tourist map of gion

Gion (�_��) is Kyoto 's most famous geisha district, located around Shijo Avenue between Yasaka Shrine in the east and the Kamo River in the west. It is filled with shops, restaurants and ochaya (teahouses), where geiko (Kyoto dialect for geisha) and maiko (geiko apprentices) entertain.

Gion attracts tourists with its high concentration of traditional wooden machiya merchant houses. Due to the fact that property taxes were formerly based upon street frontage, the houses were built with narrow facades only five to six meters wide, but extend up to twenty meters in from the street.

The most popular area of Gion is Hanami-koji Street from Shijo Avenue to Kenninji Temple . A nice (and expensive) place to dine, the street and its side alleys are lined with preserved machiya houses many of which now function as restaurants, serving Kyoto-style kaiseki ryori (Japanese haute cuisine) and other types of local and international meals.

Interspersed among the restaurants are a number of ochaya (teahouses), exclusive and expensive of Kyoto 's dining establishments, where guests are entertained by maiko and geiko .

tourist map of gion

Another scenic part of Gion is the Shirakawa area which runs along the Shirakawa Canal parallel to Shijo Avenue. The canal is lined by willow trees, high class restaurants and ochaya, many of which have rooms overlooking the canal. The Shirakawa area is typically somewhat quieter than Hanami-koji Street.

Many tourists visit Gion hoping to catch a glimpse of a geiko or maiko on their way to or from an engagement at an ochaya in the evenings or while running errands during the day. However, if you spot a geiko or maiko, act respectfully. Complaints about tourists behaving like ruthless paparazzi have been numerous in recent decades.

tourist map of gion

The ultimate experience is being entertained by a maiko or geiko while dining at an ochaya . As expert hostesses, maiko and geiko ensure everyone's enjoyment by engaging in light conversation, serving drinks, leading drinking games and performing traditional dance.

The services of geiko are expensive and exclusive, traditionally requiring an introduction from an existing customer. In recent years, however, some travel agencies and hotels have started to offer lunch or dinner packages with a maiko to any tourist with a sufficient budget. There are even a few companies which target foreign tourists without Japanese language skills.

tourist map of gion

A more accessible experience is the cultural show held everyday at Gion Corner at the end of Hanami-koji. Aimed at foreign tourists, the show is a highly concentrated introduction to several traditional Japanese arts and include short performances of a tea ceremony , ikebana , bunraku , Kyogen comic plays and dances performed by real maiko. If you are in Kyoto in April, check out the Miyako Odori with daily dance performances by maiko.

Shijo Avenue, which bisects the Gion district, is a popular shopping area with stores selling local products including sweets , pickles and crafts. Gion is also known for the Gion Matsuri , the most famous festival in Japan. Ironically, the most spectacular events of the festival are held outside of Gion on the opposite side of the Kamo River.

A visit to Gion is best combined with a stroll through the nearby Higashiyama District between Yasaka Shrine and Kiyomizudera . This area has more preserved streets and traditional shops selling all kinds of local foods, crafts and souvenirs.

tourist map of gion

Getting there and around

Gion can be reached from Kyoto Station by bus number 206 (20 minutes, 230 yen). Get off at Gion bus stop. Alternatively, the closest train stations are Gion-Shijo Station on the Keihan Line and Kyoto-Kawaramachi Station on the Hankyu Line.

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Gion Guide: What to See, Eat and Do In Kyoto’s Geisha District

Gion is a district in Kyoto, Japan, that is famous for its traditional architecture, historic landmarks, and geisha culture. With its charming streets, historic temples, and traditional tea houses, Gion offers a glimpse into the past that is hard to find anywhere else in the world.

With so much to see and do, in this unique area, it can be hard to know where to start out. That’s why this Gion guide is here to help.

Gion Kyoto

In this guide, you will find everything you need to know about visiting Gion, Kyoto, including the best time to go, the top attractions to see, and tips for experiencing the geisha culture.

Whether you’re interested in exploring the historic streets of Gion, learning about Japanese culture, or simply soaking up the atmosphere, this Gion guide has got you covered. So, sit back, relax, and get ready to discover everything you need to know about visiting Gion, Kyoto.

History of Gion

Gion Kyoto

Gion is one of the most famous districts in Kyoto, Japan, known for its traditional architecture, tea houses, and geisha culture. The area has a rich history dating back to the 8th century when it was established as a temple town. Over time, Gion became a hub for entertainment and culture, attracting artists, writers, and performers.

During the Edo period, Gion was a bustling center for kabuki theater and other forms of entertainment. It was also during this time that the geisha culture began to flourish in Gion. Geishas are traditional female entertainers who are skilled in various arts, such as dancing, singing, and playing instruments. They are known for their elaborate makeup and clothing, and for their ability to entertain guests with conversation and performances.

Today, Gion is a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors from all over the world who come to experience the traditional culture and architecture of Kyoto. While the district has undergone some changes over the years, it still retains much of its historic charm and should be on your list of things to do in Kyoto without a doubt.

Gion is divided into two main areas: the southern Higashiyama area and the northern Kitayama area. The Higashiyama area is known for its traditional architecture and historic sites, while the Kitayama area is more modern and commercial.

Culture of Gion

Gion Kyoto

Gion is a district located in the eastern part of Kyoto, Japan. It is known as the most famous geisha district in the city and is a popular tourist destination. The district is located near the Kamo River and is divided into two areas, Gion-Shinbashi and Gion-Kobu. Gion-Shinbashi is in the northern part of the district, while Gion-Kobu is in the southern part.

Gion is a place where you can experience traditional Japanese culture. The district is known for its preserved architecture, which includes traditional wooden buildings and narrow streets. The area is also famous for its teahouses, where geisha entertain guests with traditional music, dance, and conversation.

The culture of Gion is deeply rooted in the traditional Japanese arts. Visitors can experience various traditional Japanese arts, such as tea ceremonies, flower arrangements, and calligraphy. The district is also known for its seasonal festivals, such as the Gion Matsuri, which is held in July and is one of the most famous festivals in Japan. The festival features a parade of floats and is a celebration of the culture and history of Kyoto.

Things to Do in Gion

Gion is a historic district in Kyoto that is known for its traditional architecture, teahouses, and geisha culture. There are plenty of things to do in Gion, whether you are interested in exploring its history or experiencing its vibrant nightlife.

1. Visit Yasaka Shrine

Yasaka Shrine

One of the most popular attractions in Gion is Yasaka Shrine, which is located at the eastern end of Shijo-dori. This shrine is dedicated to the Shinto deity of war and is known for its colorful lanterns and festive atmosphere. Visitors can also participate in traditional Japanese rituals, such as washing their hands and mouth at the purification fountain.

2. Stroll Down Hanami Lane

Gion Kyoto

Hanami Lane is a narrow street lined with traditional wooden buildings and lanterns. It is a great place to take a leisurely stroll and admire the architecture. Visitors can also stop at one of the many teahouses along the way for a cup of matcha tea and a sweet treat.

3. See a Geisha Performance

Gion is famous for its geisha culture, and visitors can experience it firsthand by attending a geisha performance. The Gion Corner theater offers daily shows that showcase traditional Japanese arts, such as flower arrangement and tea ceremony, as well as a geisha dance performance.

4. Explore Kenninji Temple

Kenninji Temple is a Zen temple that was founded in 1202. It is known for its beautiful gardens, which feature a pond, a waterfall, and a rock garden. Visitors can also admire the temple’s impressive architecture, which includes a large gate and a main hall with a thatched roof.

5. Shop for Souvenirs

Gion is a great place to shop for souvenirs, with many stores selling traditional Japanese goods such as tea sets, fans, and kimono. Visitors can also find unique items such as handmade pottery and artisanal sweets.

Gion’s Famous Festivals

Gion Kyoto

Gion is known for its vibrant festivals that take place throughout the year. Here are some of the most famous festivals that you shouldn’t miss:

Gion Matsuri

The Gion Matsuri is one of the most famous festivals in Japan and takes place every July. It originated in the 9th century as a purification ritual to appease the gods during a plague epidemic. Today, the festival is a celebration of Kyoto’s culture and history, and it attracts millions of visitors from all over the world.

The festival is famous for its colorful floats, called yamaboko, that are paraded through the streets of Kyoto. The floats are decorated with intricate tapestries and are pulled by teams of men dressed in traditional clothing. The festival also features traditional music, dance performances, and food stalls.

Miyako Odori

The Miyako Odori is a dance performance that takes place in April at the Gion Kobu Kaburenjo Theater. The performance features geiko and maiko (apprentice geiko) dancers and showcases traditional Japanese dance and music.

The performance is held in a beautiful theater that is decorated with cherry blossoms, and it is a great way to experience Kyoto’s traditional culture.  The Miyako Odori is one of the most popular events in Kyoto during the spring season.

Jidai Matsuri

The Jidai Matsuri is a historical parade that takes place in October and celebrates Kyoto’s rich history. The parade features over 2,000 participants dressed in historical costumes, and it starts at the Imperial Palace and ends at the Heian Shrine.

The parade represents different periods of Kyoto’s history, and it is a great way to learn about the city’s past. The Jidai Matsuri is one of the three biggest festivals in Kyoto and is a must-see event for history buffs.

Where to Stay in Gion

Gion Kyoto

Gion is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Kyoto, so it’s no surprise that there are plenty of accommodation options available. Whether you’re looking for a luxury hotel or a budget-friendly hostel, Gion has something to offer.

One of the best options for those looking for a traditional Japanese experience is to stay in a ryokan, a type of Japanese inn. There are several ryokans located in Gion, including the Gion Hatanaka , which offers traditional Japanese-style rooms and a hot spring bath.

For those looking for a more modern hotel experience, there are several options available as well. The Hyatt Regency Kyoto is a popular choice for something posh, offering spacious rooms and a range of amenities, including a fitness center and an indoor pool.

If you’re on a budget, there are several hostels and guesthouses located in Gion. The Hostel Kyoto Gion is a popular choice, offering dormitory-style rooms and private rooms at affordable prices.

It’s important to note that Gion can be a busy and crowded area, so be sure to book your accommodation in advance to ensure availability. Additionally, some accommodations may have strict rules regarding noise and behavior, so be sure to check the rules before booking.

Getting Around Gion

Gion is a compact area that can be easily explored on foot. However, visitors can also take advantage of the following transportation options:

  • Buses: Kyoto City Bus #206 and #100 run through Gion and stop at many of the district’s major attractions. Visitors can purchase a one-day bus pass for unlimited rides.
  • Taxis: Taxis are readily available in Gion, and are a convenient option for those who prefer not to walk or take public transportation. However, they can be expensive, especially during peak tourist season.
  • Bicycle rentals: Visitors can rent bicycles from various rental shops in Kyoto and explore Gion at their own pace.

Note that Gion’s narrow streets can become congested with foot traffic, especially during peak tourist season. Visitors should be prepared to walk slowly and be mindful of others while exploring the district.

Additionally, visitors should be aware that some areas of Gion are off-limits to vehicles, including taxis and buses. These areas are clearly marked with signs and visitors should take care to respect these restrictions.

Overall, visitors to Gion have a variety of transportation options available to them, whether they prefer to walk, take public transportation, or rent a bicycle. By being mindful of others and respecting local restrictions, visitors can explore Gion with ease and enjoy all that this historic district has to offer.

Gion’s Cuisine and Dining Options

Gion Kyoto

Gion offers a wide range of dining options, from traditional Japanese cuisine to international flavors. Visitors can find everything from small neighborhood shops to fine-dining spots lining the main streets.

One of the most popular dishes in Gion is Kaiseki, a traditional multi-course Japanese meal that showcases the freshest seasonal ingredients. Many restaurants in Gion offer Kaiseki, including the famous Gion Karyo, which has been serving traditional Kyoto-style Kaiseki for over 150 years.

Gion Kyoto

For those looking for a more casual dining experience, Gion has many street food stalls and small shops selling local delicacies. One must-try dish is the Yatsuhashi, a sweet treat made of glutinous rice flour and filled with various flavors such as cinnamon, green tea, and strawberry.

For those looking for international flavors, Gion has many options as well. Visitors can find Italian, French, and other international cuisines in the area. One recommended restaurant is La Bisboccia, an Italian restaurant that offers a cozy atmosphere and delicious pizza and pasta dishes.

Shopping in Gion

Gion is known for its traditional shops selling all kinds of Kyoto souvenirs, such as tea, pottery, and sweets. One of the most popular shopping streets in Gion is Shijo Dori, which is dedicated to the world of geisha. Here, visitors can find shops selling traditional Japanese clothing, accessories, and cosmetics.

Another popular shopping destination in Gion is Hanamikoji Dori, a street lined with traditional machiya (townhouses) that have been converted into shops, restaurants, and teahouses. Visitors can find a variety of souvenirs here, including Japanese-style sandals, fans, and paper lanterns.

For those interested in antiques, Gion is home to several antique shops that specialize in Japanese art and artifacts. One such shop is the Kiyomizu Sannenzaka Museum, which features a collection of antique ceramics, lacquerware, and textiles.

Note that many shops in Gion close early, around 6pm, so visitors should plan their shopping accordingly. Additionally, some shops may not allow photography or may have strict rules about handling merchandise, so visitors should be respectful and follow any posted guidelines.

Tips for Visiting Gion

Gion Kyoto

Visiting Gion can be an unforgettable experience, but it’s important to be prepared before you go. Here are a few tips to help make your visit to Gion enjoyable:

  • Plan your visit for the evening when the streets are lit up with lanterns and the geiko and maiko are more likely to be out and about.
  • Be respectful of the geiko and maiko. Do not touch them or take their pictures without permission. Taking pictures of them without permission is considered rude and intrusive.
  • Be prepared to walk a lot. Gion is a walking district, so it’s important to wear comfortable shoes and be prepared for a lot of walking.
  • Try the local cuisine. Gion has many restaurants and food stalls that offer traditional Japanese cuisine, including sushi, tempura, and yakitori.

