Japan Holiday: Kyoto Part 3
The oldest quarter of the city can be found east of the Kamogawa River, within easy access from central Kyoto, called the Gion (see photos below) and Southern Higashiyama districts. The beauty of feudal wooden architecture of what used to be homes is delightful. The best time of the day to visit, despite the crowds, spans across late afternoon to early evening. 4 of the 5 major geisha enclaves in Japan are found here, and to appreciate the gracious elegance of the traditionally kimono-clad geiko making their way to work, daylight is of the essence. From a young age, apprenticed maiko are rigorously trained in the art of music-making, dancing, and communication. A private evening of geiko entertainment, inclusive of a meal, room, and transportation is charged to the customer, with the cumulative tab presented at the month’s end. Public geiko performances are also held in distinct months in the local theatres.
The Ponto-cho’s exclusive restaurants’ and tea houses’ small shop fronts are deceiving, as some are a few stories high, with an enlarged backyard – a view only to be appreciated when one overlooks them from the bridge spanning the Kamogawa River. These eateries entertain their clients, during the warmer months, on stilted verandah extensions running parallel to the River.
Photo Credit: Zheluo Cai