1. Kyoto: Uncover the Hidden World of Japanese Maiko
Explore the Gion district of Kyoto with an expert guide and gain exclusive insight into maiko (apprentice geiko) and geiko culture. Visit a private tea house, see a traditional maiko performance, chat with your host, and enjoy a dinner with unlimited beer and sake. Meet your guide in the heart of Gion and learn about the history of maiko and geiko. Stop at the Yasaka-jinja Shrine and learn about the restaurant where the maiko tradition originated. Bask in the ambiance of Old Japan and stroll through streets lined by machiya townhouses and swaying paper lanterns. After taking in some of the ambiance of the area, step behind the noren curtains of a traditional tea house that hosts private maiko performances. Tuck into a delicious dinner of typical Japanese fare, and help yourself to unlimited beer, sake, or soft drinks before your host arrives. Greet your maiko and then experience an authentic performance, usually reserved for guests with a private invitation. Following the performance, learn a bit more about the art of hosting up close as you listen to some local music and play some fun drinking games. You will also enjoy the rare opportunity to learn firsthand about maiko and geiko history and traditions with a Q&A session with your host. Feel free to ask questions about your hosts' profession, and gain a rare insight into a hidden and oft-misunderstood world.