Note that Gion is a popular tourist destination, so it can get crowded, especially during peak tourist season. Be patient and respectful of other visitors, and be prepared for crowds.

Overall, visiting Gion can be a wonderful experience, but it’s important to be respectful of the local customs and traditions, and to be prepared for the crowds and walking required to fully experience the district.

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Kyoto Gion Walking Guide: Top 10 Must-See Areas for First-Time Visitors

The Kyoto Gion district is a famous “hanamachi” geisha district and an excellent place to experience the atmosphere of ancient Kyoto. Starting from Gion -Shijo Station on the Keihan Railway, you can enjoy the beautiful scenery and casually stroll around Gion Shopping Street, Hanamikouji Street, and Yasaka Shrine . Here are ten fascinating spots to visit on a walking tour of the area.

What is the Kyoto Gion area like?

How to get to the kyoto gion area, walking around kyoto gion, 1. kamogawa riverbed, 2. gion shopping street, 3. hanamikouji street, 4. gion kobu kaburenjo theater, 5. kenninji temple, 6. yasui konpiragu, 7. yasaka shrine, 8. shirakawa (ipponbashi), 9. tatsumi bridge and tatsumi daimyojin, 10. shinbashi dori and shirakawa minami dori, the gion neighborhood is fun to walk around, book an authentic maiko and geisha experience in kyoto gion.

What is the Kyoto Gion area like?

Gion ’s Yasaka Shrine was formerly known as “Gionsha” with extensive grounds covering the current location and the entire Kamogawa area. As a result, the area around the shrine came to be known as “ Gion .” Modern Gion has a dual-character, serving as a tourist destination with its old-fashioned atmosphere and a “hanamachi” (literally "flower district") the Japanese term for districts where Maiko and Geisha live and entertain teahouse guests. Visiting tourists can easily experience the atmosphere of Kyoto, and enjoy the best food at local restaurants. In the hanamachi, “ozashiki asobi” and other geisha games afford guests the opportunity to witness the dancing and artistry of Maiko and Geisha while dining. However, entry to such tea parlors is very strict, with most would-be patrons immediately turned away. Even Japanese people cannot enter without an introduction from a current patron. Below we will share a few spots where you can nevertheless enjoy this ancient tradition for yourself.

How to get to the Kyoto Gion area

The closest station to Kyoto Gion is Gion -Shijo Station on the Keihan Railway. Exiting the station via the 3rd, 4th, 6th, and 7th exits will lead you to Shijo Dori and Gion Shopping Street, which leads to Yasaka Shrine . To get to Gion -Shijo Station from Osaka, take the Keihan Main Line Limited Express for 45 to 50 minutes from Temmabashi Station or Yodoyabashi Station (one-way fare 420 yen). From JR Kyoto Station , take the JR Nara line to Tofukuji and change to the Keihan train (about 20 minutes, 290 yen one way). You can also ride the Hankyu Line from Kyoto Kawaramachi Station and then walk about 5-10 minutes to Gion .

Here are ten noteworthy tourist sites near Gion -Shijo Station, along Hanamikouji Street, and around Yasaka Shrine .

1. Kamogawa riverbed

To start your tour, head to Kamogawa from any of Gion -Shijo Station’s exits. The Kamo River is about 23km long and flows from north to south through Kyoto. The riverbed has a promenade that’s perfect for running and walking. There are also small benches in the shaded area under the nearby bridge, where you can relax while watching the river flow past.

  • Address Kyoto

Admission: Free

2. Gion Shopping Street

Shijo Dori, the main street that runs from Kamogawa to Yasaka Shrine , is known as “ Gion Shopping Street,” and is home to a myriad of restaurants and souvenir shops . The covered sidewalk makes it a beautiful place to walk, even in bad weather.

Chugenji Temple is said to be beneficial to the eyes (worship time: 7:00 - 20:00)

All along the street, there are well-established tea shops, cafés, and sweet shops where you can eat Japanese sweets , including the Saryotsujiri tea shop, famous for its green tea parfaits. A well-known destination, the sidewalk is crowded with people waiting in line to enter during peak tourist season .

  • Address Gionmachi Minamigawa, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, 605-0074

Hours: Vary by store

3. Hanamikouji Street

As you walk toward Yasaka Shrine on Gion Shopping Street, you’ll see a charming side street on your right. This is the famous Hanamikouji. The stone-paved road is lined with buildings unique to Kyoto known as “Kyomachiya,” many of which feature vermilion “bengaragoushi” lattices and “inuyarai” protective fences below their eaves. When the sun sets, the shops and street lights create a magical atmosphere. Geisha and Maiko entertain guests in Gion ’s ancient teahouses, the most prestigious of which, Ichirikitei, bears an impressive presence. There are many private streets along Hanamikouji, with numerous “no photography allowed” signs posted. You may be able to see Maiko and Geisha walking down the road, but it’s advisable to walk quietly and maintain the dignity of Kyoto by not taking photos, and instead committing these unique images to memory.

  • Address Gionmachi Minamigawa, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto 605-0074

4. Gion Kobu Kaburenjo Theater

If you walk south on the main street of Hanamikouji, you’ll eventually arrive at Gion Kobu Kaburenjo Theater, renowned for its spring “Mito Odori” and autumn “Onsenkai” Maiko and Geisha dance performances. Although in 2020 it is currently closed for earthquake-resistant repairs, the theater’s beautiful exterior is worth a visit even if you can’t enter.

tourist map of gion

“ Gion Corner” is part of Yasaka Kaikan, adjacent to Gion Kobu Kaburenjo. There you can experience traditional performing arts such as “Kyomai,” a dance that originated in Kyoto; “Gagaku,” one of the oldest forms of music in the world; and “Kyogen” social satire, all in about one hour. Performances are held twice daily at 6:00 and 7:00 pm (Friday to Sunday and holidays only from December to the second week of March), and tickets can be purchased at the front counter. It's an excellent place to visit between walks and get in touch with traditional arts .

  • Address 570-2 Gionmachi Minamigawa, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, 605-0074

Hours: Temporarily closed for renovation Admission: Please refer to official website

5. Kenninji Temple

From Gion Kobu Kaburenjo, go back to Hanamikouji and head a bit further south until you reach Kenninji Temple . The oldest Zen temple in Kyoto, it houses the national treasure screen painting “Fujin Raijinzu” depicting the Shinto wind and thunder gods. There is also a Karesui-style Japanese rock garden with such serenity will make you forget it’s located in the heart of the city. On the second Sunday of every month, guests can participate in zazen meditation starting from 7:30. Anyone is welcome, there is no participation fee, and no reservation is required (Please note that the service may be canceled due to various circumstances so be sure to check before visiting.)

  • Address 584 Komatsucho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, 605-0811

Hours: 10:00 - 17:00 Admission: Adults 600 yen, middle school and high school students 300 yen, elementary school students 200 yen

6. Yasui Konpiragu

Head east along Kenninji and you will see the “torii” gate of the Yasui Konpiragu Shrine , which is said to be beneficial for cutting off bad relations and vices and forming good connections. The shrine is dedicated to Emperor Sutoku and named for Konpiragu Shrine in Sanuki (modern-day Kagawa Prefecture), where Sutoku rid himself of greed and desire. Likewise, the shrine is believed to stop the evil that hinders good relationships between men and women.

tourist map of gion

It is said that the hole in the center of the shrine ’s 1.5-meter high and 3-meter wide votive “ishi” stone is filled with divine power. First, worshippers visit the main shrine and write a wish or prayer on a card called a “katashiro.” Next they go through the hole in the ishi from the front to back and vice versa while reciting their wish before putting the katashiro on the ishi to rid themselves of bad sexual relations, sickness, drinking problems, gambling addiction, and other afflictions.

  • Address 70 Shimobentencho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, 605-0823

7. Yasaka Shrine

Next return to Shijo-dori and head due east. After about a 10-minute walk from Yasui Konpiragu to a main street called Higashioji Dori, and you will see the large vermilion West Tower Gate of Yasaka Shrine across the T-intersection. Yasaka Shrine is also called “ Gion Shrine ” and is symbolic of the neighborhood. In addition to the main shrine and the dance stage, various gods are enshrined throughout the vast complex. One shrine is dedicated to the god of plague control, Bigozensha (Utsukushi Gozensha) enshrines the god of beauty , and Okuninushisha is for the god of marriage. Be sure to stop by and take a stroll through the grounds.

  • Address 625 Gionmachi Kitagawa, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, 605-0823

8. Shirakawa (Ipponbashi)

When you return to Higashioji Dori and walk north, you’ll eventually reach a small river – the Shirakawa, which is connected to the Kamo River . Willow and cherry trees growing along the Shirakawa River give the area a scenic atmosphere throughout the year. If you have time, we recommend a stroll upstream.

Ipponbashi is so narrow!

In particular, “Ipponbashi,” a simple footbridge with no balustrade, is a popular spot for beautifully posed photos because it offers a unobstructed view of the subject.

  • Address 478 Umemiyacho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto 605-0061

9. Tatsumi Bridge and Tatsumi Daimyojin

Following the Shirakawa west, the atmosphere becomes increasingly elegant. Walk along the willow-covered cobblestone street, cross the Shinbashi Bridge, and you arrive at a small bridge called Tatsumibashi. Just next to it is the Tatsumi Daimyojin Shrine . Spanning the Shirakawa, Tatsumi Bridge creates a picturesque scene with its vermillion-colored railing. It is also a popular location for wedding photos, especially in spring , when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom.

tourist map of gion

Tatsumi Daimyojin, across the street, is worth a visit. It's a small, but beautiful shrine with Shirakawa-dori as its backdrop.

  • Address Gion, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, 605-0084

10. Shinbashi Dori and Shirakawa Minami Dori

The road forks around Tatsumi Daimyojin with Shinbashi Dori to the north and Shirakawa Minami Dori to the south featuring a footpath rich in Kyoto atmosphere. It’s a must-see on a trip to Gion ! There are many traditional townhouses on Shinbashi Dori. In consideration of the privacy of customers, large blinds are hung so passers-by cannot see inside. Even teahouses are devoid of large signs, maintaining the serene atmosphere.

tourist map of gion

Shirakawa Minami Dori’s cafés take full advantage of the scenery. With the gentle murmur of the Shirakawa and smoothly swaying willow trees beckoning tourists, merely walking along this short street is thrilling.

tourist map of gion

The cherry blossoms planted along the Shirakawa River will be in full bloom in spring , further adding to the magical atmosphere. After passing Shirakawa Minami Dori and continuing west, you will return to Gion -Shijo Station.

Gion is one of Kyoto's leading tourist destinations and Japan's largest hanamachi. You can enjoy beautiful streets like Hanamikouji and Shirakawa Minami Dori, and while excellent restaurants are plentiful, take into consideration that many are open only to regular customers. Gion isn’t such a large area, and with so many highlights, it’s ideally suited for a half-day of sightseeing on foot. Be sure to visit and enjoy the walk! *The above article is based on information from June 2020

Make your trip extra memorable by booking one of these recommended experiences on our partner site, Voyagin!

  • Area Gion, Kawaramachi, Kiyomizu-dera Temple
  • Category Historical Places

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GION Walking Tour Map by Maikoya

Here's the gion geisha walking tour map.

Gion Geisha Walking tour Map by Maikoya

We have also Kyoto geisha districts map at our museum if you want to swing by.

Gion Geisha Map Maikoya

Gion is walking distance from Kiyomizu Dera, Yasaka Shrine, Yasaka Pagoda, and the Pontocho Restaurants Area. So, plan on visiting these places on the same day.

Where is Gion in Kyoto?

Things to do in gion kyoto, #1 ichiriki chaya tea house.

Ichiriki Chaya in Gion Kyoto

#2 Kenninji Temple

Kenninji Temple, Gion

#3 Gion Corner

#4 yasui konpiragu shrine & the love stone, #5 yasaka-no to pagoda.

Yasaka no Pagoda Gion- Hokanji Temple

#6 Miyagawacho Neighborhood

Geisha walking in Miyagawacho

#7 Shirakawa Dori

Gion Shirakawa

#8  Yasaka Shrine

#9 patisserie gion sakai, #10 minamiza kabuki theater, shijo dori & shopping in gion.

After walking on the streets of Gion you can relax at one of the matcha cafes on Shijo Street (Shijo Dori) or check out some souvenir shops. Some most popular gifts are kimono-style hairpins, kokeshi dolls, and Kyoto's famous yatsuhashi sweets.

Gion Walking Map

Gion Map

    Ochaya, Okiya, Restaurants and Ryotei in Gion

Gion Ochaya, Okiya, Ryotei

History of Gion

Annual dance events in gion.

Geisha Show Miyako Odori

Gion Matsuri Festival

Things to do in gion at night, things to do near gion.

There are plenty of things you can get amused by wandering across Gion. You can visit  Kiyomizu Dera ,  Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine , or get lost in  Shijo-dori . The cultural choice of Gion differs much.

Kiyomizudera

Sitting on the southern edge of the Gion district, Kiyomizudera is one of the city’s most sacred destinations and well worth a trip to Gion just to visit. The temple was founded in 780, and is located on the eastern Otowa Waterfall in the wooded hills, its name - which translates in English to "Pure Water Temple," came from this waterfall. Kiyomizudera offers guests unparalleled views of the surrounding foliage transforming with the passing seasons.

