Going Geisha in Tokyo

If you go to a far away and super expensive place with limited time, do things that are unique and that cannot be done anywhere else.

I planned to see Hello Kitty’s house, Mt. Fuji, the cherry blossoms in Spring, Harajuku and to dress up as a Geisha!I planned this activity 2 months in advance. There are various studios offering different packages where they dress you up, do the make-up and have a professional photo shoot in a studio and outside. This all depends on the studios.I did the whole package with the indoor professional shoot and outdoors by the main temple in Asakusa with printed pics etc.
They even had some pics of previous celeb clients who also came and did this fun experience while in Japan(like my fave glam Queen Betsy Johnson!!).

What are Geisha?

IMG_3377 Geisha’s were once considered artists in Japan, with their main home being situated in Kyoto. Everything about geisha life was well orchestrated, and students had to learn to excel in their chosen field of art from dancing to music. Geisha’s were used mainly for entertaining, and it became an art and very unique experience to dine and have tea with them. Geisha’s business was the reservation and reflection of the rich culture Japan had created through style, mannerisms, fashion, music, drama and socialising.

During the World War 2, geisha’s got looped in with the perception of prostitution, as many of the prostitutes and houses would dress up similar or like a geisha for foreign customers, who were mainly soldiers.

However, being a geisha was once an honourable profession for a woman in Japan, which had roots deep in Japanese culture, especially concerning the arts and its preservation within the culture.

Getting ready>

First, you get to choose the kimono you want and which make-up style you want. Make-up is done for about 20-30 min. Here is a look at the process:

Then the wig is put on, and you choose which hair accessories you’d like. There are hair accessories for the geisha-in -training known as the maiko, and there are accessories for the geisha :

After about 30 minutes, from make-up, and accessorising, this is your end result. The wig and all it’s accessories are rather heavy.


The Photo Shoot:


You will first take photos insid the studio. The set is set up with some typical Japanese props  that make a little scene in the background. You will do some shots sitting or kneeling on tatami mats in front of a screen with a shamisen. The shamisen is tradional instrument that is popular with geisha.


Venturing out

After the indoor shoot, you get to walk down the street to the temple in Asakuska I was lucky, it was a beautiful Spring day in Tokyo.

You don’t have to follow every step asked from the photographer, you can also give your own input. I didn’t just stick to certain poses or expressions or scenes at the temple. I saw lots of nice scenery in the streets of Tokyo as I walked to the Temple where I asked to have some photos taken, such as the garage door with cool graffiti on, or in front of the flower and manga book shops. If you feel a certain background looks like a good idea, let them know, they are more than happy to try new stuff too!

You get all the photos taken from the day from the photographer so make it work!

At the Temple

Dressing up and getting to take pictures around Asakusa Temple was definitely the highlight. While the streets offer a more edgier look to contrast your costume, the temple highlights the kimono with it’s traditional design and harmony as a background. I couldn;t get enough of the little bridge and red parasol. The highlights of deep red in the buildings also  brought out the kimono’s beautiful patterns and designs.


Some behind the scenes ^.^

The organiser Maho and photographer Cece were very helpful and friendly and made the whole experience oodles of fun.
Thank you Maho and Cece! This was one of the coolest things I ever did!!!

I did my shoot with Kichi Experience (Cocomo Studios). You can check out their website here at:


..and their blog: http://www.japanconcierge.blogspot.jp/2012/08/kimono-photo-shooting-in-asakusa-in.html
You can email Maho for reservations in English and more information at:
For more: http://www.cocomo1.net/maiko/voice/voice.html

Travel Tips:

  • Be prepared to have many tourists come running up to you for a picture with you. Luckily, you get helped by Maho and Cece as you wobble your way in those geisha shoes down the road.
  •  It’s best to do this in the weekday when the temple and roads are less crowded.
  • On a last note, you are given a CD with all your pics. Sometimes it’s not Mac friendly, then do bring you USB as a backup!

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28 thoughts on “Going Geisha in Tokyo

    1. Thank you. I have included their email in the post. There’s lots of kimonos to choose from. the whole thing is a blast, and really unique way to experience Japan! Good luck.

  1. You looks absolutely incredible! I love your kimono and all the geisha accessories. Was the make-up heavy? It looks it. I would love to recreate this experience and photoshoot if I ever visit!

  2. wow what a unique way to learn about the culture. I am sure going through the whole process of getting make up and walking in those shoes really showed you what many girls do on a daily basis. And it seems like a fun thing to do!

  3. This looks like SO MUCH FUN! I will def be doing this when I visit Japan 🙂 I think the Japanese history is so fascinating, I really love the movies associated with it too & didn’t realize it was actually an honorable profession back in the day. Makes me sad it was twisted in a way that that rich part of their culture actually died out. Are there still Geisha’s that are like this, or more paid actors/actresses now?

  4. Oh this definitely something interesting and unique. I am sure you had loads of fun. I cant wait to go to japan nd experience this first hand. You look amazing it all the pictures.

  5. wow, you look terrific… I mean that is pretty authentic.
    You could easily have made into the cast of Memoirs of a Geisha with this get up. Those Japanese umbrellas also have a charm of their own.

  6. I love wearing traditional costume where-ever I go. I did that in Northern Finland with Sami people.I would definately try this whenever I visit Japan. The whole process of getting ready and get clicked wearing Japanese costumes and become a geisha is simply awesome. Thanks for the post.

  7. I’ve always loved this – to be a Geisha at least for a day. I love to watch historical japan and Korean movies and seeing these geishas with heavy body accessories(especially the wig) excites me. This is one of my ‘must do’ when I visit Japan or Korea.

  8. This is indeed a totally different experience altogether. I am sure you enjoyed it. Geisha’s are so fascinating and I am sure it is not easy to carry of their costumes and all that make up. But you make for a fine and authentic Geisha.

  9. This is an interesting topic for a post. I suppose the whole experience is much more than getting dressed and taking a few pictures. You reminded me of the book, ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’. Have you read it?

    1. haha yes I read it Punita. However I really didn’t like it. I feel a book like that needs to be written by the actual person who has lived through it. i found the story a bit too sensational.

  10. This looks like a fun and immersive experience! Love reading about Geisha and how they are intwined with the Japanese culture. It’s always great to preserve culture through activities/ attractions like this. You look lovely in kimono btw! 😉

  11. What a fun experience! I love the whole historical aspect of traditional geishas and the meaning behind the kimonos and accessories. I had read about the wig being so heavy that many geishas had problems with losing their real hair.

  12. I did most of things on my last visit to Japan, except spotting the real Geisha’s, I know there are some events than we can attend where Geisha’s do perform, but spotting them on own would have been a adventure and you dressed up like Geisha surely it would have been amazing experience it.

  13. You look quite stunning as a Geisha. It seems like a lot of hard work to get dressed this way. Why I think I might lose patience with the make-up itself. 20 mins is an awfully long time. However, the result is so worth it and am glad you have caught all that as a memory. Cheers

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