Grand master of the Inoue school of dance - Yachiyo Inoue V talks about the meaning of folding fans on the day of the Kotohajme. Yachiyo Inoue is a National Living Treasure but she keeps on practicing her skills everyday. She also teaches every maiko and geiko in Gion Kobu herself. On 13th December they visit her house and gift her mochi cakes as a symbol of thanksgiving and respect. In return, all maiko and geiko receive new fans that they will use within the following year.

Source - Winter Comes to The Geisha


Shigyoshiki 2015 of Gion Kobu by SankeiNews on Youtube

You can see a part of dance of Yachiyo Inoue (her kimono is so perfect *w*) and the reading the principles of their profession.

The maikos on picture and video are Satsuki, Marika, Katsue, Ichiharu, Shino, Masaki, Mamesumi, Mameroku, Chiyoko. And the geikos are Tsuruha and Sayaka.


Forbidden Kyoto - Winter comes to the Geisha (NHK World, 2011)


  • Kabuki: How maneki are made - Manekiage ceremony (25th Nov)
  • Meeting with maiko Chisako to buy maneki kanzashi at Kintakedo kanzashi shop (we can see the diference between junior and senior maiko maneki kanzashi)
  • Glimpse of maiko having dance lessons

Maiko (apprentice geisha) and two shikomi (beginner apprentices) from the Tama yakata (geisha house) returning from the home of Yachiyo Inoue, the head of the Inoue school of dance. Together with other maiko and geiko (geisha) from the Gion Kobu district, they pledged to continue to work and train hard and celebrated the new year by eating zōni.  2012, Japan.

Text and photography by Michael Chandler on Flickr


Promo photoshoot for Miyako Odori 2014!

Miyako Odori is annual, the most important and famous, dance “cherry blossom” recital in Gion Kobu. It will be performed during the whole April and because of that, April is the busiest month in Gion geiko’s lives.

1. Presenting the scenario of Miyako Odori 2014- geiko Katsugiku, geiko Kyouka, geiko Koyou, maiko Fumino, geiko Mihoko, maiko Satsuki, geiko Mao and geiko Koyoshi. Satsuki is the poster girl (second time in a row!) of this year’s Miyako Odori

2. Posing in famous blue kimono - maiko Satsuki and maiko Fumino
Fumino will dance in Miyako Odori as a geiko. She is expected to have her erikae in March.

3. Maiko Satsuki, Fumino and the dance master Yachiyo Inoue of Inoue school in Gion Kobu. She is the most important and respected figure for every shikomi, minarai, maiko and geiko.


Photos from SANKEI


Backstage of rehearsals for the Miyako no Nigiwai - dances of all five geiko districts in Kyoto. All geiko and maiko dance together on stage.


Today’s Kotohajime in Gion Kobu at Yachiyo Inoue’s house

Yachiyo Inoue is the dance master in Gion Kobu. Every 13th December she opens her house for her apprentices (geiko and maiko from Gion). They receive brand new dance fan for her, chat with Inoue san and eat rice cakes. Kotohajime event is traditionally a sign of “New Year’s preparations” as it means “getting started”.


Opening ceremony in Gion Kobu, last Wednesday.

Maiko and geiko re-new the vows of Gion, get prizes for their hard work and pay respects to their teachers and patrons. They also watch the most important performance of their dance master, Yachiyo Inoue.

The best maiko of 2014 in Gion Kobu are Satsuki of Tsurui okiya, Mamefuji of Tama and Mikako of Nishimura.


Rehearsals for the Onshukai 2014

Onshukai is an October dance recital held in Gion Kobu


Shigyoshiki ceremony 2015 in Gion Kobu

Maiko and geiko get prizes for the best financial success, they re-new the vows of Gion, exchange New Year’s greetings, watch their dance master performng and eat a ceremonial meal


Yachiyo Inoue V at kotohajime (2011), presenting her geiko and maiko students with new fans for them to use in the coming year. The color of the fan corresponds to the rank of the students.

In return the students gift her okagamisan (a pair of pounded glutinous rice cakes) and a red and white envelope containing money (the amount corresponds to the status of the student in the school hierarchy: less for maiko, more for senior geiko.)


Hatsuyori 2014: maiko Satsuki by YASU733 - BLOG. Of course click for more! ^^

Satsuki is currently the most famous and financially successful lady in Gion Kobu and she is only 19!

Every year on January 13th, maiko and geiko of Gion Kobu gather at their dance master’s house (Inoue Yachiyo) to celebrate New Year and exchange best wishes. They are dressed in the most colorful and elegant outfits.


Miyabikai Osendo (2011) : Starting from July 1st, a number of important festivals and ceremonies are held for Gion Matsuri. The traditions have been passed down from generation to generation for hundreds of years and are sprinkled throughout the month. On July 8th geiko and maiko take part in the festival purification ceremony at Yasaka Shrine. (source)

Inoue School of Dance 1910s, Japan.  Maiko (apprentice geisha) Momotarō with two mai-ōgi or dancing fans.  The diamond-shaped lozenge on the fans is the kamon or family crest of Inoue Yachiyo, the head of the Inoue School of dance.  The distinctive design near the handle is an indication of the rank of the performer, three layers for a maiko (apprentice geisha), five layers for a geiko (geisha), and seven layers for a senior geiko who has mastered the dance style.  The colour of the stripes between the layers changes from red to purple depending on seniority, while an all white fan is a practice fan.  Text and image via Blue Ruin 1 on Flickr


New Year’s opening ceremony in Gion Kobu - Shigyoshiki

Maiko and geiko renew their vows, watch a special performance of their dance master Yachiyo Inoue and the ranking of geiko and maiko is published.


SHIGYOSHIKI 2014 - Grand Opening Ceremony in Gion Kobu (and in other districts, too)

Every year on 7th January, geiko and maiko of Gion Kobu gather at the Gion Kaburenjo Theater to inaugurate the new year in business. Dressed in their best formal outfits (that include black crested kimono, red-and-gold juban , gold obi and three unpainted lines on their necks) and special rice kanzashi, they renew vows, watch a dedicated dance by their dance master Yachiyo Inoue and drink ceremonial sake.

Although the main part of this ceremony is declassifying the ranking list! Ranking shows who is the most popular lady in Gion and it’s measured by her incomings - ohana. The winner gains a special prize.

Text by geisha-kai, photos by DEEPSEASON:

1. maiko Sachiho and Satsuki (wearing matching obiage - nice detail! Also, Satsuki’s kimono seems to be brand new ^^)

2. maiko Chiyoko and geiko Makiko

3. & 5.  geiko Kyouka, maiko Satsuki, maiko Shouko and maiko Mikako

4. geiko Mao, geiko Makino and maiko Masaki

6. maiko Fumino, maiko Kiyono and maiko Eriha


Hatsuyori 2014 - photos by KUUMIL on Instagram. Visit for more!

Every year on January 13th, maiko and geiko of Gion Kobu gather at their dance master’s house (Inoue Yachiyo) to celebrate New Year and exchange best wishes. They are dressed in the most colorful and elegant outfits!

1. maiko Mameroku and a shikomi Mamechika

2. maiko Satsuki, Momokazu and Fumino

3. maiko Mamefuji and geiko Mamesuzu

4. geiko Sakiko and geiko Katsugiku

5. maiko Katsuhina, Katsutomo, Katsue and a Nishimura family

6. maiko Masaki and two shikomi (Yukiha and Mamekiku) of Tama okiya who will soon debut as maiko!