Kodaiji Temple (高台寺)

Fushimi inari taisha shrine, gion geisha photo ban.

Recently there are many incidents where tourists engage in irresponsible behavior in Gion which include

  • Blocking the way of the geisha to take a photo
  • Chasing and bothering the geisha
  • Touching the geishas kimono, hair, accessories
  • Trying to take a selfie with a geisha
  • Taking the photo of a geisha when she is with a guest
  • Littering on the streets of Gion
  • Eating fast food while walking in Gion
  • Smoking or drinking alcohol on the streets of Gion
  • Sitting on the streets of Gion

Please remember!

The geisha are human beings, they are not objects. You have to respect the privacy of the geisha. You have to understand that you endanger yourself and the geisha on the narrow streets of Gion when you come too close. You have to understand that geishas are likely on their way to work and they should not be late. You also have to understand that the geisha may be accompanied by their private client whose privacy must be respected.

Gion in Travel Books

References & additional readings.

Gion Manner Retrieved from https://kyoto.travel/en/info/manner.html

Downer, L. (2003). Geisha of Gion-A memoir of Mineko Iwasaki.

Coronavirus and Geisha in Kyoto Retrieved from https://mai-ko.com/travel/culture-in-japan/geisha/coronavirus-in-japan-how-kyotos-geisha-are-dealing-with-it/

Ookini Zaidan Geisha Association https://www.ookinizaidan.com/

How to get to Gion

This is the Gion area map that shows the beginning point of where most people start their walking tour.

This is the Gion Map of our Geisha Museum and Geisha Show Venue

tourist map of gion

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The Creative Adventurer

The Ultimate Self-Guided Walking Tour of Historic Gion Kyoto

tourist map of gion

The  Gion district  is one of  Kyoto’s  oldest neighbourhoods. The streets seem to surge with history, but this area is unique because it is one of the last remaining places where you can see real  Geishas  in Japan. Up and down these streets, you can keep your eyes open and see if you can catch a glimpse of a Geisha on her way to a tea house where exclusive guests enjoy an evening of traditional Japanese entertainment.

tourist map of gion

Red Lanterns

tourist map of gion

Kyoto was the Imperial capital of Japan from 794 -1869. As a great metropolis, it required the best entertainment for its dignitaries and foreign guests. Unlike many movie portrayals or common myths,  Geishas  or ‘ Geikos ‘ are not escorts or prostitutes. They are professional entertainers.  Geikos  and  Maikos  are the words for Geishas and Geishas-in-training in Kyoto. Geiko literally translates into “ a woman of art .” Geikos are trained in all the different art forms of traditional Japanese art. They will be proficient in playing music, painting, flower arranging, singing and dancing.

tourist map of gion

Gion is located along the Kamo River and can be easily reached by  public transit . The closest train station is the  Gion Shijo Station  on the  Keihan Line  and  Kawaramachi Station  on the  Hankyu Line . You can also reach the area by bus #100 or #206 and get off at the Gion bus stop. Public transit costs only 230 yen ($2 US). If you choose to take a taxi, you can ask for it to drop you at the first location,  Maruyama Park . However, taxis are pretty pricey (at least $15 US and up depending on your departure location), so I’d advise public transit.

When To Go?

This tour aims to take you around the historic area of Gion while stopping in at the Gion Theatre to see a show in the middle of the tour. This part is totally optional, and you can easily just continue on from there without attending. But I think seeing a performance at the theatre is a great introduction to the art of being a Geisha and gives you an idea of what’s going on behind those closed tea house doors. The performances are at 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm, and I would aim to get a ticket for the 7:00 pm show to give yourself enough time to explore the north-western parts of Gion.

The best time to start this tour is around 5:30 pm, just before dusk. Most of the earlier parts of the journey are best seen when it’s light out, but Gion takes on a different shape when night falls. The red lamps are lit, reflecting off the water like stars in the sky. Any sign of modernity seems to dissipate, and you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. Just before dusk, the Geishas will exit their apartments and head to the tea houses for their nightly routines. If you want to see one, this is your best opportunity! Use this  map  at the bottom of this post to help navigate your way around Gion, but since it’s a small area, don’t worry about getting lost!

tourist map of gion

Map of Walking Tour

Maruyama Park

Start your walking tour of Gion inside  Maruyama Park . If you’re lucky enough to visit  Maruyama Park during cherry blossom season , you’re in for a real treat. This park is the best place for cherry blossom viewing in Kyoto. The most impressive sight here is the  ‘shidarezakura ,’ a weeping cherry tree which lights up at night. It’s truly an ethereal sight! The garden feels like a treasure even during the rest of the year. It is even designated as a National  Place of Scenic Beauty .’

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Yasaka Shrine

From the park, walk through the winding pathways to  Yasaka Shrine , which sits just at the end of  Shijō Street . Yasaka is the spiritual centre of Gion and the reason everything around it exists. In the middle ages, hundreds and thousands of people came through this area to make a pilgrimage to the shrine. The neighbourhood was built around it to feed and house all the travellers passing through.

tourist map of gion

A shrine has stood on this site since 656, but the Yasaka Shrine was founded in 1350. It was built to honour  Susanoo-no-Mikoto , a Japanese god who defeated an eight-headed serpent and saved the citizens of Kyoto from many disasters. This temple comes alive in a different way during the evening or at dusk. The hundreds of lanterns hanging outside the temple, each one donated from a local business with their name inscribed upon it, are lit up when the sun goes down. It is a remarkable site to see against the backdrop of the bright, vermilion-painted torii gates.

tourist map of gion

After touring the temple, head down to  Shijo-Dori , Shijo Dori ( dori  means  street ) is the best place to shop in Gion. Here you can find traditional sweet shops, pickles and handicrafts all along this green-roofed and lantern-covered street. This is the most modern area of Gion, with offices and some big-name brands, but any roads that branch off from Shijo will take you right back in time.

tourist map of gion

Hanamikoji South

A few steps down the street along Shijo-Dori, turn right onto  Hanamikoji . Hanamikoji is the real heart of Gion. It is where you’ll find the best-preserved aspects of the city’s architecture and culture. Along this street, it feels as though time has stopped. Hanami-koji means “ blossom viewing lane ” since during the cherry blossom season, this street explodes with blooms and feels like they encompass the entirety of the skyline.

tourist map of gion

Along this street, you’ll find some of the oldest establishments in Kyoto called ‘ ochayas ,’ or teahouses and ‘ Machiya’  or  ‘townhouses.’  The buildings are all designed similarly, reflecting aspects of traditional Kyoto architecture. They are mostly made of wood, with no windows on the streets to protect the identity of their customers. Each has a wooden lattice facade that runs halfway up the house’s exterior and is topped with baked tile roofs. Most of the houses are unpainted, although the ones which cater to Geishas are given a coat of red or scarlet paint to distinguish them from the rest in a subtle way. Elegantly dressed bouncers wait in from of open doorways, secretly ushering in the elite customers and elegant Geishas away from the rabble on the street.

tourist map of gion

About Geishas

There aren’t many options for those wondering how you can experience an evening with a Geisha for yourself. Most Geishas are extremely expensive, even if you can get the contacts to book a dinner with them. They don’t just have a phone line or website where you can make a reservation. You need to know someone who can give you a reference to get you in. Some tourist services offer evening dinners with “geishas,” but often, these aren’t real. More often than not, it’s just a woman in a costume pretending to be a geisha.

tourist map of gion

Remember, if it’s the real thing, it will cost a pretty penny, so if you feel like it’s too good to be true –  it is.  If you manage to get the right introductions to make a reservation, an evening’s entertainment will start at $700 US, and that’s not even including dinner or drinks.

tourist map of gion

The red lanterns that hang outside humble townhouses are used to indicate these are ‘ ochayas.’  Guests will enjoy an evening of entertainment and fine dining hosted by the Geishas and their house mother. They will sing and dance for their guests while food is served. Geishas are also incredible musicians and will often treat their guests to songs played on the  Shamisen  (a smaller and thinner kind of guitar), the  Koto  (the national instrument of Japan played like a horizontal guitar), the  Shakuhachi  (a bamboo flute) and the  Tsuzumi  (a small tribal drum). Geishas delight in playing traditional Japanese drinking games with the most excellent sake with the businessmen.

tourist map of gion

Ichiriki-tei

A few steps down the Hanamikoji is  Ichiriki-tei  or  Ichiriki Tea House . This is the most famous tea house in a 300-year-old red-painted house. Ichiriki-tei’s reservations are by invitation only, and the people coming in and out of its doors are sure to be of great importance. It has been the scene of many samurai plots over the years and where prominent governmental figures met and discussed the future of their great city. Although you might not be able to get inside, seeing this iconic building, even from the outside, is truly special.

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Geikos and Maikos

Hanamikoji is the best place to spot a Geisha, so keep your eye peeled. Geisha are more appropriately called  Geikos  and  Maikos . You’ll also see dozens of tourists dressed in fancy kimonos and some fake Geishas posing for pictures. If you’re trying to spot a real Geisha, there are ways to identify them.  Maikos  (Geishas in training) will have decorations like flowers in their hair, while a  Geiko  (a fully trained Geisha) will not. Also, the Maikos  obis  (the belt they wear around their kimono) will stretch almost to the ground.

In contrast, the Geikos obi is neatly folded around her back. The ultimate way to tell the difference is through the shoes. Geikos have flat shoes called ‘ zoris’  while the Maikos wear the iconic mile-high platforms called ‘ okobos .’

tourist map of gion

The Geikos have a much more subdued appearance than their trainee counterparts because these women have already made it and don’t need to show off. To become a real Geiko or Geisha, you must go through years of rigorous training. Most girls start training at the age of 15. Then they attend Geisha schools where they learn all the skills required to entertain their guests. Since they are not making any money, their home mother pays for their schooling, training and clothing. The house mother is also called the ‘ okasan.’

tourist map of gion

After they become full-fledged Geikos, they must pay off their debts to the house mother, who will get them jobs and find them clients. Many girls dream of becoming Geikos despite it being a rather ancient occupation. Geikos are now becoming famous on the internet, and young girls dream of becoming instant-famous. Just like girls in North America look up to celebrities, girls in Japan look up to these elegant professional party girls. If you see a Maiko or Geiko in the streets, be respectful. They don’t mind if you take a picture, but they won’t stop to chat. If they’re on the street, they are on their way to work and don’t have time to dillydally. Let them go their way, and just allow yourself to observe their majestic presence.

tourist map of gion

Patisserie Gion Sakai

Past Ichiriki-tei, stop in at  Patisserie Gion Sakai . Gion is famous for its sweets. Nothing was better for a Geisha to bring a samurai than a sweet treat. Patisserie Gion Sakai is found inside a traditional wooden-style townhouse. While there are various other things to try, I’d go right for the fluffy cake rolls filled with sweet cream. Some of their more traditional flavours include plum, blood orange and matcha.

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Hanamikoji North

After the show, head north along Hanamikoji; many of the houses along the Hanamikoji north of Shijo-dori are old merchant houses. These charmingly preserved townhouses represent the architectural style of ancient Imperial Kyoto. They have been here for centuries and once would have served the ancient samurais. These days not all the shops on the street cater to knights of the empire. You can find some well-priced restaurants along one of Kyoto’s famous laneways.

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Maiko Lessons

Along Hanamikoji north, see if you can spot one of the  Maiko Lesson Boards . These boards aren’t identified with large signage, so they’re a little hard to spot, but they can be found if you know what you’re looking for. Look for a large green board with a chart covered in vertical, white Kanji letters. This is their agenda for the day, saying which classes they need to attend with what teachers are around town. Maikos will stop here throughout the day to see where to head to class since their classes can be found all across Gion in unassuming townhouses instead of one schoolroom. The entire life of Geisha is one of secrecy and illusion, and even their classes reflect this.

tourist map of gion

Gion Tatsumi Bridge

At the end of Hanamikoji, you’ll come to the  Gion Tatsumi Bridge . This bridge is one of the most iconic places for a picture across the  Shirakawa Canal . On either side of the canal, you’ll find willow trees whose leaves hang over the water and onto the street, creating a soft, green canopy. Truly one of the most spectacular places in Kyoto. During the day, this bridge can be overrun, but at night you are likely to find it all to yourself.

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Tatsumi Daimyojin Shrine

On the other side of the bridge, you’ll find the  Tatsumi Daimyojin Shrine.  This tiny neighbourhood shrine, almost completely obscured in darkness at night, is frequented by many local Geishas. Besides the shine is a stone inscribed with a poem by the famous poet  Isamu Yoshii.  It was made to honour the artist since he greatly loved Gion. The poem reads:

No matter what is said it is Gion I love. Even when I sleep beneath my pillow the water flows…

tourist map of gion

Shirakawa Canal

Walking along the Shirakawa Canal is a great place to wander, away from the hustle and bustle of the main street. Some of the city’s most exclusive eating establishments are located along this canal. If any celebrities are visiting the city, you’ll surely spot them here. While the canal is gorgeous to view during the day, there is something extraordinary about seeing it at night, when the trees are alight, and the sparkling stars reflect across the water. Only your footsteps on the stone sidewalk echo across the street.

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Kyōto Minami-za Theatre

Head back down towards Shijo-Dori now that night has fallen. Turning back onto the part of this street that we haven’t yet explored, check out the  Minamiza Kabuki Theater .  At night this theatre is a beacon of light in the darkness. The Minamiza is the best kabuki theatre in Kyoto. It was founded in 1610, but the one you see standing here today is a reconstruction from 1929. Kyoto is the birthplace of kabuki, and there is no better place in the world to see kabuki as a first-timer or experienced veteran. Kabuki is much like European opera but with a Japanese twist that includes more drama, colours and spectacle!

