Sunday, June 14

Kyoto for Hanami, Vol. 2, Day 4: Miyako Odori

I have put off this post out of laziness and because it is the last one I have of Kyoto and the last interesting one on Japan. And I don't want it all to really come to an end.

But I've put it off long enough, so here it is. Mou kaeritain desu kedo...

Kyo Odori

Beautiful posters announce the spring dances put on by the maiko and geiko of Kyoto's hanamachi during the month of April.

Kyo Odori
Yasuko gets her tickets.

On the way to see Miyako Odori we made a very long detour, at the end of which I came out with a pair of "My Hashi," collapsible chopsticks in a soft wrap for carrying to restaurants and thus avoiding disposable ones. Good thing I finally got a pair two days before leaving the country.

Scary Shrine Tunnel

Just before going to the theater, we stopped at a small shrine called Yasui Konpira-gu, as Yasuko wanted to show me something "scary." As she explained it to me, this tunnel consists of the bad vibes people wish to throw off themselves. They write them on the strips of paper, tie them to the mound and crawl through the tunnel. However, there seems to be another meaning to the mound (search words: "kyoto shrine paper tunnel". Amazing that I got a hit on the first page! Thanks, Inside Kyoto!) .

After further investigation at the shrine's website, it seems that both are correct:

This monument such as a white flower "a monument of relationship limit matchmaking ."

There is a hole for a person to pass midmost. It cuts a border if I pass than the list of the rock. On the contrary,

Who pass from the back and tie up a rim. Finally Who put a scapegoat on the rock and pray.

It seems to cut not only the man and woman but also the bad borders such as diseases。

Lanterns, Omikuji and Sakura
Yasui Konpira-gu

After much touring about I was getting a bit antsy, as I thought the dance started earlier than it did. But we made it in plenty of time and all was right with the world.

2009 Miyako Odori Kimono

Miyako Odori is held at Gion Kaburenjo. Those with the special Chaseki tickets enter to the right. Just inside the theater entrance is a small display area with the current year's kimono. There is also a small gallery of artwork by the maiko themselves.

Koi wa?

As you wait to enter the tea ceremony room, you are invited to sit or go outside to enjoy the garden.

Temae: Terukoma
Hikae: Kyouka

This year, the geiko preparing the tea (for the special guests in front of her) was Terukoma. The maiko serving them was Kyouka. By some stroke of luck, we were first in line again this year, and were able to get the same seats.

Terukoma Enters

In retrospect, I might have chosen a different seat in order to get a different perspective on the process, and I might have taken fewer pictures and just enjoyed more. But it's so amazing to watch her work, and if I've got that camera in my hand... I guess now I can just enjoy it for a long time.

Kyouka's Silent Aisatsu

Kyouka's Obi
Kyouka is such a pretty maiko, she looks like a doll. And the combination of her pink kimono and purple arrow obi were breathtaking.

One more for the road.
Terukoma and Kyouka begin a new ceremony as we move on to the theater lobby.

Showa 53
While most Miyako Odori kimono are blue, a few are green.

After leaving the tea ceremony, guests may enter another part of the garden which has access to a tiny room lined with kimono of Miyako Odori past.

Baby Momiji

So dazzlingly beautiful in their autumn reds and oranges, the spring momiji sprout tiny purple and white flowers that create a lovely fringe under the canopy of leaves.


Just a sampling from the displays in the Maiko Gallery at Gion Kobu (Gion Corner)

Kanzashi for January to May

Uchiwa fans for July

Fuji for May

Miyako Odori everywhere.

After our show, like last year, two maiko were giving a special photo session for all the otaku. So once we left the theater, we jetted over to Tatsumibashi to take advantage.


Mamehana's Adornments

I realized, after I'd gotten home and started going through my pictures, that while taking these shots of Mamehana from the back as she moved to a new spot, I was a jama! I was one of those inconsiderate people who get behind the maiko and end up in everybody else's pictures. Sorry everybody...


Just beautiful. And her butterfly kanzashi were so lovely.

Maneki Neko

Soon enough the maiko were spirited away, leaving the rest of us glowing from the brief encounter. Even the birds didn't know what to do with themselves.

After the Odori, it was time for me to move along. I had a shinkansen to catch back to Nagoya where I would hop on another train to Gifu to spend the night and next day with Aya-sensei's family.

Losing his Shorts
I love this crazy shop.

Yes,We can enjoy GAMAGORI!
Nothing is sacred.

And thus my last day in Kyoto came to an end. And what a Good Time it was.


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