time of this event is also the best time to see the plum blossoms at Kitano Tenmangu, so you can enjoy both plum blossoms and maiko.

Event place: February 25.

Event place: Kitano Tenmangu Shrine.

Address Bakuro-cho, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto
Event time 10am - 3pm

2Kitano Odori

Kitano Odori

Next I’m going to talk about the famous maiko dance “odori.” One of these odori events, Kitano Odori, is held from March to April every year at Kamishichiken’s Kaburenjo Theater, and it’s a seasonal Kyoto spring event. The dance and stage play of the beautiful maiko in their gorgeous kimono is captivating.  


If you reserve a ticket that includes tea service, the maiko will serve you tea before the play. Maiko seen up close are incredibly beautiful.

In the finale of the show flower petals fall to the stage and you can hear shouts of joy from around you. If you want to make your spring in Kyoto a special one, how about going to see the Kitano Odori?

Event dates: From March 25 April 7.

Event place: Kamishichiken Kaburenjo theater.

Address 742, Shinseicho, Kamigyo-ku Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, 602-8381
Event time 2:00pm / 4:30pm (2 stages a day)

3Kamishichiken beer garden

Kamishichiken beer garden

Thirdly I have a beer garden event! At first you may think that maiko and beer gardens have nothing in common, but every summer there is a beer garden event at Kamishichiken’s Kaburenjo Theater where the maiko serve food and drinks. 


Kamishichiken’s beer garden is an event where by the tasteful tables right by the garden you can talk with maiko while you drink beer. This is a recommended event for summer.


Event dates: From July 1 to September 5.

Event place: Kamishichiken Kaburenjo Theater

Address 742, Shinseicho, Kamigyo-ku Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, 602-8381
Event time 5:30pm - 10pm (L.O.9:30pm)

4Yasaka Shrine’s Setsubun Festival

Next I’m going to introduce to you the Setsubun Festival that is held at Yasaka Shrine every February 2 and 3. There are Setsubun festivals at most of Kyoto’s shrines and temples in February.Setsubun Festival

At Yasaka Shrine’s Setsubun Festival you can see maiko dedicate a beautiful dance on stage and after this you can see the maiko throw beans to celebrate Setsubun.

geisha districts perform dances

During these two days maiko from four of Kyoto’s hanamachi geisha districts perform dances. The dances and patterns of kimonos differ from hanamachi to hanamachi so watching the dances is interesting. If you want to enjoy Setsubun like you can only in Gion, I recommend Yasaka Shrine!


Event dates: February 2 and 3.

Event place: Yasaka Shrine

Address 625, Giommachi Kitagawa, Higashiyama-ku Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, 605-0073, Japan
Event time On both days the festival starts at 10AM. <February 2>  At 1PM Maiko and geiko from the Ponto-cho Kabukai geisha house perform a dance and throw beans  At 2PM Maiko and geiko from the Yasaka Gagakukai geisha house perform a dance and throw beans  At 3PM Maiko and geiko from the Miyagawa-cho Kabukai geisha house perform a dance and throw beans  At 3PM Shijo Han’eikai Shopping Street Promotion Association bean throwing <February 3>  At 11AM Heian period Imayo song offering and bean throwing  At 1PM Maiko and Geiko from Gion Kobu Kabukai perform a dance and throw beans  At 3PM Maiko and geiko from Gion Higashi Kabukai perform a dance an throw beans  At 4PM Shijo Han’eikai Shopping Street Promotion Association bean throwing

5Takasegawa boat festival

Takasegawa boat festival

Lastly I have the event called Takasegawa Boat Festival that takes place every autumn. In this event there is a tea ceremony performed by the maiko of Ponto-cho

After the tea ceremony

After the tea ceremony, you can have your picture taken with the maiko on a boat on the Takasegawa River. The Takasegawa Boat Festival is a casual local festival that can be enjoyed by the whole family, and many people come with a camera in hand to see the maiko perform the tea ceremony and get pictures of them. The smiles of the maiko are cute!


Event time: End of September

Event place: Near the Takasegawa River.

Erika[ Sharing Kyoto Staff ]
At first it might seem like that to see a maiko you would have to know someone first, then pay heavily for the experience, and it all seems very difficult – but actually there are many events where you get to see maiko! Especially the tea ceremony and beer garden events are precious because you get to talk with maiko. Getting to see the maiko of your dreams up close is sure to become an unforgettable Kyoto memory for you.
Related keywords
All Things To Do Central Kyoto Area Gion & Kiyomizu Temple Nijo Castle & Kitano Tenmangu

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