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Temple of Chugen-ji

Near the Kabuki theatre, down the cobblestone streets next to the  Kamo River , we find the tiny  Temple of Chugen-ji . You’ll discover ‘ Jizo,’  a Buddhist guardian saint, inside this temple. But this Jizo enshrined here is extra special. During the great floods of 1228, the people of Gion prayed to Jizo to save their town from the rising waters. People claimed they saw Jizo physically saving people from the flood and saw him stop the rain. This temple is dedicated to the god who saved the town; perhaps without his intervention, it wouldn’t be here today.

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Kamo River Bridge

Head across the Kamo River Bridge and take a moment to look across the water. The Kamo River has served over the years as a place of great importance for the people of Kyoto. The river was diverted in the 8th century to ensure the new course past the town’s new capital Heian Capital (now called Kyoto). The river was not only a place for the locals to get their drinking water. Still, it was where many of the local fabric makers would come to dye their beautiful fabrics. Pottery makers would begin to get supplies for their work, two iconic symbols of Kyoto craftsmanship.

tourist map of gion

Pontocho Alley

Across the bridge, you’ll come to  Pontocho Alley . This narrow alleyway, marked with a simple wooden sign, runs parallel to the Kamo river. The fancy restaurants overlook the river bank on the right, and the less pricey, more authentic restaurants are off to the left. Although this street feels a bit dingy during the day, at night, it comes alive with paper lanterns, neon signage, and music pouring out of the nearby clubs. There are a few elite theatres around here where Maikos and Geikos perform, so if you didn’t spot one on the other side of the river, this might be your chance to see one here.

tourist map of gion

Torisei Shijo Kiyamachi

If you’re looking for somewhere to eat, head to  Torisei Shijo Kiyamachi , where they serve traditional  yakitori . They have a great selection of different kinds of yakitori (food on skewers cooked over a charcoal grill) for reasonable prices. Plus, you have a great view of the cooks at work which is like having dinner  and a show!

tourist map of gion

Kiyamachi Dori

Making your way down the southern part of Gion, take a walk down  Kiyamachi Dori . Kiyamachi Dori is another historic street in Gion. The road is located along the embankment of the  Takase River , which was actually a man-made canal made in 1586 when a wealthy merchant decided to dig it out. He wanted to create a new waterway to bring in stone and other materials from Fushimi into Kyoto. Although the canal was taken out of service in 1920, it still makes for a scenic walkway; at night, a vast stretch of the street is dazzlingly illuminated. This is the perfect and most peaceful place to end your tour in this historical area of Kyoto.

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With this guide, you can head out and explore Gion on your own, at your own pace and venture off from the large tour groups, which can make what should be a quiet, relaxing stroll into a fierce and crowded experience. Plus, you can follow your instincts when you go on your own; if something looks interesting, go off the path and check it out! You might be surprised by what you find around the next corner.

tourist map of gion

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Hey! Just passing by to praise you and thank you for this thorough and we’ll planned post, and mixing it with the Google Maps itinerary you created. It was very comprehensive and interesting and great to follow along, which I’m just coming back from doing. So thanks for the great job! Best!

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Thank you!!!

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  • Gion & Higashiyama

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Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto-fu

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The wellspring of geisha culture and kabuki, with lovingly preserved scenes from times past

  • Enjoying a traditional dining experience at a townhouse on Hanami Lane
  • Taking in the atmosphere of the Shirakawa Canal by lantern light

How to Get There

tourist map of gion

Rows of machiya in Gion

The townhouses of Kyoto

Traditional townhouses, known as machiya, line the streets of Gion. Many of these former residences have been transformed into restaurants, shops, and other businesses. Drop in to purchase local specialties such as Kyoto sweets and craft items. You might even glimpse a real geisha in training, known as a maiko.

tourist map of gion

Woman wearing yukata in front of a machiya

In the theater of song, dance, and skill

Gion was once one of the hotbeds of the visually and aurally stunning art of kabuki, particularly from the 17th century onward. Now only one of its six theaters remains, Minami-za. The performances here include other forms of entertainment, but if there's a kabuki play on while you're in Kyoto, be sure to see at least a few acts.

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JRailPass.com » Japan Travel Blog » Gion travel guide: Walking through Kyoto’s geisha district

Gion travel guide: Walking through Kyoto’s geisha district

July 8, 2021

Hanami koji street in Kyoto

Kyoto is one of the most well-known cities in Japan. It is the capital city of the Kyoto Prefecture of Japan’s Kansai region. For more than one thousand years, Kyoto was the Imperial capital of Japan.

At the city’s heart lies Gion, a center of the traditional arts and famed entertainment district. If you’re searching for a taste of traditional Japan, Gion’s flagstone streets lined with wooden buildings is a good place to start.

Gion’s entertainment district arose as a direct result of its religious sites . Food and lodging were needed by religious pilgrims traveling to visit these sites. Kabuki drama eventually became popular on the west side of the district. Today, it is Kyoto’s most famous geisha district . Contrary to popular belief, geisha , or geiko in the Kyoto dialect, are not prostitutes; they are “women of the arts,” entertainers highly trained in art, music, and dance.

How to get to Gion

Gion is located to the north and south of Shijo Street, from the Kamo-gawa River in the west to the Yasaka-Jinja Shrine in the east.

To reach Gion, use your Japan Rail Pass to reach Kyoto Station . Then, take bus number 100 or 206 to the Gion bus stop.

You can also take a local train in one of Kyoto’s private lines: the closes stations to  Gion are Shijo Station (on the Keihan Line, 210 yen to Kyoto Station) and Kawaramachi Station (on the Hankyu Line, also 210 yen to Kyoto Station).

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Things to do in Gion

At the Minamiza Kabuki Theater , you can step back in time to experience this classical dance-drama, known for the elaborate makeup of its performers. A theater has stood at this location since the 1600s; the current structure was built in 1929.

For the foodie or simply the hungry traveler, Gion is packed with traditional teahouses, bars, and restaurants . Cafe Opal, inspired by London culture, is known as “the most soulful cafe in the world.” Shijo Avenue is the district’s shopping area. Traditional craft shops can be found on Nawate-Dori, Shinmonzen, and Furumonzen Streets.

Traditional shrines and temples are located throughout the district. Gion is home to the Yasaka-Jinja shrine , formerly named Gion Shrine, which has been called Kyoto’s “spiritual lodestone.” This shrine is located on Gion’s eastern edge.

Yasaka shrine

A small Buddhist temple called Chugen-Ji or Meyami Jizo is located nearby. At the tori gate shrine of Yasui Kompira-gu, people write wishes on small wooden tablets called ema and tie them near the altar. There is also a “power stone” with a hole in the middle that people crawl through to symbolize rebirth and to break bad habits or better their relationships with others.

The Kennin-Ji temple is the city’s oldest Zen temple, dating from 1202. The Tatsumi Jinja shrine , known as the “Home of the Gods of Gion’s Harvest,” is the location where authorized apprentice geisha first make public appearances.

Shirakawa Area

The Shirakawa Area, along with Hanami-Koji Street from Shinjo Avenue to Kenninji Temple, are Gion’s most iconic areas. The Shirakawa Canal , which runs parallel to Shijo Avenue, is lined with willow trees, tea houses, and high-end restaurants. Shirakawa is the quiet side of the Gion .

Hanami-Koji Area

Hanami-Koji means “blossom viewing lane” and indeed it is a place where you can see the cherry blossoms when the spring begins. To the south of Shijo, Hanami-Koji is a broad flagstone pavement, bordered on each side by ochaya, or traditional teahouses staffed by geisha. One of these, the Ichiriki Chaya, is over 300 years old.

Most visitors to Gion hope to spot or be entertained by a geisha, and the Hanami-Koji’s Gion Kobu Kaburenjo theater , or Gion Corner, offers the most accessible experience. A cultural show is held there daily, aimed at introducing foreign tourists to Japanese arts such as tea ceremony, ikebana flower arranging, bunraku puppet theater, and dances performed by real maiko.

Gion Matsuri

Gion Matsuri, Kyoto

The origins of the Gion Matsuri , or Gion Festival, can be traced to the year 869. Today, it is considered the most famous festival in Japan . A parade begins at the Yasaka Shrine. The floats of this festival span 25 meters in height and weigh as much as 12 tons; the float wheels may be taller than you are!

Dozens of floats represent the different neighborhoods of Kyoto . The streets are closed to traffic and are lined with food and game stalls called yatai, where you can enjoy treats such as ramen and yakitori. This festival takes place during the month of July .

Gion District at Night

Gion’s atmosphere begins to change in the early evening, when apprentice geisha, called maiko , can be seen traversing the lantern-lit streets or announcing live entertainment at bars and restaurants. Today, there are less than 1,000 geisha remaining. You can recognize them by their white makeup and traditional kimonos. Don’t forget to take in the riverside scenery, most vivid at sunset .

You can book and customize private walking tours of the city at night using services such as Viator. Remember that evenings in Kyoto can become chilly, even during the warmer months, so be sure to dress accordingly.

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Culture, tradition and geisha in Old Kyoto

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Shijo Dori is filled with restaurants, souvenir shops, clothing stores and anything a shopping complex could hope to have. More importantly, following this road directly east will bring you to the large cluster of temples, shrines and top destinations that everyone goes to Kyoto for. I would suggest walking the streets because you can see more of the city and will become more familiar with your surroundings, but a short bus ride is also cheap and easy.

Walk far enough and you’ll enter the outskirts of Kyoto’s Gion District, an entire neighborhood with wonderfully preserved buildings and a traditional feel that will warp you back in time. For anyone interested in photography, this is an absolutely fantastic place for shooting, I know I had fun while taking these photos. Here, much like Ishibe Alley, you can see many vacationers dressed up in Yukata or Kimono, enjoying a summer's day with food and drinks, walking through temples or just enjoying the atmosphere. If it weren’t for a few cars or workmen uploading supplies from trucks, you would think you had just stepped into a time machine. Everyone says things like this, but it is true. The streets are defined by the classic all wooden buildings, tea houses and exclusively Japanese restaurants. It is easy to lose a few hours while visiting here. The area was originally made for servicing weary visitors of Yasaka Shrine and by the mid-18th century, had become Kyoto’s largest pleasure district.

Within this area, as well as a few minutes walk outside of it, you really begin to enter the mass of temples and shrines, all of which hold significant history and cultural value and are truly astounding to see up close and in person. All are within reasonable walking distance, but the closest are Yasaka Shrine (one of the most important shrines in Japan), Kennin-ji Temple (the temple that truly founded Zen Buddhism in Japan), Chorakuji Temple (a historical temple hidden in pine and bamboo) and Kodai-ji Temple (a famous sub-temple of Kennin-ji).

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Kyoto’s Gion district – Walk the streets with Geisha and Maiko

When visiting Kyoto one of the popular things to do is stroll through the streets of the Gion to enjoy the sight of the traditional wooden buildings and watch geisha and maiko making their way to work for the evening.

The Gion district was originally developed in the middle ages as a town to accommodate travelers and visitors to the nearby Yasaka Shrine.  Over the years it evolved to become one of the most exclusive and well-known geisha districts in Japan.

The Gion is one of the best places (if not the best) in Japan to get a glimpse of geisha and maiko.  With its traditional wooden buildings it is a great backdrop to the nightly occurrence of geisha and maiko walking the streets on their way to work at the many teahouses and restaurants in the Gion.  The area around Hanamikoji Street south of Shijo Street is the best place and early evening is a great time to visit and walk around the area to get a glimpse of geisha (or geiko as they are called in Kyoto) and maiko before they duck into one of the many teahouses and exclusive restaurants to entertain.  The easiest way to distinguish the geisha from the maiko (apprentice geisha) are the tall wooden sandals worn by the maiko.

kyoto gion district

Gion Festival

The big event in Gion is the Gion Matsuri.  Held each summer, the Gion-matsuri festival attracts more than a million visitors. The festival is famous for its procession of magnificent festival floats on which musicians play Gion-bayashi, festival music featuring Japanese flutes, bells and drums.  The festival runs from July 1st through the 31st.  The Kyoto City Tourism Association provides detailed schedule and information for the event .

Kimono Experience

Want to get the full experience of strolling the streets of Kyoto? Popular with tourists is to rent a traditional Japanese kimono to wear while enjoying a walk around Kyoto.  Particularly on the shopping streets around Kiyomizu-dera temple and Gion you can see many Japanese and foreign tourists in kimono attire.  Two of the many places to consider for kimono rental are  Yameyakata  and Okamoto .

kyoto gion japanese ladies kimono

Links for more information:  Gion Guide from Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO)

Sources: JNTO, Wikipedia

Images: JapanTravelAdventures/TranzWorldBiz

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The Traditional District in the Heart of Kyoto

Gion is one of Kyoto's historical districts, located in the center, close to Shijo avenue. Originally a stopover for the visitors of Yasaka-jinja shrine, this traditional area happens to be very appreciated by tourists today, as they may see here Geisha and Maiko at nightfall. On the daytime, the old townhouses lining up the streets display a typically Japanese architecture.

In the heart of Kyoto , only a few minutes away from the eponymous station by public transportation , Gion (to be pronounced "gea-on" and not "jion") is now particularly loved by international tourists . This district is very typical and relaxing, and hides numerous machiya (traditional townhouses that were often converted into commercial stores) in which it is sometimes hard to enter without an invitation or a consequent budget.

