I must admit it, I am quite fascinated by the Hanamachi, the so-called flower town, or the world of the Maiko and the Geiko (Geisha). Whenever I can, I go to admire them walking along the streets of Gion or Miyagawa-Cho in their beautiful kimono.  They’re always so elegant, so gorgeous, so cheerful.  

Maiko and Tourists

I also admire their patience toward all of us with our cameras, waiting for them, sometimes even tracking them, following them, surrounding them, to take their photo.  It often goes well and there is usually no problem.

Over time, I’ve learned the basic etiquette of taking some photos, trying to bother them as little as possible. It’s not very much, and once we understand that they are actually people, busy performing their work duties, and do not have the time to stop for a selfie with us, then everything is just logical. No, they are not Mickey Mouse within a theme park, but they are people like you and me and are in no way obligated to accept our photos or pose for us.  Just respect them and do not bother them. 


  • Do not block their way or hinder their passage in any way. Do not force them to walk around you!  Make sure you all stay on the same side of the street. 
  • Never use a flash!
  • Never take any photos or videos if they are walking with a client! 
  • Do not stop them to ask if you can take a photo or ask them to pose (mainly if you can see they’re walking fast — they’re working!)

If you’re being ignored, you’re doing well!

The above is common sense and should be standard behavior. But still, I am at times shocked at the lack of respect some people show to them, harassing them, taking their photo with a flash at a short distance, without asking, without considering that the flash could bother them or even hurt them!

The Maiko and Geiko walking down the streets of the Hanamachi is a beautiful sight — I hope we can keep it this way.

Maybe we could consider appreciating the present instant. We could stay aside, without a camera or a smartphone, and just admire the Maiko and Geiko gliding through the picturesque streets of the Hanamachi. Witness their elegance and beauty unfold before our eyes, a timeless sight that continues to enchant visitors from near and far. Let their presence inspire us to appreciate the artistry and dedication they embody, as we become silent observers in their captivating world.