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Gion Geisha District

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Gion Geisha District

Gion is a district located near Yasaka Shrine and is east of the Kamo River. A long time ago the district was an area where travelers to the shrine could rest. Gion later developed to include restaurants, shops, and teahouses. It also became the area known for where you can enjoy performances by Geisha (artisan) and maiko (apprentice Geisha). The attractiveness of the place is the many traditional wooden machiya (townhouses) in the area.

In Gion the most popular area is Hanami-koji Street, which stretches from Shijo Avenue to Kenninji Temple. Along this street are many expensive restaurants that serve Kaiseki ryori (Japanese haute cuisine). It is in this area that you can find restaurants that have Geisha and maiko entertain the guests. Another scenic street is in the Shirakawa Area that is on the other side of Shijo Avenue towards Wakamatsu Street. There is a canal that runs through the area and is lined with willow trees. Like Hanami-koji Street, there are high end restaurants and teahouses, but it is less crowded compared to the other side.

Aside from restaurants there are a few shops that sell local goods like sweets, pickled food, and traditional crafts. The nearby Higashiyama District is one of the more preserved streets in Kyoto and you can find many shops selling various goods. It is a great place to pick up souvenirs that are unique to Kyoto. In July, there is the Gion Matsuri, which is one of the top three beautiful festivals in Japan. It is a festival hosted by the nearby Yasaka Shrine and is famed for the procession of floats. The floats are elaborately decorated and represent unique themes. There are some floats that are as tall as 25 meters and weigh over 12 tons. During the time of festival you can enjoy the festivities happening in the area like eating at food stalls, playing games, or trying various drinks.



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