Gion district is named from the neighboring large shrine Yasaka-jinja that was formerly named Gion-sha . At the times, pilgrims stayed in this area that was a stopover to rest with inns, restaurants and other places to relax. The district is now sheltering 2 of the 5 hanamachi ("flower towns"), that is to say the Kyoto Geisha districts , named Gion Kobu and Gion Higashi . Lanterns  🏮 hanging at the front of the houses are all decorated with the district’s symbol. Moreover, its streets are notably renowned for hosting one of the biggest festivals in Japan each summer : Gion Matsuri .

tourist map of gion

Gion district is organized around 3 main alleys, with specific cityscapes and functions: Hanamikoji, Shirakawa and Pontocho. Beware however when taking pictures : since 2019, October 25 shooting the private streets in the area is forbidden and can be punished by a ¥ 10,000 (~US$63.60) fine.

Hanamikoji-dori, the street of geiko and maiko

Hanamikoji street is the most famous and iconic , located in the heart of the district: between Shijo, Gion Kobu Kaburenjo Theater and Kennin-ji temple. On a 1 kilometer span, it concentrates the most traditional architecture and hosts many upscale restaurants and shops.

A favorite among tourists, Hanamikoji-dori is renowned as the place to encounter Gion’s geiko and maiko at nightfall when they walk from their okiya living quarters to one of the ochaya teahouses for private performances.

Gion (Kyoto), Shirakawa Waterway 3

Shirakawa, the bucolic waterway

Shirakawa is characterized by its sumptuous promenade along the eponymous cana l, its restaurants whose rooms are directly over the river and that can be reached by crossing charming small bridges. The banks of the river are lined with cherry trees and are therefore even more pleasant to discover in spring during the sakura   🌸 blossom season, and in autumn   🍁 when the foliage turns orange and red.

At some point, you’ll find the tiny Tatsumi-jinja shrine , with its bright vermilion and black that enliven the place’s wooden architecture. Then, we recommend taking Shinbashi-dori street , that is less frequented by tourists but still beautiful and traditional. In the beautiful season, it is frequently used as a background by young couples for wedding photo sessions dressed in kimono   👘 .

Pontocho, the nightlife alley

At the Western end of Gion, between Shijo-dori and Sanjo-dori, on the other side of Kamo-gawa River, Pontocho is a narrow but famous street of Kyoto . It is known to be the home of many restaurants of Japanese and international cuisine, and is especially lively in the evening.

There is also a Geisha district in Pontocho where geiko and maiko perform each year their Kamogawa Odori dance performance.

Gion (Kyoto), Lantern for Kyo Odori dance show in April

Theaters and traditional performances

The district altogether is mainly to be enjoyed for its sights, and also for its traditional Kabuki theaters , where Gion’s Geisha perform Kyo Odori and Miyako Odori seasonal dances. There are not numerous nor notorious temples , with the exception, of course, of the famous Yasaka-jinja, easily reachable by public transportation and at the large crossing of Shijo and Higashioji-dori.

The simplest way to admire Maiko shows for overseas tourists is to go at " Gion Corner " whose website has been translated into numerous languages.

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Geisha and Maiko in Gion, Kyoto. Credit: David Offf. Licensed under CC.

Kyoto Gion District

Kyotos Gion District is one of Japans most well-known “Geisha districts”. Visitors travel to Gion for a chance to catch a glimpse of a Geisha (or Geiko as they are called here), enjoy the well preserved, historic entertainment area and to learn about traditional arts and crafts.

In this centuries old district of Kyoto , old wooden town houses line the narrow streets. Some houses function as modern day bars, restaurants and shops, while others are traditional tea houses (ochaya), offering unique, old-fashioned Geisha entertainment like hundreds of years ago. While walking the streets of Gion it’s not difficult to imagine what life would have been like here 2-300 years ago.

The Gion area is best experienced at night. Traditional paper lanterns, hanging from the shop fronts, dimly light the streets. Geisha and Maiko (geisha trainees) can be seen hurrying through the streets from one appointment to another and a stream of businessmen and tourists steadily flow through the streets in search for the next drink, or a glimpse of the old Japan. Some visitors enjoy renting a Kimono , to complete the experience of walking through this atmospheric area. Don’t be fooled by this – there are more regular people in Kimonos than there are Geishas to be seen.

Book Gion Night Walk   Gion Kimono Experience

Gion at night. Credit: bethom33. Licensed under CC.

History of the Gion District

Originally, the Gion area developed around the Yasaka Shrine, formerly called “Gion Shrine”. The need to accommodate the shrines visitors prompted the establishment of tea houses and entertainment facilities. Over time theatres, Geisha houses and other entertainment facilities popped up, turning the area into the densely packed entertainment district it is today. Relatively early on, the area was split into the two separate Hanamachi areas Gion Kobu and Gion Hagashi.

Hanamachi (lit: flower town) is the more proper term for “Geisha district” and describes an area with several Geisha Houses and Tea Houses (okiya and ochaya). Historically, Kyoto had 6 Hanamachi areas, however today just 5 remain active. Two of Kyotos Hanamachi districts are in Gion: Gion Kobu and Gion Higashi, making Gion especially lively.

Gion District, Kyoto. Credit: a.canvas.of.light. Licensed under CC.

How to experience a Geisha

It is normally required to arrange a private Geisha event, in order to see a Geisha at work. However, two times a year public Geisha dance performances are held in Gion. In the spring, throughout the month of April, Gion Kobu holds an event where tickets can be purchased. Similarly, in November, Gion Higashi has public performances which can be experienced with the purchase of a ticket.

If you can’t time your visit with these periods, then you might want to consider booking a private evening with a Geisha to host and entertain. The entertainment typically consists of conversation, games, songs and drinks. The prices can be quite high though, and Japanese conversation skills are usually required unless a translator is included in the package. Booking an evening with a Maiko can be somewhat cheaper than a Geisha.

Book Geisha Experience   Book Maiko Experience  

The easiest and best way for foreign tourists to experience the skills of the Geisha is probably at Gion Corner . Here Maiko will entertain with 7 traditional arts, on one stage. Visiting Gion Corner offers a great insight into the world of Geishas and Japanese traditions, without booking an expensive private service.

Gion by night. Credit: bethom33. Licensed under CC.

About Geisha

Geishas are women, trained to entertain customers with traditional arts, like dancing, singing, music and excellent hosting. In Kyoto , the Geishas are called Geiko, but to keep it simple the term Geisha is used here.

To become a Geisha, a girl must undergo a period of training. During this training she is classified as a Maiko which, roughly said, is a Geisha apprentice. Historically girls have started training as early as their 5 th year, but since school became mandatory, they aren’t allowed to start until they reach an age of 15 (Kyoto) and 18 (Tokyo).

Both Geisha and Maiko are easily recognizable by their traditional looks; formal kimono, complete white face makup and bright red lips. To determine if you’ve spotted a Geisha or a Maiko, look at their lips and footwear. A Maiko will only paint her lower lip red, while a Geisha paints both lips. Additionally a Maiko will walk in higher shoes than a Geisha.

Note: taking photos of Geisha and Maiko can be considered very rude. They are not public performers, but rather normal persons with a job. Please be respectful around them, like you would be around any other person.

Geisha at Gion Corner. Credit: tjabeljan. Licensed under CC.

Getting there

Pro tip: Traveling around Kansai? Maybe the Kansai Thru Pass is something for you. The pass is valid for subways and private railways – but not for JR trains.

By train: the nearest station is Gion-Shijo where the Keihan Main Line stops. An alternative station is Kawaramachi Station where the Hankyu-Kyoto Line stops.

By bus: numerous busses stop at Gion-Shijo station, which is the nearest train station. Bus 100, 205 and 206 are good options from Kyoto Station.

Cover photo credit: David Offf. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 .

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Inside Kyoto

A Kyoto Travel Guide

Walking In Gion

At the heart of Kyoto lies Gion, the city’s most famous entertainment district and the center of its traditional arts. Michael Lambe takes us on a daytime tour of Gion’s most famous landmarks, shops and historic sites.

Yasaka-jinja Shrine

Gion is a traditional entertainment district lying north and south of Shijo Street, and stretching from the Kamo-gawa River in the west, as far as Yasaka-jinja Shrine in the east. Originally, this shrine was called Gion Shrine, and the entertainment area developed here to service its many pilgrims with food and drink.

Later, as kabuki drama became popular on the Gion district’s western edges, more sophisticated forms of entertainment were developed for the theater-goers, and so today Gion is known as Kyoto’s most famous geisha district . Packed with bars, restaurants and traditional teahouses, Gion is at its most atmospheric in the early evening, when the lanterns are lit and apprentice geisha will flit about the back streets on their way to their appointments. However, there is also a lot to see here during the day. Let’s take a walk and explore the shrines, temples and historic sites of Gion’s picturesque streets.

The places mentioned in this walking tour are all shown on the following map. Click the icon on the top left for a slide-out menu showing the place names.

The Minamiza Kabuki Theater

We begin our walk by heading east on Shijo-dori Street from Gion-Shijo Station. Cross Kawabata-dori Street and nestled in the southeast corner of Shijo, just behind a popular noodle shop, you will find the magnificent Minamiza theater .

The Minamiza Kabuki Theater

Though a variety of theatrical productions are put on here, the Minamiza is most famous for kabuki. This extraordinary and colorful dramatic genre was born and flourished here in Kyoto from the early 17th century, and the Minamiza was once one of seven such theaters. The other six have disappeared, victims of history, but you can still see kabuki performances at the Minamiza. We aren’t stopping for a show today, so let’s pick up a flyer at the box office and then move on. Before we go though, step back a minute and admire that ornate façade and that dramatically gabled roof. Though a theater has stood here since the early 1600s, the current building was built in 1929.

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Meyami Jizo

Keep your eyes peeled as we head further east, for the tiny little temple of Chugen-ji on our right is very easy to miss. This temple is also known as Meyami Jizo after the Jizo statue that is enshrined here.

The entrance to Chugen-ji Temple

Jizo is a kind of Buddhist guardian saint, or bodhisattva, and his statue, typically a small friendly looking monkish figure with a red bib, is seen in temples and on roadsides all over Japan. The Jizo enshrined at Chugen-ji Temple however, also doubles up as a legendary super-hero and faith healer.

The story goes that during severe flooding in 1228, the Kamo-gawa River burst its banks and many people’s lives and businesses were in peril. After people prayed to the Jizo for help, the rains ceased, and one local official claimed he had actually seen Jizo physically saving people from the rising waters. Whatever the truth of the story, after that the statue became known as “Ameyami Jizo” or “Rain stopping Jizo”. Later on the statue gained the reputation for miraculously curing people’s eye diseases and the name changed again to “Meyami ” or “Eye-curing” Jizo.

A friendly Jizo statue at Chugen-ji Temple

Take a moment to breathe here. Meyami Jizo’s quiet little road-side temple, presents a pleasant momentary refuge from the bustling crowds on Shijo.

Hanami-koji

A couple of blocks further east of Chugen-ji Temple, Hanami-koji or “blossom viewing lane” runs north to south across Shijo. This is Gion’s most famous street. South of Shijo it is beautifully preserved and broadens out into a broad flagstone paved strolling area bordered on both sides by traditional teahouses called chaya. On the southeast corner of Shijo and Hanami-koji is a huge red-walled teahouse called Ichiriki Chaya.

The famous red walls of Ichiriki Chaya

Ichiriki Chaya is over 300 years old and has long been one of the most high-end establishments in Gion, offering geisha entertainment to powerful business and political figures – but strictly by invitation only. This teahouse is as famous for its history as its exclusivity. During the 19th century, revolutionary samurai warriors would meet here to plot the downfall of the shogun’s government (see my article Kyoto Samurai ). And in the 18th century the Ichiriki teahouse played a major part in a legendary samurai vendetta.

The Tale of the 47 Ronin

This tale of the 47 ronin is one of the Japan’s best known and most popular stories having been retold and depicted countless times in literature, kabuki theater, art and movies. What is most extraordinary about this legendary story of loyalty and subterfuge is that it is all true. It all begins in Edo Castle in 1701, with a personality clash between two hot tempered noble men: Kira Yoshinaka and Asano Naganori. Kira Yoshinaka having repeatedly insulted Asano, the latter lost his head, drew his sword and tried to kill Kira. He was unsuccessful but attacks like this were strictly against the rules at the time, so Asanori was commanded to commit ritual suicide or seppuku (and thereby literally lost his head). 47 of Asano’s followers having become “ronin” or masterless samurai, vowed to have revenge on Kira – and this is where it gets interesting.

A woodblock print by Utagawa Hiroshige depicts Oishi Kuranosuke at the Ichiriki Chaya

The clever ronin knew that Kira’s spies and government officials would be watching them carefully, so they dispersed and found new work. Some became monks, and others took up a trade. Their leader, Oishi Kuranosuke, moved to Kyoto and became a regular of the Ichiriki tea house. Here he seemingly gave himself up to a debauched and drunken life of gambling, women and song. In reality though it was all just a cunning ruse!

After two years of complete dissipation had thoroughly convinced his enemies that Oishi had no ill intentions – Oishi sobered up and snuck back to Edo. Here the 47 ronin reassembled, attacked Kira’s residence, slew Kira and left his head at Asano’s grave. In the aftermath the 47 ronin having broken a strict government command against vendettas, committed ritual suicide themselves, but their fame and the fame of the Ichiriki teahouse grew and grew with each retelling of their tale.

Gion Corner

Let’s walk straight down Hanami-koji south from the Ichiriki Chaya until we reach the Gion Kobu Kaburenjo theater also known as Gion Corner.

