When you walk in Gion, you can see maikos all around you. But these people are actually not real maikos, but tourists dressed up as ones. So, where can you see a real maiko?
Maiko is a young woman who entertains guests by singing, dancing and playing ozashiki games in a teahouse. The role of maiko is to make sure everyone is satisfied, and if you want to meet a maiko, you just need to go to a teahouse. But the problem is that most teahouses don’t let first-timers in – you need to know a patron to enter the establishment.
But at the restaurant Yasaka-dori Enraku, they have a plan for foreigners visiting Japan, called Enchanted Time with Maiko, where you get to be enchanted by a maiko three times a week, on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, from 6 to 8 p.m. This is their main tour, but they also have a VIP tour where you get the maiko all for yourself; you will get her undivided attention for the whole duration! In both programs, you have an interpreter who helps you when you talk with the maiko and play games with her. In the end, you also get to take pictures with the maiko. The price of this experience includes a full course meal and as much alcohol as you can drink, for the price of 19,000 yen for one person for the main tour, and the VIP tour is 25,000 for one person if you have four people in your group. This is a rare chance to get to see and talk to a maiko up close, so be sure to take advance of it!
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