Kyoto: Geishas and Glam

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Well we arrived from Nara yesterday, after having seen the national museum. It was some 1300 year old relics like scrolls and stuff, and a mandolin, all quite well preserved. Very crowded. If SARS is on the loose again we are buggered.

We went to Kyoto and had a wander about the Gion district, Geisha territory, yesterday afternoon. We saw a few, one made up looking like obvious geisha, a few probables (without the makeup but had the hairdo).

(Interesting read: the wikipedia page on Geisha, it answers the question of whether Geisha are prostitutes or not, and other fascinating things)

It is beautiful, parts of Kyoto. There are also plenty of seedy parts too, like pachinko parlors. There are beautiful gift shops with stuff made out of Kimono silk. I was good, only bought a few things.

This morning we went on a bus tour of parts of Kyoto, looking at things like the golden temple (ie a Temple with gold leaf on it, it really is very ….gold), Nijo castle and the imperial palace.

For lunch, we had conveyor belt sushi, apparently not the best sushi according to lonely planet, but to us, it kicked arse over anything we have eaten in Australia. And cheap; 137 yen a plate (with 2 bits on there) we had 16 plates between the 2 of us. And you sit around the conveyor belt and the chefs work in the middle, so you get to watch (and photograph) them. It was fun.

This arvo, took a little detour to Takashimaya, tried on some cosmetics, the ladies are very nice and put on makeup for you so you can try it and they don’t seem to get too shirty that you don’t buy anything. Then found something awesome: a Laduree outlet in that department store. Laduree is the famous patisserie in Paris, makes the worlds best macaroons. Especially the Vanilla ones. Bliss.

We are in Kyoto at a good time; the geisha put on concerts in spring and autumn. We are in town for a concert called Gion Odori, put on by the Gion East Geisha ‘clan’, one of the more prestigious groups. It was beautiful. Amazing. Didn’t understand a word, but looked at all the pretty kimonos. Their faces, though whited out, are very expressive. The bit at the end, where all the girls got up on stage and danced with fans, was breathtaking. I will be posting photos on facebook soon, I took heaps.

Off to Tokyo tomorrow, to have dinner/drinks/singing with Kath. Then off to Hong Kong.

I have been doing well eating wise, nibbling nice little things but not overeating particularly. Or over-drinking, not like what I usually do when I go overseas!

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2 responses »

  1. We loved Kyoto! So easy to cycle around too. You saw more geisha than we did though. It is too hard to stop nibbling on everything on holiday- especially in Japan!

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