Gion Kobu Kaburenjo

Here in April and October the geisha of this district give their famous Miyako Odori dance performance. Throughout the year, tourists can also enjoy an hour long evening digest of traditional culture, with tea ceremony, flower arrangement, geisha dances and classical Japanese music. Check the Gion Corner website for details.

Yasui Kompira-gu Shrine

At the bottom of Hanami-koji we take a left and about one block east we see a stone toori shrine gate on our right. This is the entrance to Yasui Kompira-gu Shrine.

At Yasui Kompira-gu

This shrine’s main feature is an unusual “power stone” with a hole in the center which is said to help people break the bad connections in life and make good ones. To harness the stone’s power and form better relationships, you should first pray at the main sanctuary, and then write your wish on a special strip of paper (purchased at the shrine). With your wish in your hand (and in your mind) you should then pass through the stone twice, back and forth. Having completed this symbolical “rebirth” you should then attach your wish to the stone. The stone obviously has a good reputation because there are long lines of singletons here at weekends, all hoping to work some magic on their love life. However the stone is also meant to help break connections with bad habits like smoking, drinking and gambling.

The binding and breaking relationships stone

You can find out more details about this shrine at the excellent official English-language website .

Kennin-ji Temple

Now let’s go back the way we came, to the southern end of Hanami-koji. Here we find the entrance to the large temple complex of Kennin-ji. This temple dates from 1202 and is the oldest Zen temple in Kyoto. It has however, like many wooden temples in Kyoto, burned down several times, so the current buildings date back just 250 years. Today, we can walk around much of this temple complex free of charge, but some of the smaller sub-temples are closed to the public, and to enter the main buildings (the Hojo and Hatto buildings) you should pay a small fee.

The Sanmon gate at the southern end of Kennin-ji’s temple grounds

Kennin-ji was founded by Myōan Eisai (also called Yōsai), an incredibly influential Buddhist priest. Eisai made two visits to China in the 12th century, and brought back to Japan two things which now seem integral to Japanese culture: the teachings of Zen Buddhism and tea. Eisai was especially keen to promote the health benefits of tea, which he thought would help his monks to stay awake during prolonged bouts of zazen meditation. Because of this, most of the hedges that you see around the grounds of Kennin-ji are in fact tea bushes. You can find a stone monument that honors Eisai’s importation of tea in the south-eastern corner of the temple complex.

The stone monument to tea.

Having wandered round the outer temple grounds, let’s pay our 500-yen fee at the reception building and have a look around the Hojo building.

The reception building for Kennin-ji

Probably the first thing you will see on entering the Hojo is a famous screen painting by Tawaraya Sōtatsu depicting the gods of thunder and lightning. This is an impressive and iconic image, but the one here is actually a replica. The original is now held in Kyoto National Museum. Moving on, let’s wander through the cool wooden walkways and meditate on Kenning-ji’s rippling stone gardens.

A meditative moment at Kennin-ji

Why not take a seat on one of the wooden decks and lose yourself here for a while?

The southern verandah of the Hojo

From the southern side of the Hojo, we can put on some slippers and pass through two gates to enter the Hatto building. On the ceiling of this building is a fantastic painting by Koizumi Junsaku. It was commisioned to celebrate Kenninji’s 800th anniversary in 2002. Many Zen temples have a ceiling painting which depicts a dragon (symbolizing wisdom) emerging from a circle (which represents the universe). Koizumi’s image is unique in that it depicts two dragons of eternity writhing over the entire surface of the ceiling.

Koizumi Junsaku  twin dragons masterpiece

You can learn more about the art and history of Kennin-ji temple at the official English-language website .

Ebisu-jinja Shrine

Exiting the grounds of Kennin-ji from the west we come on to Yamato-Oji Street. Let’s go south here until we see the small shrine of Ebisu, the god of good fortune and prosperity.

The entrance to Ebisu Shrine

Though Ebisu Shrine is of the Shinto folk religion, it has strong connections with nearby Kennin-ji, a Buddhist site. Legend has it that Kenninji’s founder, Eisai, was traveling back from China, when his ship was hit by a terrific storm. Fearing that the ship would sink, Eisai prayed to Ebisu (who also happens to be the guardian deity of seafarers) and the storm swiftly passed. When Eisai constructed Kennin-ji, he also gave thanks to Ebisu for his safe return to Japan, by having a shrine built in the god’s honor. It may seem odd that Eisai respected another religion in this way, but in Japan, religions like Shinto and Buddhism are not seen as mutually exclusive and it is common for people to practice the rituals of both.

Ebisu’s happy face

Ebisu Shrine pays hosts to two major festivals in January and October which you can read about on our Toka Ebisu page .

If we retrace our steps and go north again, just past the exit from Kennin-ji on our right we can find the entrance to Café Opal. Billing itself as “the most soulful café in world” Café Opal is certainly a pleasant spot to take a break, and after so much walking around, I think we deserve one!

Inside Café Opal

Inspired by London café culture, the owners of Café Opal thoroughly renovated this 80-year-old traditional wooden townhouse and decorated the interior in a bright and youthful style. With comfy chairs, giant speakers playing cool jazz, and a strict no smoking policy (except for the small garden area), this is a great place to relax. The food is also tasty, but a little pricey, so we might want to stick to drinks. You can find out more about the café on their website .

Gion Antiques and Crafts

Let’s follow Yamato-Oji Street north, cross Shijo, and keep going. North of Shijo, Yamato-Oji’s name changes to Nawate-dori Street. On this street and on Shinmonzen and Furumonzen (two streets that run off Nawate to the east) you can find Gion’s best traditional craft and antique shops. This is a great area to ramble in and browse, with shops selling textiles, scrolls, prints, and furniture. Many of the businesses are housed in traditional wooden townhouses and have been in the same family for generations.

Hirata Blinds Shop

To the south of Shinmonzen, running east to west is Shimbashi-dori Street, probably the prettiest street in all of Gion. This flagstoned strolling area bordered with traditional buildings and willow trees follows the course of the Shirakawa canal. At its best in the cherry blossom season, it is still a delightful area in any season for a daytime stroll or an evening promenade.

The Tatsumi Daimyojin Shrine: a tiny local shrine frequented by neighborhood geisha on Shimbashi

On a stone beside the canal is inscribed a poem by the late poet Isamu Yoshii. The monument stands where a tea house used to be built over the canal, so that people who stayed there could hear the water beneath them. Isamu Yoshii was a great lover of Gion, and once a year on November 8th a ceremony is held here in his memory and geisha lay flowers before the stone.

The stone monument to Isamu Yoshii

The poem reads:

No matter what is said it is Gion I love. Even when I sleep beneath my pillow the water flows…

Gion Sweets

Gion is also famous for its sweets and no trip here would be complete without trying some. Back on Hanami-koji is a popular cake shop, Patisserie Gion Sakai. This shop is just a short walk south of Shijo on the west side of Hanami-koji and easy to spot because though built in a traditional style, the wood is very new!

Patisserie Gion Sakai: exterior

Inside you can purchase all kinds of cakes, tarts, meringues and pastries. I particularly recommend the whisky flavored chocolate biscuits.

Patisserie Gion Sakai: Interior

The most famous sweet shop in Gion though is Tsujiri.

Tsujiri – note the line of people waiting to go up to the second floor

This matcha tea and dessert shop is on the south side of Shijo between Hanami-koji and Yamato-Oji Streets. On the second floor of the shop you can sit and enjoy matcha tea flavored parfaits or cakes. However, the shop is extremely popular and often has a line of people waiting half-way down the street. Let’s just get ice creams, to go, from the first floor instead. We can walk back to Kawabata Street from here and enjoy our ice-creams by river.

A pink and delicious “sakura” ice cream

Gion by Night

Today we have explored much of daytime Gion, but this district is a completely different world at night. In the more modern areas of Gion the bars and restaurants come alive as dusk falls, and in the preserved streets the lanterns are lit on the teahouses and maiko, or apprentice geisha, can be seen hurrying to their appointments. If you would like to explore this area at night, Chris Rowthorn Tours can organize a private Gion Evening Walk tour . And if you would like to meet a maiko or geisha in person, Chris Rowthorn Tours can arrange private geisha entertainment .

About Michael Lambe Michael Lambe is the author of the Deep Kyoto blog and chief editor of the Deep Kyoto: Walks anthology . Text and original photographs are all by Michael Lambe.

Kyoto Vacation Checklist

  • For all the essentials in a brief overview, see my First Time In Kyoto guide
  • Check Kyoto accommodation availability on Booking.com and Agoda.com - often you can book with no upfront payment and free cancellation
  • You can buy shinkansen (bullet train) tickets online from Klook - popular routes include Tokyo to Kyoto , Kyoto to Osaka and Kyoto to Tokyo
  • Need tips on where to stay? See my one page guide Where To Stay In Kyoto
  • See my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
  • Buy a data-only SIM card online for collection when you arrive at Kansai International Airport (for Osaka and Kyoto) or Tokyo's Narita Airport . Or rent an unlimited data pocket wifi router
  • Compare Japan flight prices and timings to find the best deals
  • If you're making frequent train journeys during your visit, you might save money with Japan Rail Pass – see if it's worth it for you
  • A prepaid Welcome Suica card makes travelling around Kyoto easy – here's how
  • World Nomads offers simple and flexible travel insurance. Buy at home or while traveling and claim online from anywhere in the world

Kyoto District Map

tourist map of gion

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A Guide to Gion District in Kyoto | Must-See Attractions & Popular Activities

A community of Kyoto that is known for its traditional wooden storefronts and rich Geisha culture, Gion is a district that celebrates the past and present of Japan. While in Gion , visitors can dine at award-winning restaurants, visit one of its Ryokans, take in the natural beauty of its wilderness, watch the Geishas perform traditional dance and theatrical moves, and lodge in expertly-designed hotel rooms that allow for a tranquil experience.

Gion-Kyoto-Geisha on Gion street

A Complete Guide for Exploring Gion, Kyoto

Gion is a special place that offers lessons in history, culture, and tradition to all who visit. It is a place where people can relax and tap into their inner spirituality while enjoying all of the modern conveniences of a major metropolitan area. From fine hotels to interesting attractions and fine food, guests will enjoy all that there is to see and do in Gion .

Gion-Kyoto-Traditional houses

Must-See Attractions in Gion

Along with ancient shrines and temples, Gion is home to new-age attractions that highlight the culture and diversity of this stunning city. From museums to dinner with Maiko events, guests will find a variety of fun and interactive attractions to experience. Here are some of the best attractions Gion has to offer:

Gion-Kyoto-Tatsumi Bridge

Tatsumi Bridge

Idyllic and quaint, Tatsumi Bridge leads visitors across the Kamo River and all of its picture-perfect beauty. Guests will want to be sure to bring a camera with them when checking out this bridge! If it looks familiar, it is because a replica of this bridge was built for a scene set in the movie, Memoirs of a Geisha. The pathway along the bridge is made of natural stone and is lined with fragrant cherry blossom trees that are in full bloom during the spring months. Tatsumi Bridge is an amazing attraction to visit during the day as well as at night. When the sun goes down, this bridge is lit by red lanterns that give it a warm and ambient vibe – perfect for a date night. This bridge is open 24 hours a day for your viewing pleasure.

Gion-Kyoto-Japan Kanji Museum & Library

Japan Kanji Museum & Library

The Japanese written language consists of over 5,000 written characters and visitors can see each and every one of them while visiting the Japan Kanji Museum & Library . This fun and interactive museum is dedicated entirely to the written language of the country and visitors can touch, play with, and learn about all of the characters and about the history of the language while visiting. Japan Kanji Museum & Library opened in 2016 and features a modern feel throughout. The wall in the main corridor is lined with a large timeline of the development of the language from its roots in China. There is even a tower inside where all of the characters are displayed for visitors to look at. Interactive exhibits teach guests what each character means and the significance of the character. Japan Kanji Museum & Library is open from 9:30am to 5pm every day of the week except for Mondays. Admission to get into the museum and library is 500 JPY for adults and 300 JPY for kids.

Gion-Kyoto-Gion Corner

Gion Corner

A place where visitors can get a taste of Japanese performing arts, Gion Corner inside of Yasaka Hall has it all. At Gion Corner visitors can take their seats inside of this fascinating theater and watch seven different types of performances by professional actors and musicians. At Gion Corner guests can watch as Maiko perform traditional dance moves, actors portray life in a comical matter in a Kyogen theater show and listen to music that was typically heard at the Imperial Palace. Guests will be in for an entertainment show of a lifetime when reserving a seat at one of these shows. Shows start daily at 6pm and 7pm and admission to get in is 3,150 JPY for adults, 2,200 JPY for students, and 1,900 JPY for children.

FIND & BOOK A HOTEL IN GION TODAY

Gion-Kyoto-Yasaka shrine

Popular Temples and Shrines in Gion

Gion is home to shrines and temples that date back several centuries and guests are welcome to explore them and learn about the dynamic history of the region. These historical landmarks celebrate the legacy of former leaders as well as religious figures that have made a huge impact on what Gion is today. Here is a look at some of the most popular temples and shrines to check out while you are in town:

Gion-Kyoto-Yasaka Shrine

Yasaka Shrine

Located in the heart of the city, Yasaka Shrine is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the entire region. This ornate shrine is home to the annual Gion Matsuri festival that occurs in July, drawing in thousands of tourists and locals. Yasaka Shrine was constructed over 1300 years ago and is a great place to visit day or night. It features an inner sanctuary, an offering hall, and several smaller buildings. Guests are welcome to stop in and check it out during the day and partake in a guided tour. By night, the shrine comes alive when it is all lit up, and guests are welcome to admire its beauty and take part in lantern release ceremonies. Plan to visit Yasaka Shrine during the month of April when the cherry blossom trees are in bloom to admire the beauty and take in the fragrant floral smell. Yasaka Shrine is open 24 hours a day and admission is free.

