Gion is one of Kyoto’s most beautiful and historic neighborhoods. Known as the entertainment hub of Kyoto City, Gion is home to quaint traditional houses (called “machiya”), streets and architecture. We will visit 3 main “hanamachi” (literally “flower districts” or geisha districts) in the area, including Ponto-cho, an atmospheric narrow alley that is extremely photogenic. Lined with several local bars and restaurants, the alley is very popular amongst locals and foreigners alike, because of how alluring it looks at night.
We will also pay a visit to Hanamikoji, a famous street patronized by hundreds of tourists daily. Fear not about having to rush with the touristy crowd though, as we will be visiting it through a hidden side street to have a glimpse of Gion’s well-preserved landscape and indulge in its historic nature.
Gion is famously known as the geisha district, and Geisha or Maiko are sometimes seen walking to or from their engagements in the area. Many people often visit Gion at night to catch a glimpse of them, and if you are lucky, you just might be able to spot a Geisha or a Maiko walking down the picturesque streets! Don’t worry about struggling to differentiate between the two, as you will learn about the intrinsic culture and system of the Geisha and the Maiko, alongside their cultural significance to Gion.
After a 75-minute walk, we will end the night at one of my favorite local Japanese whisky bars, which serves up a large variety of Japanese alcoholic drinks. These include Japanese sake, shochu, local beer and various kinds of soft drinks. With a large variety, you will be sure to find your favorite Japanese drink in no time! Japanese bar snacks will also be provided to complement your choice of drink. To conclude the night, we will take a short stroll back to Sanjo Station and enjoy the remnants of the cool evening Gion air.
Meeting Point and Meeting Time
Meeting point address: Exit 5 of Sanjo Station on the Keihan or Tozai Line
Meeting instructions: Meet in front of Exit 5 of Sanjo Station on the Keihan or Tozai Line
Wear comfortable shoes because there will be walking involved