Maiko are apprentice geisha and one of the few places in the world you can see them is Kyoto. Unfortunately, there are very few Maiko left in Japan because it takes a lot of study over many years to become a geisha and the demand for them is not high these days. However, when a Japanese girl makes a sightseeing trip to Kyoto, she can recapture the romantic past by dressing up as a Maiko and walking around the picturesque city. Nabbed this picture of two girls reliving the past when we were shopping in Kyoto. What clued me in to the fact they weren't real Maiko?
- they were in full regalia in the early afternoon and Maiko work at night. During the day, they may have their hair up (they usually don't wear wigs) but wouldn't be in this type of kimono and make-up
- there wasn't anyone with them carrying their tools of the trade: shamisen, make-up box, etc.
- the girl on the right is way too tall
Although I was a bit put off with the "fake" Maiko populating Kyoto, it did make for a more interesting trip to look up and see someone stepping out of the past while I was shopping for souvenirs. For those interested in a little Maiko cosplay, the privelege will cost from $100 to $200, depending on how long you wear the kimono and how many portraits you have taken.