Gion - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to Gion


Most visitors to Japan are fascinated with the traditional Geisha: white-faced kimono-clad women specially trained to entertain and spoil men in a soothing setting. Kyoto boasts one of the most famous Geisha districts in the country, a neighbourhood of plain wooden buildings to the east of the Kamo River known as Gion. There were once thousands of Geisha and maiko (apprentice Geisha) performing their genteel tasks in this area. Today the number has dwindled to a few hundred, but visitors who stroll the Hanami-koji street at sunset, past teahouses and restaurants, will probably catch a glimpse of one or two en route to the geisha houses in their clattering wooden shoes. The geisha houses themselves are strictly off-limits to anyone not properly introduced and invited, but from behind the paper screens you will hear the strains of music and laughter. While geisha-spotting in the Gion district, take in the Yasaka Shrine with its many paper lanterns, and the Minamiza Kabuki Theatre.

Information & Facts

Japanese is the official language. Most Japanese people will have studied English at school, but few can speak it well or understand what is said to them.

The currency is the Japanese Yen (JPY), which is equal to 100 sen. Major credit cards are accepted in the larger hotels and stores, but most Japanese operate with cash. Cash and travellers cheques can be exchanged in banks, post offices and currency exchange bureaux. Banks are usually open Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm. Travellers cheques offer the best exchange rate and are best taken in US dollars. ATMs do not accept all credit and debit cards; only the international ATMs in post offices, airports and some major stores.

Local time is GMT +9.
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