Take a walk through the mysterious alleyways of Kyoto’s Gion district to an ochaya tea house. After being welcomed, you are led into a traditional tatami-mat room. Suddenly, the fusuama doors slide open and you are face to painted face with a geisha.
After carefully preparing the tea, the geisha will invite you to slurp it down in one to show your appreciation. There will be a translator on hand, enabling you to freely ask questions and gain a unique insight into this often-misunderstood way of life. You will then be invited to play classic Japanese games, before a traditional geisha dance is performed.
The world of the geisha is still shrouded in mystery. These graceful, highly skilled ladies practise for many years first as an apprentice, known as a maiko, before graduating to become a geisha. Dressed in the traditional kimono, they spend years practising traditional arts such as fan dancing and tea ceremony.
Usually reserved for the elite businessmen and foreign luminaries, this is an exclusive encounter which few have the chance to experience.