Gion (祇園) is part of the Higashiyama or “Eastern Mountain” area of Kyoto. It’s one of the famous geisha (called “geiko” in Kyoto) districts in the city, stretching from Yasaka Shrine in the east to the Kamo River in the west, and from the Shirakawa Canal in the north to Kenninji Temple in the south.
Not the only geisha district left in Japan, Gion is a collection of streets defined by its traditional wooden merchant houses, beautifully illuminated by glittering neon lights and exclusive Japanese restaurants.
Catching a glimpse of a geiko, with her white face and beautiful kimono, rushing to an appointment in the narrow streets of Kyoto’s Gion district is a moment of pure magic.
But, the ultimate experience in Gion is being entertained by a maiko (apprentice) or geiko while dining at an ochaya (teahouse).