I love getting dressed up in period costumes and getting my picture taken. Through the years I’ve been a Cowboy, Civil War General, Canadian Mountie, Samurai, and plenty of other strange occupations. During my visit to Japan I wanted to make sure that there were plenty of opportunities for touristy dress up pictures.
The one thing I really wanted was traditional Geisha or Maiko pictures, but I was pretty sure the chances of me bumping into any real life Geisha walking the streets on Kyoto was pretty slim. So, with my wife’s permission, I booked a photo session with one of the top studios specializing in Geisha and Maiko pictures.
Studio Shiki is long-established photo shop specializing in the Maiko/Geiko transformation. Nestled in two beautiful locations in Kyoto, Studio Shiki provides the full experience. The girl gets to choose the kimono, obi, and hair she wants to use, while the makeup and dressing is taken care of by their expert staff.
After you are all dressed up you get your picture taken by a professional photographer, and, depending on which package you chose, walk around the traditional streets and have your picture taken in some beautiful locations. It’s quite an experience.
Here are a few tips if you’re planning on getting it done.
- Take your time. The dressing section takes about two hours, so leave yourself plenty of time to enjoy the experience. The areas surrounding the two studios are worth visiting, so arrive early and take a stroll through the area.
- It’s probably a good idea take along your makeup case. My wife tells me that they have makeup removal there, but the process is difficult and you probably will work faster with your own tools.
- Book the package with the stroll around. The walk around is totally worth it, and you’ll have much more interesting and memorable pictures to share. Plus, the look on some of the Japanese faces as you stroll by with a Geisha is priceless.
- Bring your own camera. If you take one of the stroll plans you’ll have plenty of opportunity to take pictures of your own. After the professional photographer was done we were even allowed half an hour to walk around on our own and take pictures.
The stroll plans start at $130 and include a photo album, 6 large prints, and a CD of all the photos. The price may scare you at first but I can almost guarantee that it will be a highlight of your trip.
If you having trouble deciding, here are some more beautiful Maiko pictures, and be sure to check out Studio Shiki’s website for more details.
Photo Credits: Maiko Pictures – Studio Shiki Gallery
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