Gion-Kyoto-Kenninji Temple

Kenninji Temple

A famed Zen Buddhist temple in the heart of the city, Kenninji Temple is considered to be one of the most important temples in the region and is home to a main building and gardens that visitors are welcome to check out and learn more about Zen Buddhism. Kenninji Temple was constructed in the year 1202 and is the oldest temple of the city. The temple is decked out in traditional Japanese architecture and features an impressive Zen garden at the back of the property known as “the garden of the sound of the tide”. In the garden, visitors can check out the native flora and fauna and meditate near the Buddhist and two monk stone monuments. Inside the temple, visitors can sit on one of the tatami mats and meditate or check out the artwork that lines the walls and the ceiling. Staff are on hand to share information about the Buddhist religion and about this historic temple. Kenninji Temple is open from 10am to 5pm most months of the year, and is closed from December 28-31. Admission into Kenninji Temple is 500 JPY per person.

Gion-Kyoto-Heian Jingu Shrine

Heian Jingu Shrine

Constructed in 1895, Heian Jingu Shrine was built in memory of the emperors of the past who ruled the land. This shrine was designed to mimic the Imperial Palace and it is adorned in beautiful flower gardens and cherry blossom trees that bloom to glory in April. Within the gates of the shrine, guests will find the main memorial building as well as museums where they can learn about important military and religious leaders of the region. For guests who will be in town during the month of October, stop by to take part in the annual Jidai Festival, which celebrates the founding of Gion thousands of years ago. Heian Jingu Shrine is open daily from 6am to 5:30pm and admission is free to both adults and kids.

Gion-Kyoto-Tea set

Fine Restaurants and Teahouses in Gion

Trying to decide on the best teahouses or restaurants to dine at while visiting Gion ? Here are some of the most popular hot spots among tourists and residents alike.

  • Tsujiri Tea House, Gion Main Shop – A tantalizing tea and sweets shop where all menu items are made from the superior green tea of the region. Guests can sip on a hot cup of tea or sink their teeth into soft-serve ice cream that is dolled out with cakes and other pastries. Tsuijiri Tea House is open from Monday-Friday 10am to 8pm, and on Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 7:30pm.
  • Lipton Tea House – A tea house for those who enjoy a variety of blends, this tea house is known by tea enthusiasts of the world and features everything from black tea to white tea and green tea as well as snacks and confections. This tea house is open from 10am to 9:30pm Sunday-Thursday, and from 10am to 10pm on Friday and Saturday.
  • Gion Hatanaka – Featuring an ambient dining experience, complete with performances by traditional Japanese Geishas, this restaurant serves up traditional Japanese cuisine with endless cups of locally crafted sake. Reservations should be made in advance as seats fill up quickly.
  • Sushi Matsumoto – No trip to Japan is complete without indulging in some expertly-crafted fresh sushi, and this restaurant is among the best that the region offers. Sushi Matsumoto is the proud recipient of two Michelin stars and is open for lunch and dinner all days of the week except for Tuesday.
  • Gion Café – For those who can’t decide whether they want to visit a tea house or a fine restaurant, Gion Café offers both. This place serves up piping-hot and ice-cold tea drinks and a variety of French food and is open from 10am to 10pm daily.

Gion-Kyoto-Hotels

The Best Hotels to Stay at in Kyoto

Home to 5-star luxury hotels, quaint bed and breakfast inns, and a variety of hostels that appeal to solo travelers who are looking for a budget-friendly lodging option, Gion offers a variety of places for guests to rest their heads at night. Not only will travelers find a large selection of hotels in the heart of the city, but there are also many options available in the countryside as well. Here is a look at some of the most popular hotels visitors can choose from:

Gion-Kyoto-Kyoto Yura Hotel - MGalllery

Kyoto Yura Hotel – MGalllery

A charming hotel that is decked out in modern furnishings and boasts contemporary architecture, Kyoto Yura Hotel – MGalllery is a place where nature and urban comforts collide. This hotel is located in downtown Gion and rooms can be reserved for less than 24,950 JPY per night. This world-class 5-star hotel offers beautiful views of the countryside and provides a quiet respite after a long day of sightseeing. Kyoto Yura Hotel – MGalllery is located less than 30 miles from Osaka International Airport so it is a convenient hotel option for business and pleasure travelers alike.

At Kyoto Yura Hotel – MGalllery , travelers have plenty of options when it comes to room layouts to choose from. This hotel offers everything from standard double rooms to deluxe rooms with a view. Each room is adorned in natural tones that provide for a spa-like feel. The rooms have large picture windows to allow plenty of natural light to get in. Amenities include access to a state-of-the-art fitness center, gourmet Japanese restaurants, a warm and ambient bar, a massage service, free breakfast, and Wi-Fi.

Check In to Kyoto Yura Hotel – MGalllery , Step Out to Konchi-In Garden

Gion-Kyoto-The Westin Miyako Kyoto

The Westin Miyako Kyoto

For just under 48,000 JPY per night, guests can lodge like royalty in the comfort of the rooms offered at The Westin Miyako Kyoto . This luxury hotel was recently renovated and now offers more luxury amenities than ever before. The Westin Miyako Kyoto is located in the downtown area with quick access to Osaka International Airport . It is within walking distance from many of the fine restaurants, boutique shops, attractions, and public transportation systems.

The Westin Miyako Kyoto offers a variety of rooms and suites that range from standard rooms to multi-room executive suites, and most rooms come with either a view of the gardens or the city. Each room is decked out in fresh neutral tones that provide for a relaxing stay. The rooms in this hotel feature floor-to-ceiling windows that allow plenty of natural light to get in. While staying at this hotel guests can take advantage of complimentary toiletries, a sauna, a day spa, an outdoor swimming pool, grocery delivery, a massage service, onsite gourmet restaurants, a public lounge, a bar, and a banquet hall for large events.

Check In to The Westin Miyako Kyoto , Step Out to National Museum of Modern Art

Gion-Kyoto-Kyoto Granbell Hotel

Kyoto Granbell Hotel

An exceptional value at just 10,100 JPY during non-peak travel months of the year, Kyoto Granbell Hotel exceeds expectations when it comes to modern luxury and elegance. This hotel is located in downtown Gion and offers guests a chance to relax and unwind amid peaceful surroundings. This hotel is within walking distance of many of the historic castles, shrines, temples, restaurants, and boutiques of the community.

When staying at Kyoto Granbell Hotel , guests will have many different options when it comes to picking out a room that is just perfect for them. Whether traveling alone or with family and business associates, Kyoto Granbell Hotel offers the perfect lodging accommodations. Rooms offered at this hotel include premier rooms with western-style furnishings, deluxe rooms with Japanese furnishings, and superior rooms in both western and Japanese styles. Guests will get to take advantage of amenities such as complimentary breakfast, a steam room, onsite restaurants and a bar, a coffee shop, an outdoor pool, and a massage service. Each room is decked out in clean and neutral furnishings that promote rest and relaxation.

Check In to Kyoto Granbell Hotel , Step Out to Asuka Restaurant

Gion-Kyoto-Kizashi The Suite

Kizashi The Suite

Showcasing the perfect mix of modern technology with traditional Japanese style, Kizashi The Suite is the ideal hotel for those who want to immerse themselves into the Japanese culture, but also want to indulge in luxury accommodations while doing it. This hotel is located in the downtown region and is centrally located near the city train and bus stations for easy access to all of Kyoto . Rooms start out at just 10,100 JPY per night and the hotel offers several suite and executive room options to suit the needs of guests.

Staying at Kizashi The Suite is an experience that guests will remember long after they have checked out. Each room is adorned in hardwood and tatami mat flooring, rich wall coloring, and modern Japanese style furniture. Some suites come with a full living room and dining room area and all guests are treated to fresh linens and fragrant toiletries. Kizashi The Suite features Michelin guide recognized restaurants, a spacious guest lobby, a hot tub, massage services, a day spa, a library, and a currency exchange center. Kizashi The Suite goes above and beyond to ensure the comfort and relaxation of all guests who stay here.

Check In to Kizashi The Suite , Step Out to Shoren-In Temple

Gion-Kyoto-Kyoto Ryokan SAKANOUE

Kyoto Ryokan SAKANOUE

Boasting prestigious amenities such as a tatami-matted community room and stone soaking tubs, Kyoto Ryokan SAKANOUE offers the ultimate in rest and relaxation. Whether you are looking for a romantic room to share with your partner, are in the city on a family vacation, or embarking on a Japanese-inspired adventure with friends, this hotel has a room for all of your needs. Guests can reserve a room at this luxury hotel for as low as 42,000 JPY per night during the non-peak travel months of the year. Kyoto Ryokan SAKANOUE is located in downtown Gion with quick access to Gion Shijo Subway Station and Higashiyama Subway Station .

Kyoto Ryokan SAKANOUE features a variety of rooms and suites that are inspired by nature and traditional Japanese culture. From standard rooms to deluxe family rooms, guests will find exactly what they are looking for at Kyoto Ryokan SAKANOUE . If your lodging plans are flexible, allow the staff to assign you a room upon your arrival and you could receive a substantial discount on your stay. Rooms come complete with tatami mat or carpeted flooring, neutral colored walls, dark wood furnishings, and traditional Japanese art. Each room features a private bathroom, some even with stone soaking tubs. While staying at Kyoto Ryokan SAKANOUE , travelers are treated to amenities such as a community discussion room, a tranquil Japanese garden, complimentary massages, a hot tub, a day spa, and more.

Check In to Kyoto Ryokan SAKANOUE , Step Out to Kagizen Yoshifusa Japanese Teahouse

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Why You’ll Pay More and Behave Better When You Travel This Summer

From Barcelona to Bali, higher fees and new rules are targeting overtourism and unruly behavior. Some locals are worried the changes will keep tourists away.

Crowds of people in bathing suits and shorts sit beneath colorful umbrellas on a beach that is so crowded, the sand cannot be seen.

By Paige McClanahan

A new tourist fee in Bali. Higher hotel taxes in Amsterdam and Paris. Stricter rules on public drinking in Milan and Majorca. Ahead of the summer travel season, leaders in many tourist spots have adopted measures to tame the tourist crowds — or at least earn more revenue from them.

All of this may pose headaches for travelers, although in most cases, the new fees or tax increases represent only a tiny fraction of the total cost of a trip. The goal is to ensure that tourism functions smoothly for visitors and locals alike, said Megan Epler Wood, managing director of the Sustainable Tourism Asset Management Program at Cornell University.

“All tourism is dependent on beautiful natural and cultural resources. You have to protect those resources in order to be a viable tourism destination — and if you don’t, they degrade,” Ms. Epler Wood said.

In some places, proposals for new fees or visitor rules have drawn opposition from residents, who fear they might scare away the tourists who bolster the local economy. But destinations need to find ways to counteract what Ms. Epler Wood calls “ the invisible burden ” of tourism, which includes strains on a community’s infrastructure, utilities and housing stock, as well as tourists’ carbon footprint and any challenges they might impose on residents’ daily lives.

“You put so much pressure on the place that the people who live there become unhappy, and then they don’t present a very good face to tourists,” Ms. Epler Wood said. “The longer you wait, the higher the cost to fix it.”

Here is a look at new measures that travelers can expect this summer, and where others might be coming in the future.

New visitor fees

Since February, visitors to the Indonesian island of Bali have been asked to pay a levy of 150,000 Indonesian rupiahs, or about $9.40 per visit. Revenue will be used to support the preservation of cultural and natural assets on the island, where tourism has brought major challenges related to litter, water supply and overcrowding. Visitors are encouraged to pay the new fee online before departure, although it’s also possible to pay on arrival at the airport.

Beginning Aug. 1, most foreign travelers to the Galápagos Islands — which had a record-breaking 330,000 visitors last year — must pay a $200 entry fee, double the current rate. The money raised will be used to support conservation, improve infrastructure and fund community programs.

The change is the first increase to the entry fee since it was introduced in 1998, said Tom O’Hara, communications manager for the Galápagos Conservation Trust . Mr. O’Hara noted that the increase comes a year after the UNESCO World Heritage Committee urged the government of Ecuador to work toward a “zero-growth model” for tourism in the Galápagos.

“It’s quite a complicated topic,” Mr. O’Hara said, noting that the fee increase has been viewed “as part of the solution to overtourism.” On the other hand, he added, “everyone is trying to reassure the local tourist industry that this isn’t going to kill tourism on the islands.

In April, Venice began imposing a fee — 5 euros, about $5.40 — on day-trippers visiting on peak days, with the goal of striking “a new balance between the tourists and residents.”

But the new Venice Access Fee has drawn criticism from residents. “This project is a disaster for us. We are a city, not a park,” said Matteo Secchi, the president of Venessia.com, an association of Venice residents. Mr. Secchi said that a communications campaign would have been more effective.

The possibility of a new tourist fee has also drawn local opposition in Hawaii, where Gov. Josh Green has proposed a “climate impact fee” for visitors to the state. The measure failed during a recent meeting of the State Legislature, but Governor Green has persisted in calling for visitors to help fund the state’s preparation for future climate shocks.

“We have to get this tiger by the tail,” he told journalists in May, adding that $25 per visitor could raise $250 million a year, which the state could use to guard against climate disasters, manage erosion, strengthen infrastructure and protect parks.

Hotel fees and other taxes get a bump

Hotel taxes, also known as occupancy or accommodation taxes, are widespread in the United States and Europe, where they were on the rise for a decade leading up to the pandemic. With tourism’s rebound to prepandemic levels, several destinations have increased or adjusted the tax to capture more revenue.

