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Japan -> Kyoto -> Gion
Gion    Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture

Gion is Kyoto's best known geisha quarter and is also where Kabuki theater originated. You can see a performance at Minamiza Theater, Japan's oldest Kabuki theater. The main area to find restaurants, bars, and geishas is Hanami-koji (flower watching), the flowers being the geishas. Though this is a great place to spot geishas and maiko, entrance to most of these places require an introduction and substantial wealth. There are several parks and temples in the area, perfect for a stroll along the lantern-lit streets.

Geishas are professional female entertainers who are knowledgeable in traditional arts, verbal repartee, and keeping secrets. The profession dates back to the 17th century and is incredibly competitive with only three in ten make it past maiko (apprentice) to geiko (arts girls). Geishas are meant to be the epitome of womanhood, a living work of art that was shunned in Confucian virtuous life. Being a traditional geisha is an incredibly upscale profession, not to be confused with onsen geishas who offer more sexual than classical arts.

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