Glance of a Geisha at Gion in Kyoto – Japan
Just till a few days ago I was in Japan for a beautiful holiday. Of course I had my trusted Canon 6d with me and enjoyed taking some hundreds pictures every day. Japan offers so many things worth a pic that it is easy to lose oneself behind the viewfinder: futuristic cities, ancient districts, natural wonders and, on top of this, plenty of interesting people living their lives in a country so distant and so different from ours. I indulged in almost every kind of photography: architectural, landscape, street life, portraits and so on. And, of course, I will be sharing some of the results here in these weeks, together with tips about locations, hours and gears to take your pictures in Japan. As usual suggestions are welcome! Any of you lives or has been there and has some tips to share?
Location: Gion, Kyoto, Japan. Gion is well-known as the most exclusive geisha’s district of Kyoto. Geisha (or “geiko”, child of the art) still performs here entertaining businessmen with conversation and traditional Japanese art, music and dancing, as they did in old times.
What to shot: Large modern streets and narrow traditional ones live side by side in this area. Among traditional streets I suggest to go to Hanami Lane, one of the major preserved streets, where you will find lot of old-style Japanese houses (machiya) and tea houses (ochaya). Another good place to take pictures is the area alongside the Shirakawa river, near where it enters the Kamo river.
Ideal time to shot: This district is famous for its nightlife, when traditional houses and tea houses light up the streets with their lanterns. Be there before sunset and you will be able to spot geiko in their traditional costume as they move to the ochaya for their engagements.
An important annual public dance (the Miyako Odori) take place from April 1 through April 30, during the height of the cherry blossom season (sakura).
Gear: From standard zooms to teles allow to catch both the beauty of the traditional streets and riversides, or to isolate picturesque detail of the buildings and people.
How to get there: One minute walk from Shijo Station of the Keihan Underground Line.
Coordinates: 35°00′13″N 135°46′30″E