For our final tour for the day, we opted for a demonstration of  the geisha arts and a traditional Kyoto meal. Here, we are about to enter a theater in the historical geisha quarters of Gion.

We scored excellent seats in the front row. Just before the curtain rose, the tour guide introduced the maiko (a geisha in training). Too bad we had no idea what she was saying since it was all in Japanese. However, I did pick up the maiko's name since she repeated it several times.

The curtain opened and we were introduced to Yoko, a maiko performing a Kyo-mai dance. This style of dance is also called Kamigata-mai and is unique to Kyoto. the accompanying shamisen music is called jiuta, and is also unique to Kyoto. This flowing movement and style was popular with the court ladies of old Kyoto and the skill was expressed through posture and devices like the the sash and folding fan.


Next we stopped at a restaurant for our Kyoto style meal. It was pretty much the usual fare, sashimi, tofu, vegetables, fruit, rice and green tea.

Our last stop was a tea ceremony performance in the Shimabara district of Kyoto. Jennifer and I were the only gaijin (foreigners) in the entire tour bus. I suspect that was the reason I was asked to participate in the tea ceremony. One of the guides who spoke English stood near and prompted me as to the procedure. During the ceremony, the woman at the far right would prepare the tea in the proper tradition and then the girl would serve them to me and then take away the dishes afterwards.