Monday, April 23, 2012

Wandering the alleys of Gion

After a day of climbing up castles and crossing moats a midst hordes of tourists, what better way to see the day out than by going Geisha hunting. All my research (google) pointed to the Gion district of Kyoto for prime Geisha and Maiko spotting.

We decided to head up to Gion about 6, since most reports say you can see Geisha out and about from 6:30.  It was about a half hour walk from our hotel, Citadines on Gojo Street.

On our way to Gion we decided to check out Pontocho lane from Trey Ratcliffs photo.

Pontocho






A small side alley off Pontocho:


Pontocho is pretty much all dining (and quite expensive) The restaurants have great views over the river and with the Sakura blooming the view was even more magical.

The lane was very busy, so I didn't get many chances for amazing shots like Treys... I was happy just to have walked in the footsteps of so many others down such a culturally rich lane.

After exploring the alley we crossed the bridge to Gion.

This was taken on the bridge on our way to Gion: On the left of the river are the restaurants on Pontocho lane that overlook the river. Pontocho runs parallel with the river.


Gion

We were slowly meandering down Hanami-koji street off the main street in Gion when this Maiko flitted out in front of Rachel and I.

I snapped a quick shot from the hip but she was going so fast it was a blur. Like a crazed paparazzi, I fiddled with my settings while running after her. Man she could move fast in those Geta.

I managed to get the shot below. I think my running up behind her caused her some concern. As I caught up to her she turned to look and as she turned I shot her profile. Luckily I managed to get part of the street that wasn't crawling with tourists although you can see how busy this side street is with onlookers and passers by.



This made our night, not only had we found Pontocho we also got to see a piece of living history in this Maiko (a Geisha apprentice)

Satisfied with our efforts we walked back to our Hotel to rest up for our next adventure.

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