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“The real deal for Maiko and Geiko interaction in Kyoto”

Gion Hatanaka, Kyoto Cuisine and Maiko Evening
Book In Advance
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US$175.12*
and up
Maiko Performance with Kaiseki Dinner in Kyoto
Reviewed 7 January 2014

Other than seeing the Gion Corner dances, as well as the 15 minute Maiko presentation at the Traditional Craft Museum, this event is, to the best of my knowledge, the only opportunity in Kyoto to interact with real Maiko for anyone who is not a VIP businessman.
This is not a tourist trap for Westerners either - the setting is quite intimate, at 28 maximum capacity (7 tables, 4 seats each). In fact, on the night of our visit, we were the only non-Japanese in the room. And as proof that there's nothing overtly sexual about Maiko or Geiko these days, the attendance included a family with a 10 year old boy, a group of female school teachers, and two Bhuddist monks! The kaiseki dinner was on par with what we had in other highly-rated places in the city. Unlimited beverage service (including alcohol) was included in the total price.
During our visit we were incredibly lucky to also meet a Geisha (Geiko), as usually only Maiko participate in the event. The reason for the Geiko's appearance might have been a crew from a Japanese Tea company photographing part of their ad campaign. Since an older Geisha who doesn't dance, plays the shamisen (three-stringed musical instrument), we ended up meeting two Geiko and a Maiko that evening!
The 2-hour dinner consists roughly of 4 parts - first, the host explains (in both Japanese and English), the various aspects of Maiko/Geiko tradition - then, the 2 Maiko (or Maiko and Geiko, if you lucky as we were), perform several dances, while the older Geiko accompanies them on the shamisen and sings. The Maiko and Geiko then go around the tables and make conversation. In our case, the Geiko did not speak English and the host acted as interpreter. Some of our questions, unfortunately, got "lost in translation", but it was still an amazing conversation. The Maiko was incredibly sweet and spoke English well enough to talk to us on her own. The last part of the evening were drinking games - everyone who wanted to, got a chance to play. I will not spoil them for you, but suffice it to say that non-alcoholic drinks were an option, and that everyone enjoyed themselves immensely - the women in the audience just as well as men.
To sum it up, the dinner was the highlight of our trip to Japan, not tacky or gimmicky at all, and worth the price to experience this unique cultural heritage.

20  Thank vladb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"kaiseki dinner"
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"drinking games"
in 13 reviews
"spoke english well enough"
in 3 reviews
"plum liquor"
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"singing and dancing"
in 2 reviews
"traditional japanese food"
in 2 reviews
"tatami mats"
in 2 reviews
"unique experience"
in 2 reviews
"tea house"
in 2 reviews
"take photos"
in 2 reviews
"shamisen"
in 5 reviews
"audience"
in 4 reviews
"performance"
in 12 reviews
"westerners"
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"chopsticks"
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Reviewed 25 December 2013

We went to the Gion Hatanaka for the Geiko and Maiko show and dinner. We learned all about the life of a Geisha and the training that goes into becoming a Geisha. The dinner was excellent Japanese styled dinner with delicious fish/sushi and all the Sake you wanted. The show was interesting and informative. We were able to talk with the Geiko and Maiko one-to-one through an English interpreter. The Russians at the next table were not so lucky. After dinner entertainment included "drinking games" with the Geiko and Maiko.

1  Thank tfisch100
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 August 2013

Longer When you live, more you have wonderful experiences.
I had really good experience when I visited a restaurant called "Hatanaka" where we could enjoy delicious Kyoto dishes while we were watching Maiko dance.
It became excellent memory of my life.

Enjoyed "Kyoto Cuisine & Maiko Evening" (http://www.kyoto-maiko.jp/index.html) at Hatanaka (http://www.thehatanaka.co.jp/index.html) in Gion with the overseas visitors!

We took a taxi to Hatanaka at 6:00pm. We have booked this Kyoto style Japanese restaurant in advance.
It located in front of Yasaka Jinja Shrine.

When we arrived at the gate of Hatanaka, the ladies wearing Kimono got out of the gate and bowed to us while saying "Welcome to Hatanaka."
I was wondering why they knew we arrived there, but it was really amazed and impressive hospitality.

When we got into the gate, we could see beautiful but small Japanese garden with pavement approaching to the entrance. There were several lanterns along side of the pavement. The garden was really beautiful in twilight from lanterns.
It was the moment we really felt we came to Kyoto!

When we got into the entrance, we saw more kimono ladies waiting for us and bowed with saying "Welcome to Hatanaka."
They took us to the room on the 3rd floor by the elevator on the back. When we got into the room, we found another room behind where the table setting was ready. In fact, it was not a room for eating but was room for rest and sleeping in the past.

At this point, we didn't know what would happen next. So we sat on the chair and we wiped our hands on the towel located on the table.

Soon a waitress with Kimono came to our table and asked "What would you like to drink?"
Following the typical Japanese way of drinking, we have ordered with beer.

There was the nest of boxes as shown on the photo attached to this review on the table in advance.

Besides the box, there was English and Japanese menu. There were a lot of Chinese characters on the Japanese menu which were really hard to read even for me Japanese.
So I couldn't expect what dishes they would serve us from now on.

When we were ready to eat at the table, a man wearing Kimono was showed up to the room. He stood in front of the folding screen in the room and explained us about what event he planed to show us in that evening.
He continued to say that "2 Maiko will show up soon."

According to him, we could see the Maiko dance while we were eating.
After the dance, the Maikos would come to our table and entertain us with some interesting conversation.
At last, we could enjoy some traditional games with Maikos.
That seemed to be the whole program of "Kyoto Cuisine & Maiko Evening".

After explaining about the schedule of the event, he explained us about the difference of "Maiko" and "Geiko", "Geisha" and "Geiko" as well as the history of Kyoto's Geiko.

"Maiko" is a girl whose age is 16 till 20 years old and is having various trainings in order to be a "Maiko" at the dwelling called "Okiya."
In fact, after graduating from junior high school, she joins at Okiya and learns about the wording of Kyoto, etiquette, dance, conventions, etc. to become a "Maiko."
According to the Maiko who came to our table, "Maiko" has no salary, but trainings for "Maiko" while she lives in Okiya Dwelling who guaranteed her living, clothing and eating. When she is 20 years old, she becomes "Geiko" and earns money.


She also explained us about her hair setting. She said once she sets her hair, she needs to keep it as it is for a week. In order to keep it during her sleep, there is special wooden pillow for sleeping. After a week, she has to set her hair again, so as a result, she sleep on the wooden pillow all the time.

Don't you think it is really hard work to become "Maiko."

The guests from overseas seemed to be enjoyed themselves eating the traditional Kyoto cuisines while watching "Maiko" dance and talk as well as some traditional plays with Maiko. They also took a lot of pictures.

The evening was really a fun with quite something.

(2012.10. 17)

Thank Machy_MSHRHGY
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 January 2011

We spent quite some time in and out of the Pontocho area trying to catch a glimpse of maiko but with no luck, we went back to our hotel near Kyoto station disappointed indeed.
Most of our trip was spent near Kyoto station, but had reserved a Maiko dinner show and stay at Gion Hatanaka for one night. This experience basically made our trip. We were also fortunate enough to see some maiko near the ryokan as it is located right in Gion.
The room was comfortable, and i was very happy to see an authentic maiko show, for a pretty reasonable price too so i hear. Having maiko entertainment regularly costs a lot more. So for this experience at this price, i was very satisfied.

1  Thank budda_girl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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