Kamishichiken Beer Garden
There is one more event that you must not miss for hanamachi in this time of summer. It is the Kamishichiken Beer Garden which takes place in a traditional Japanese landscape garden of Kamishichiken Kaburenjo Theater.
During the period, maiko and geiko come everyday to entertain customers by turns. There are six of them per day. They do not wear ‘ohikizuri’ (the kimono they wear for banquet),but appear in the elegant ‘sonnari’ （so-called Kimono) figure.
The oldest flower town, Kamishichiken was featured in a world-famous novel, Koto by Nobel Prize Writer, Yasunari Kawabata. Since the Plan called “to maintain and improve the historical scenic beauty in Kyoto” has been approved by the Japanese Government in November 2009, telegraph poles were removed from the street and now stone pavement is under construction.
If you walk down for few minutes from the Kaburenjo Theater, as a matter of course, there is a magnificent shrine, the Kitano Tenmangu to visit but it is worth observing townscape that is changing in a very moment of this summer as it will be completely different by next season.
Highlight events in Hanamachi,August
The Hassaku at Gokagai
※Gokagai is the five flower towns including Gion-Kobu, Miyagawa-cho,Ponto-cho,Gion-Higashi and Kamishichiken)
The Maiko’s day (The Geisha’s day)
at Jingudo shopping street in front of Heian Shinto Shrine
●Until 5th of September
The Kamishichiken Beer Garden at Kamishichiken Kaburenjo Theater
Events in Kyoto,August
Nagoshi Shinji at Shimogamo Shrine
Rokudo Mairi at Rokudo Chinnoji Temple
Wakamiya Hachimangu Grand Festival at Wakamiya Hachiman
Kiyomizudera Sennichimoude Yoimairi at Kiyomizu Temple
Gozan no Okuribi at various places within the city of Kyoto
Arashiyama Tourou Nagashi at Togetsukyo bridge in Arashiyama Nakanoshima Park
Atago Furumichi Kaido Tomoshi at Atago Shrine
(along the Old Atago Highway runs from Ichinotorii to Giouji)
※Nagoshi Shinji is a summer purification rites held at a shrine.
※Tourou Nagashi held in Arashiyama is the lantern-fete on the water.
●Until 23rd of September
Cormorant fishing at Uji River (near Kisen Bridge of Tounoshima)
●Until 31st of August
Cormorant fishing at Togetsukyo brige in Arashiyama
●Until 30th of September
Kamogawa Noryo Yuka at all over the west coast of Kamogawa River
※Noryo Yuka is a type of restaurant balcony overlooking a river. This breeze enjoying floor is mainly for enjoying the cool evenings, but in summertime, you can also enjoy the coolness of the daytime as well.
August’s column ～Hassaku in Gion-Kobu～
When all is said and done, when it comes to talk about the Hassaku, most gorgeous and outstanding town is Gion-Kobu. All maiko (geisha) and geiko (mature geisha) dress up in ‘Kuromontsuki’, the most formal kimono which is only worn at special occasions. This is the only town where everyone follows this traditional manners.
As explained, the Hassaku is to pay courtesy calls to people maiko and geiko always receive favors from. First of all, the day begins with a visit to the master of Japanese dancing, Yachiyo Inoue. And after that they go around teahouses, the place where masters of accomplishments are and eating houses one by one.
With a politeness. With a feeling from the heart. And yet breezily when they move from one place to the other. This is what I personally feel during the Hassaku, the behavior seemed as if they are questioning to modern society where optimization is seen as the best thing. Without a word, but there was a feeling.
For the event, as mentioned earlier, maiko and geiko wear Kuromontsuki which is known as the number one formal dress in a rank of kimono. With this fact, you can understand how important the day is for them. Obi (sash belt) is arranged in a special way as well.
They don’t wear usual “some-Obi”(dyed obi), but the“Ori-Obi”(weaven obi) with golden thread. And also obidome (a sash clip) and obijime(a decorative string to hold a kimono in place)are not used for this occasion.
Hair is done in very different ways, too. The elder maiko who normally tie their hair in ofuku style, it turns into ‘yakko-shimada’.
Tying a root of chignon at higher level, wrapping the root with Kanoko, the cloth dyed in a dappled pattern. And in a middle of chignon, jade and coral are beautifully decorated.
The style is also called ‘takashimada’, it is known as most refined among representative Japanese coiffure,’shimada’.
In old times, women in samurai families wore this and even in town ladies did their hair done in this way only for formal occasion.
Finally, the white make-up comes. The usual style is to leave two V-shaped spaces bare on the nape of neck, but it becomes three especially on the Hassaku day. This is called as “sanbon-Ashi”-the three legs.
Photos：Copyright(c)2012 Geisha Japan All Rights Reserved
Special Thanks to： WALKKYOTO（some images on this article are provided by http://walkkyoto.exblog.jp/i30/ ）