Gion – The last street of Geisha

Curated by BuffaloTripNovember 20, 2016 Viewed: 1568

As beautiful as the settings of classic movies, Gion greeted me with traditional wooden houses with small bowls of salt in in front and charming girls wearing kimonos in the narrow streets. If you are lucky enough, you will meet a geisha and maiko wearing traditional kimonos and make –up like fine porcelain dolls.

Text and photos: Cac Truc

Geisha, or geiko in Kansai local language, refers to artists who are trained to perform various types of art and follow strict rules of costume and communication to perform in upper class’s parties.

I loved standing right at the crossroad and watching groups of people crossing the street, some men in black suits are rushing to go somewhere or a boy quickly holds his friend’s hand when the traffic light is going to change color…

As a big city, the former capital of Japan in Edo period, Kyoto, however, feels like a small town. And Gion is a signature “Kyoto” street with traditional tea houses, lattice doors, Gion Minamiza Theater. The expensive Hanamikoji road with machiya restaurants is a place to enjoy luxurious kaiseki ryori parties. Immersing yourself in the crowd strolling down Gion street is a special experience.

Gion district at night

About 8 minutes from Gion on foot is the Fujukuen tea factory in Uji. My friend told me that that it is the most famous and oldest one (226 years) in Kyoto.

A middle aged tea master welcome us and they showed me how the Japanese respect simplicity, from the tea bowls with patterns representing the 4 seasons to the suitable way of stirring tea and temperature of water to make tea.

The design is inspired by Japan nature

In Uji culture, the concept of enjoying tea is known as the garden in the sky, based on the Shichu-no-Sankyo spirit of the tea ceremony. In these final days of the year, why don’t you travel to this city, spend a tranquil day enjoying a bowl of matcha, and contemplate peaceful nature by your side?

* Shichu-no-Sankyo: a phrase which evokes a sense of tranquility amidst the chaos.