Gion: Traditional Geisha District in Kyoto

Gion is the district in Kyoto which is known for the Geisha culture

Kyoto’s most famous geisha district, Gion (祇園) is located in front of Yasaka Shrine around Shijo Avenue. It’s one of the most visited areas in Kyoto as it fascinates visitors with charming streetscape and rich history and culture. Let’s explore the attractions and charms of this ancient entertainment district!
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Gion has developed in the Medieval Age as one of the most exclusive entertainment districts in Japan. Part of the district has been declared a national historical preservation district and recently, the city completed to restore the streets of Gion by moving all overhead utilities underground as part of the ongoing effort to preserve the original beauty of Gion.

Gion attracts tourists with its streetscape lined with traditional wooden machiya merchant houses, which are preserved for many decades. Hanami-koji street is the most touristic street of Gion offering shops, restaurants and ochaya (teahouses), where geisha and maiko (geisha apprentices) perform shows to entertain guests. FYI, in Kyoto, geisha is called geiko.

Apart from temples and shrines, Gion and geisha culture also take big parts of Kyoto’s history and it’s a great place to explore the real colour of the city.

For the authentic Geisha and Maiko culture, it is recommended to experience these traditional activities like Geisha show or tea ceremony!

▶︎Book the exclusive Geisha Show and Gion Walking Tour!!
▶︎Book the Geisha Show and Tea Ceremony including Kimono Wearing!!

Visitors can enjoy Gion all year around but the best time to visit would be in spring when cherry blossoms are blooming. Cherry blossoms perfectly suit with the scenery of old Gion street. The most recommended view spot is by the Shirakawa Canal, which pass through the Gion district. Light-up of the trees is held during the season (late March to early April).

Or Geisha makeover is one of most popular activities in Kyoto among female travellers. You can book an English speaking makeover via the link below!

▶ Maiko Experience in Kyoto Gion

You can easily extend a visit to/from the beautiful neighbourhood of Gion district to/from Kyoto’s beautiful landmarks on foot. For example, right off the west side, you can access to the iconic river, Kamogawa and there are many cafes and restaurants at the riverbank 🙂 How about sipping green tea and watching a sunset with the gentle sound of the river?

▶ 5 Nice Viewing Cafes and Restaurants on Kamogawa River, Kyoto

-Gion Area


Access: bus No 100 or 206 from JR Kyoto station to Gion stop(20 mins)

Please check more travel information in Kyoto !!

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"The world is my oyster" A globetrotter 🌎 and hammock lover 🌞 who loves taking adventures to fuel wanderlust. Born and raised in Japan, I have lived and explored countries around the world. As a resident of Japan and based on my travel experience, I'd love to share my knowledge and tips for travelling Japan with my readers. I hope my story will help you plan your trip and have a great time in Japan 🌈