Gion in Kyoto

Gion is located around Shijo Avenue between Yasaka Shrine in the east and the Kamo River in the west. It was the geisha gathering area of Kyoto in the early period and the traditional bustling district of Kyoto. It is now not only the most famous geisha district in Kyoto, but also one of Kyoto's most popular attractions.

 

Highlights of Gion

It is Kyoto's most famous geisha district with a quaint architectural style.  You also have the opportunity to meet geisha in the street. During the day, you can spend time in the tea houses, restaurants or souvenir shops. When the lanterns are lighted in the evening, you will often encounter the rushing geisha.

 

[Ancient traditional architecture]

Most of the streets and buildings here are in old Japanese classic style. It is a great place to experience the ancient charm of Kyoto. The narrow and deep wooden structure is very distinctive. The house in structure looks like a house of 5 or 6 meters wide from the front. But in fact, it is likely to be as deep as more than 20 meters.

 

[Hanami Lane](flower-viewing lane)

Hanami Lane

Hanami Lane (flower-viewing lane), which intersects with Shijo Avenue and extends to the temple of Kennin-ji, is a popular street in Gion. On this street, you will find many tea houses with exquisite facades and unique features. There are many high-end restaurants specializing in Kaiseki cuisine.

 

[Shirakawa River]

Shirakawa River

The Shirakawa River in the north is another beautiful place in Gion, because there is a little distance from Shijo Avenue. It is quieter than the Hanami Lane(flower-viewing lane). The willows are planted on both sides of the river, and the atmosphere here is very good. Along the road, there are many high-end tea houses and restaurants. In addition, in some tea houses and restaurants , you can overlook the river.

 

[Encounter geisha]

geisha

Many tourists visit Gion only for the glimpse of the geisha. If you come to Gion at the time of sunset, you may encounter a geisha dressed up and rushed to the tea house. Because they do not directly contact the guests, they perform traditional Japanese dances in a private tea house.

 

[Appreciate the geisha performance]

geisha performance

Dining in the high-end tea house and enjoying the geisha performance can be described as expensive. But there is also a place where you can experience the geisha culture more easily - the only corner in Gion near the southern end of Hanami Lane(flower-viewing lane). This is a place that performs traditional Kyoto art, including Tea ceremony, Kyogen and Bunraku. It allows you to experience Kyoto's rich traditional culture in a performance. There is a performance every day at 6 pm and 7 pm.

 

[Wear a kimono]

kimono

In Gion, you can also find a store that sells kimono. You can wear a classical kimono that let you “transform” into a beautiful geisha. You can take a photo while sightseeing on the antique street. It will be a memories of a trip to the Gion.

 

[Experience Gion Festival]

Gion festival

Every July, There is a festival called Gion festival, which is one of the most representative festivals in Kyoto. The entire festival lasts for a month. On July 17th and July 24th, a large-scale parade will be held. The parade is called Yamaboko Junkō. At that time, people will play the music on the luxuriously decorated floats with flutes, gongs and drums. In addition, there are many souvenir shops on the streets of Gion, where you can buy incense, kimono and souvenirs.

 

How to get to Gion?

  • a. Take the "Keihan Main Line" and get off at“Gion Shijo Avenue” Station.
  • b. Take the Kyoto city bus and get off at Gion Station.

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