The geiko and maiko of Kyoto, keepers of time-honored traditional dance and music, are concentrated in five kagai(geisha districts) across the city. Each of the districts performs a large-scale dance for the public once a year, and Kamishichiken district’s Kitano Odori runs from March 25th to April 7th to usher in the spring. Two performances are held each day, at 13:30 and 16:00, and tickets cost 4,300 yen. For an additional 500 yen guests can enjoy a cup of green tea and a sweet before the play, which also comes with a commemorative plate. Tickets can be purchased online for those with Japanese credit cards, procured through travel agents, or reserved with assistance at the Tourist Information Center in Kyoto Station.
The Kitano Odori usually consists of three sections: a multi-scene story play, a collection of themed dances, and the ever popular Kamishichiken Serenade finale piece. With the exception of the finale, other performances change each year. Recent story plays have included “Enishi no Miya”, a romance about two lovers trying to prove they are meant to be together, “Naniwa Utazaimon”, a comic adaptation of a classic love suicide tragedy, and “Shijō Kabuki”, a dramatic story about the woman who invented kabuki theater.
Having celebrated its 65th year in 2017, Kitano Odori officially began in 1952 to commemorate the 1,050thanniversary of the founding of Kitano Tenmangū, the shrine located next to the Kamishichiken geisha district.
Kamishichiken’s elegant geiko, charming maikoapprentices, and skilled musicians come together on this scale only once a year to put on the Kitano Odori, so don’t miss out during your spring trip to Kyoto!
The geiko of Kyoto, keepers of time honored traditional dance and music, are concentrated in five hanamachi (geisha districts) across the city. Each of the districts performs a large-scale dance for the public once a year, with four of them held in the spring season. Every hanamachi has its own characteristics, and each varies in the number of performers as well as the dance repertoire, the number of performances, and the ticket price, so there is sure to be a dance that attracts your interest. Those interested can pay slightly more with their ticket to participate in a tea ceremony before the dance hosted by a maiko apprentice. Tickets can be purchased on the day at the theater ticket offices if not sold out, or can be reserved in advance at the Tourist Information Center in Kyoto Station.
Where: Gion Kōbu Kaburenjō Theater
When: April 1st – April 24th | 12:30, 14:20, 16:10
Price: ¥3,500 (First Class), ¥4,600 (Special Class + Green Tea)
Where: Kamishichiken Kaburenjō Theater
When: March 25th – April 7th | 13:30, 16:00
Price: ¥4,300, ¥4,800 (+ Green Tea)
Where: Miyagawachō Kaburenjō Theater
When: April 1st – April 16th | 12:30, 14:30, 16:30
Price: ¥2,200 (Second Class), ¥2,800 (Second Class + Green Tea), ¥4,200 (First Class), ¥4,800 (First Class + Green Tea)
Where: Pontochō Kaburenjō Theater
When: May 1st – May 24th | 12:30, 14:20, 16:10
Price: ¥2,300, ¥4,200 (Special Class), ¥4,800 (Special Class + Green Tea)