Kyoto is the heart of Japan’s geisha world. In Kyoto however, fully-fledged geisha are known by their traditional name of Geiko – (pronounced “gay-ko”). A Geiko is a woman who is educated in traditional Japanese arts, such as music, dancing, singing, and conversation. The word Geisha literally means “a woman of the arts”.

Whether you are Japanese or a foreign visitor, it’s almost impossible to experience genuine “Geisha” entertainment in Kyoto without a personal introduction from an existing client of an established Geisha house, (known as an Oki-ya). Most foreign visitors to Japan experience Geiko or Maiko, (an apprentice), in one of two ways. Either by waiting in known “Geisha spots” hoping for a glimpse as she scurries into a teahouse, or through organised tours which consist of a dinner show, watching a dance performance before sneaking a quick photo along with 100 other people on the same tour. Our experience is different. Why?

Firstly our tour is an up-close and personal experience (maximum 6 guests). Not only do we have the rare opportunity to interact with a genuine Geiko for 3 full hours, but we also get to experience a small part of her everyday life as she walks with us through her own working district, visiting a local Shinto shrine along the way. Here we will learn Japanese shrine etiquette first hand before touring this impressive sight, stopping for multiple photo opportunities. As an added bonus she shares with us the secrets of making the perfect bowl of matcha tea in a 115 year old traditional Kyoto townhouse. You will be encouraged to participate in making this centuries old recipe, before enjoying your handy work with a traditional Japanese (wagashi) sweet. You will have time to ask questions about her lifestyle, daily activities & what it means to carry on such a revered and ancient tradition.

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to delve into the unique and mysterious world of a geisha. Having your very own geisha accompany you through her world, is not only a great honour but without doubt the quintessential Kyoto experience that you will remember forever.


  • Personal audience with a working geisha
  • Photo opportunities with a geisha
  • Guided tour through Kyoto’s oldest geisha district
  • Guided tour of Kitano Tenmangu Shrine
  • Hands on Matcha Tea experience
  • Afternoon tea with geisha, including Japanese sweets
  • Stay in a 110 year old traditional “machiya” (Kyoto Townhouse)


From $850 per person (based on double occupancy in low season)

Fast Facts

Hotel Inclusions:

  • 3 nights accommodation in Kyoto (Japanese style room with western toilet)

Tour Inclusions:

  • English speaking guide
  • Small group (2-6 people)
  • Formal introduction to Geiko (geisha)
  • Tour of Kitano Tenmangu Shrine with Geiko
  • Afternoon tea
  • Tour of Kamishichiken (Kyoto’s oldest geisha district) with Geiko
  • Matcha Tea making demonstration by Geiko
  • Question and answer time with Geiko using a translator

Not Included:

  • Transport to/from the meeting point
  • Souvenirs and items of a personal nature
  • Gratuities for your guide
  • All meals except an afternoon tea on the guided tour

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Tour Details

  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Meeting time: 12pm
  • Finish time: 3pm
  • Start location: Jam Jar Lounge and Inn
  • End Location: Jam Jar Lounge and Inn
  • Transport: Walking
  • Please bring: Comfortable walking shoes and a camera
  • Group Size: 2-6 people

Hotel Overview

Housed in a 110 year old traditional “machiya” (Kyoto Townhouse), Jam Jar Lounge & Inn offers boutique style accommodation with a café lounge area with free Wi-Fi. Seamlessly combining modern design without compromising the integrity of its original Japanese ambience, each room has its own private bathroom and has been meticulously finished to pay homage to this unique Kyoto style of building. Combine this with an on-site English speaking café serving real espresso coffee and imported Australian wines, and you have a unique opportunity to experience Kyoto life through the eyes of its locals, while still enjoying everything this historic city has to offer.

*Please note that this hotel has Japanese style bedding. You will sleep on futons on the floor. Each room has private western style bathroom and toilet.

In the event that this hotel is unavailable on your preferred dates, another hotel of similar standard will be offered to you. If you prefer another hotel of a different standard, please enquire with our staff for suggestions on a property suited to your needs. Pricing will vary depending on the hotel, room type and season.

Customer reviews

I have had the privilege of travelling to Japan on five occasions over the past five years. I can truly say that the “Geiko” Tour has most definitely been the highlight of all my adventures in Japan. Umeha-san can only be described as ‘ethereal’. What a privilege to have been in her company, and what a delightful afternoon we had. So many questions answered about the little-known life of a Geisha – and my goodness what she produced from her tiny bag – it reminded me of Mary Poppins! Please don’t miss this gorgeous afternoon.

Christine Coles  

This tour was an amazing experience. We had the opportunity to ask countless questions about a geiko’s life, attire, makeup and ceremonies. We learnt about rituals and history of the Temple and history of the district Kamishichiken. This was all achieved on a leisurely walk through the area with Ume Ha San and the interpreter. Ume Ha San was gracious, elegant, thoughtful, helpful and fun to be with. The 3 hours passed far too quickly. Of all the cultural experiences we had in Japan, this was definitely the highlight.


How to book

Contact our experienced specialists Rosalind and Andrea to discuss your city break needs.

Phone: (03) 5973 5413

Email: [email protected]

Andrea Johnson