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Gion 祇園

Gion Gion
Gion Gion

The wellspring of geisha culture and kabuki, with lovingly preserved scenes from times past

Gion is the perfect place to explore the Kyoto of another age. Known as the city's entertainment district, particularly for the refined performers known as geisha (or more properly geiko) who have enthralled patrons for centuries, Gion is full of handsome, understated townhouses and teahouses, restaurants serving traditional Kyoto cuisine, and venerable temples and shrines.

Don't Miss

  • Enjoying a traditional dining experience at a townhouse on Hanami Lane
  • Taking in the atmosphere of the Shirakawa Canal by lantern light

How to Get There

Gion can be accessed easily by bus, taxi or subway from Kyoto Station .

Buses leave regularly from Kyoto Station , and the 20-minute journey will take you straight to the Gion stop in front of Yasaka-jinja . While there is no subway station in Gion, Gion-Shijo Station and Kyoto Kawaramachi Station are a short, scenic walk away.

Rows of machiya in Gion

The townhouses of Kyoto

Traditional townhouses, known as machiya, line the streets of Gion. Many of these former residences have been transformed into restaurants, shops, and other businesses. Drop in to purchase local specialties such as Kyoto sweets and craft items. You might even glimpse a real geisha in training, known as a maiko.

Woman wearing yukata in front of a machiya

In the theater of song, dance, and skill

Gion was once one of the hotbeds of the visually and aurally stunning art of kabuki, particularly from the 17th century onward. Now only one of its six theaters remains, Minami-za. The performances here include other forms of entertainment, but if there's a kabuki play on while you're in Kyoto, be sure to see at least a few acts.

* The information on this page may be subject to change due to COVID-19.

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