Many people don’t realize that there are geisha alive and working in Japan. Other people assume that the only place to spot a geisha is in the Gion district of Kyoto. However, although the number of practicing geisha have dwindled, there continue to be a number of women studying the geisha arts and going on to work as professional geisha. There is even gaijin geisha (foreign geisha) working in Asakusa, Tokyo. You can read more about Australian geisha, Sayuki, on her website here.
In an effort to preserve Shimoda’s cultural heritage and stimulate tourism by enlivening the city, the Shimoda government has flipped the bill for 3 women to be trained as geisha. At the moment these women are very busy preparing for their grand debut on March 27 when Shimoda will be celebrating the Okichi Festival. Iroha (her new Geisha name) is a good friend of mine and I can’t wait to see how her hard work is paying off!