Geisha are one of the most misunderstood pieces of the Japanese cultural puzzle. These traditional Japanese entertainers are trained in various Japanese arts—dance, music, and the tea ceremony. Here’s what you need to know about geisha culture in Tokyo.
What is a Geisha?
The Japanese geisha tradition dates back to the 18th century, and modern-day geisha continue to undergo a rigorous apprenticeship in geisha houses that include lessons in song, historic dances, Japanese musical instruments, and the intricacies of the traditional tea ceremony. While there’s a common misconception in the West that geishas are prostitutes, this is not the case. A real geisha projects a sense of feminine perfection and are successful based on their talents at entertaining.
Ways to Experience Geisha Culture in Tokyo
Kyoto may be considered the most famous Japanese city for geisha districts, but you’ll find them in several areas of Tokyo as well. It’s common to see geisha strolling along the cobbled streets of Tokyo’s Kagurazaka neighborhood, and travelers looking for a taste of Japanese entertainment can book an authentic geisha performance over tea or a multi-course meal. For something a little different, opt for a private shopping tour with a geisha or sit down for a private lunch with one.