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?
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.
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.
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!!!
..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
- 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!