Like Hawaii, Greece — which also suffered severe wildfires last summer — is looking to steel itself against climate disasters, and the government wants tourists to help foot the bill. Greece is calling the charge a climate crisis resilience fee , and it will be collected by accommodation providers. The tax will be higher from March to October, when it will top out at €10 per night at five-star hotels. The rate drops from November to February, and for hotels with fewer stars. The fee replaces the previous hotel tax, which ranged from €0.50 to €4 per night.

In Amsterdam, the hotel tax, which was already one of the highest in Europe, rose to 12.5 percent from 7 percent on Jan. 1. City lawmakers have also raised the tax on cruise passengers to €14 from €11 per person per night.

The hotel tax in Barcelona also rose this year, increasing to €3.25 per night. The measure was the final step-up in a gradual increase that began before the pandemic. A spokesman for Barcelona City Hall said that further tax increases would be aimed at tourist rental apartments and cruises that make short stopovers, which contribute less to the city’s income. The spokesman also noted that revenue generated by the tourist tax is being used, among other things, to fund the installation of solar panels and air-conditioning in Barcelona’s public schools.

Ahead of this summer’s Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris, lawmakers in the Île-de-France region have imposed a new tax, on top of the normal hotel levy. With the new tax, which will fund public transportation in the region, a guest in a five-star hotel now owes a total of €10.73 in tax per night stayed, while a stay in a two-star hotel incurs a tax of €3.25 per night.

Though the measure was adopted by the regional government, it was not supported by the leadership in Paris itself. A spokeswoman for Paris City Hall called the move “a democratic power grab” that “in no way benefits the city of Paris.” She noted that even with the funds generated by the new tax, the region still raised the price of tickets for public transportation in the city during the Olympics — a measure that has disgruntled many Paris residents.

Introducing new rules

In other tourist spots, the focus is on curbing behavior that pollutes the local environment or harms residents’ quality of life.

In Japan, authorities at Mount Fuji will cap visitors at 4,000 per day. They have also imposed a new fee of 2,000 yen (about $13) for access to the iconic summit. Elsewhere in the country, a community council in the Gion neighborhood of Kyoto has closed some small roads to tourists, after complaints that the area, home to the city’s geisha district, was suffering from crowds.

“We will ask tourists to refrain from entering narrow private streets in or after April,” Isokazu Ota, a leading member of the community council, told Agence-France Presse in March. “We don’t want to do this, but we’re desperate.”

A spokeswoman for the city’s tourism board described the road closures as “a local initiative,” adding that “neither Kyoto City nor the Kyoto City Tourism Association are aware of any details beyond what is reported in the media.”

Rowdy visitor behavior has been the target of new rules in Milan. In some areas, city leaders have banned outdoor seating after 12:30 a.m. during the week and 1:30 a.m. on the weekend in response to resident complaints. They have also limited the late-night sale of takeaway food and drinks.

And in certain areas on the Spanish Balearic Islands of Majorca and Ibiza that are overrun with drunk tourists, the government has imposed a ban on late-night sales of alcohol and the consumption of alcohol in the street. New restrictions have also been imposed on party boats in the same areas.

“Tourism has negative externalities that must be managed and minimized,” Marga Prohens, the president of the Balearic Islands, told a local gathering this month , according to The Majorca Daily Bulletin. Local tourism, she said, “cannot continue to grow in volume.”

Paige McClanahan, a regular contributor to the Travel section, is author of “The New Tourist: Waking Up to the Power and Perils of Travel,” forthcoming from Scribner on June 18.

Open Up Your World

Considering a trip, or just some armchair traveling here are some ideas..

52 Places:  Why do we travel? For food, culture, adventure, natural beauty? Our 2024 list has all those elements, and more .

Port Antonio, Jamaica:  The Grammy-nominated D.J. and music producer Diplo recommends spots in a city he loves  on Jamaica’s northeast coast. A dance party makes the cut.

New Mexico:  The Gila Wilderness, home to wolves, mountain lions and other wildlife, marks a century as a “land lab,”  where nature thrives as far as the eye can see.

Greece:  Is Serifos the perfect Greek island? A writer’s checklist included ferry service, great beaches and good local restaurants.

Brooklyn:  This 36-hour itinerary  skips the most touristy and overdeveloped areas, including Williamsburg and Dumbo, and requires no restaurant reservations or advance planning.

Costa Rica:  Travelers are signing up for phone-free tours to try to escape technology’s tether on daily life. But would it make for a better experience ?

IMAGES

  1. Gion Walking Tour Map by Maikoya : Things to Do in Gion

    tourist map of gion

  2. Gion Kyoto Geisha District: The Ultimate Guide

    tourist map of gion

  3. KYOTO Gion・Kiyomizudera・Ginkakuji Tourist Map|sightseeing map map&news

    tourist map of gion

  4. GION Walking Tour Map by Maikoya

    tourist map of gion

  5. How to get (attractions in Gion from bus stops arriving from Ginkakuji

    tourist map of gion

  6. 1 Day Itinerary in Higashiyama and Gion

    tourist map of gion

VIDEO

  1. Strolling through the Gion Shopping Streets in Kyoto, Japan

  2. Geisha District of Gion in Kyoto, Japan

  3. The Beautiful Gion at Night in Kyoto, Japan

  4. [4K] Walking Through Gion District's Ancient Charms

  5. chưa chắc đã giòn đâu

  6. món này giòn không ta

COMMENTS

  1. Gion Kyoto: 20 Must-See Highlights of the Geisha District

    2. Hanami Lane. The entertainment district of Kyoto known as Gion has long been associated with geisha (or geiko, as they are known in Kyoto) and traditional Japanese arts. Hanami Lane ( hanamikoji, see map) contains some of the most beautiful traditional architecture in the district.

  2. Gion

    Gion (祇園) is Kyoto's most famous geisha district, located around Shijo Avenue between Yasaka Shrine in the east and the Kamo River in the west. It is filled with shops, restaurants and ochaya (teahouses), where geiko (Kyoto dialect for geisha) and maiko (geiko apprentices) entertain.. Gion attracts tourists with its high concentration of traditional wooden machiya merchant houses.

  3. Gion Guide: What To See, Eat And Do In Kyoto's Geisha District

    Gion is one of the most famous districts in Kyoto, Japan, known for its traditional architecture, tea houses, and geisha culture. The area has a rich history dating back to the 8th century when it was established as a temple town. Over time, Gion became a hub for entertainment and culture, attracting artists, writers, and performers.

  4. A Night Stroll Through Kyoto's Geisha District

    Address: 605-0075 Higashiyama-ku, Gion, Kyoto. Opening Hours: Irregularly (see their webpage for scheduled Kakubi performances) Price: Tickets for a Kakubi performance varies between 4200 - 27000 Yen = US$ 39 - 252 depending on the seats and performance. Minamiza's Official Webpage.

  5. Kyoto Gion Walking Guide: Top 10 Must-See Areas for First-Time Visitors

    Gion's Yasaka Shrine was formerly known as "Gionsha" with extensive grounds covering the current location and the entire Kamogawa area. As a result, the area around the shrine came to be known as "Gion." Modern Gion has a dual-character, serving as a tourist destination with its old-fashioned atmosphere and a "hanamachi" (literally "flower district") the Japanese term for ...

  6. GION Walking Tour Map by Maikoya

    Gion Kyoto geisha district is Japan's most popular geisha neighborhood. In Gion you can find traditional old buildings with lantern-lit yards and upscale town-house-style restaurants that look like a scene from a fairy tale. There are currently 70 geishas and 30 maikos (apprentice geisha) working at 60 teahouses in Gion.

  7. Gion

    For a map of Gion that corresponds to the Walking in Gion daytime tour, check out our Gion Map. Click the icon on the top left for a slide-out menu showing the place names. ... World Nomads provides travel insurance for travellers in over 100 countries. As an affiliate, we receive a fee when you get a quote from World Nomads using this link.

  8. The Ultimate Self-Guided Walking Tour of Historic Gion Kyoto

    Maruyama Park. Start your walking tour of Gion inside Maruyama Park. If you're lucky enough to visit Maruyama Park during cherry blossom season, you're in for a real treat. This park is the best place for cherry blossom viewing in Kyoto. The most impressive sight here is the 'shidarezakura ,' a weeping cherry tree which lights up at night.

  9. Unveiling Gion: A Comprehensive Guide to Kyoto's Geisha District

    Gion, a district nestled in the ancient city of Kyoto, is a place where time seems to stand still. Stepping into Gion is like stepping into a world of old Japan, where traditional culture and grace are beautifully preserved. With its narrow cobbled streets lined with charming wooden machiya houses and centuries-old tea houses known as ochaya ...

  10. Kyoto's Gion District

    1 of 13. A walk through the Gion district. Gion, also known as the geisha district, is a popular tourist spot in Kyoto City. The main attraction of this area is Hanami-koji street which still has a lot of traditional wooden houses. These houses now function as restaurants, teahouses (ocha-ya) where guests are entertained by geiko or maiko ...

  11. Gion

    Gion is the perfect place to explore the Kyoto of another age. Known as the city's entertainment district, particularly for the refined performers known as geisha (or more properly geiko) who have enthralled patrons for centuries, Gion is full of handsome, understated townhouses and teahouses, restaurants serving traditional Kyoto cuisine, and venerable temples and shrines.

  12. Gion Travel Guide: Kyoto's Geisha District

    Gion is located to the north and south of Shijo Street, from the Kamo-gawa River in the west to the Yasaka-Jinja Shrine in the east. To reach Gion, use your Japan Rail Pass to reach Kyoto Station. Then, take bus number 100 or 206 to the Gion bus stop. You can also take a local train in one of Kyoto's private lines: the closes stations to Gion ...

  13. Gion Travel Guide: Things to do in Gion, Kyoto

    Taste the Famous Issen Yoshoku. Irma Syahriar. Kyoto is famous for a lot of things. But when it comes to food, Issen Yoshoku is one recommended dish that you should not miss. 20 2.

  14. Gion Kyoto: What to see in Geisha district

    Gion is located in Higashiyama, to the east of the Kamo River. Gion is one of the most beautiful and well-preserved districts in the whole of Kyoto. People from all over the world come specifically to see Gion, not just for its architecture, but in the hopes of spotting the elusive geishas. Gion also hosts a variety of shrines and temples ...

  15. Kyoto's Gion district

    The Gion district was originally developed in the middle ages as a town to accommodate travelers and visitors to the nearby Yasaka Shrine. Over the years it evolved to become one of the most exclusive and well-known geisha districts in Japan. The Gion is one of the best places (if not the best) in Japan to get a glimpse of geisha and maiko.

  16. Gion

    Gion district is organized around 3 main alleys, with specific cityscapes and functions: Hanamikoji, Shirakawa and Pontocho. Beware however when taking pictures: since 2019, October 25 shooting the private streets in the area is forbidden and can be punished by a ¥ 10,000 (~US$63.60) fine.. Hanamikoji-dori, the street of geiko and maiko. Hanamikoji street is the most famous and iconic ...

  17. Gion, Kyoto (Geisha District)

    Kyotos Gion District is one of Japans most well-known "Geisha districts". Visitors travel to Gion for a chance to catch a glimpse of a Geisha (or Geiko as they are called here), enjoy the well preserved, historic entertainment area and to learn about traditional arts and crafts. In this centuries old district of Kyoto, old wooden town ...

  18. Walking In Gion

    Walking In Gion. At the heart of Kyoto lies Gion, the city's most famous entertainment district and the center of its traditional arts. Michael Lambe takes us on a daytime tour of Gion's most famous landmarks, shops and historic sites. Yasaka-jinja Shrine, a spiritual lodestone at the heart of Kyoto, lies at the eastern edge of the Gion ...

  19. A Guide to Gion District in Kyoto

    A community of Kyoto that is known for its traditional wooden storefronts and rich Geisha culture, Gion is a district that celebrates the past and present of Japan. While in Gion, visitors can dine at award-winning restaurants, visit one of its Ryokans, take in the natural beauty of its wilderness, watch the Geishas perform traditional dance and theatrical moves, and lodge in expertly-designed ...

  20. Elektrostal Map

    Elektrostal is a city in Moscow Oblast, Russia, located 58 kilometers east of Moscow. Elektrostal has about 158,000 residents. Mapcarta, the open map.

  21. Elektrostal, Moscow Oblast, Russia

    Elektrostal Geography. Geographic Information regarding City of Elektrostal. Elektrostal Geographical coordinates. Latitude: 55.8, Longitude: 38.45. 55° 48′ 0″ North, 38° 27′ 0″ East. Elektrostal Area. 4,951 hectares. 49.51 km² (19.12 sq mi) Elektrostal Altitude.

  22. Elektrostal

    Elektrostal is linked by Elektrichka suburban electric trains to Moscow's Kursky Rail Terminal with a travel time of 1 hour and 20 minutes. Long distance buses link Elektrostal to Noginsk, Moscow and other nearby towns. Local public transport includes buses. Sports

  23. Global Hot Spots Take Aim at Overtourism

    June 4, 2024. A new tourist fee in Bali. Higher hotel taxes in Amsterdam and Paris. Stricter rules on public drinking in Milan and Majorca. Ahead of the summer travel season, leaders in many ...

  24. Elektrostal

    Elektrostal, city, Moscow oblast (province), western Russia.It lies 36 miles (58 km) east of Moscow city. The name, meaning "electric steel," derives from the high-quality-steel industry established there soon after the October Revolution in 1917. During World War II, parts of the heavy-machine-building industry were relocated there from Ukraine, and Elektrostal is now a centre for the ...