Ozashiki Asobi, the world of Geiko and Maiko – Four Seasons Hotel – Kyoto, Japan 🇯🇵

 

Kyoto’s Gion district, a 15-minute drive from Four Seasons, is one of the few areas where spotting these women in their exquisite kimonos is less of a rarity. You might see them walking in pairs between the okiya (geisha house) and the ochaya (tea house) to preside over a dinner meeting.

Delight your senses with a Kyoto-style kaiseki dinner sampling a multitude of small dishes highlighting the season’s best ingredients. As you enjoy your meal, Geiko and Maiko host you with their best performances, some of which accompanied by a shamisen playing traditional music. Fun ensues with the rest of the evening dedicated to old drinking games and private conversations with both Geiko and Maiko. Ozashiki Asobi is a definite must when visiting Kyoto!

The enigmatic charm of Geishas, or Geiko and Maiko as they are called in Kyoto, is known the around the world, but a first-hand experience is elusive to most. Enjoy a memorable evening of traditional entertainment with Geiko and Maiko in nearby Hanamachi, “flower towns,” in the city.

Part diplomat, part entertainer, part cultural preservationist, the geiko (the maiko is her apprentice) is the product of up to five years of training. “Geisha” translates best as “performing artist,” and her studies cover etiquette, all forms of Japanese music, dance, games, flower arranging, the tea ceremony, and the fine art of conversation. In short, she is the perfect hostess.

How can you tell a geiko from a maiko? Look for subtle differences in attire, from head to toe. Here are a few.

First, the geiko will be wearing a stylized wig, while the maikowears her own long hair, elaborately dressed with decorative pins.

Next, look at the neckline of her kimono. A geiko’s under-collar is pure white, while a maiko’s will be red, either plain or patterned.

Another difference is in the obi, or the sash around her waist. The ends draping behind the geiko’s obi will be shorter than those of her apprentice – as will the height of the wooden shoes she wears.

It’s still possible to experience dinner with a geiko, but it requires an introduction from a trusted source. Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto would be pleased to make arrangements.

 

And, if you do happen to meet a geiko or maiko in the street, please be as gracious as she would be.

Kyoto, Japan 🇯🇵

Kyoto, Japan’s former Imperial capital with more than one thousand years of exquisitely preserved history is home to two thousand temples and shrines, complete with authentic Japanese gardens and a kaleidoscope of festivals, ceremonies and rituals year-round. Seventeen are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, living evidence of golden age Japan. Yet, the city is also modern, pulsing with up-to-the-moment arts, design and culture.

Temples, Shrines & Gardens

There are said to be over 1000 Buddhist temples in Kyoto. You’ll find true masterpieces of religious architecture, such as the retina-burning splendour of Kinkaku-ji (the famed Golden Pavilion) and the cavernous expanse of Higashi Hongan-ji. Within the temple precincts are some of the world’s most sublime gardens, from the Zen masterpiece at Ryōan-ji to the riotous paradise of moss and blossoms at Saihō-ji. And then there are the Shintō shrines, monuments to Japan’s indigenous faith. The mother of all shrines, Fushimi Inari-Taisha, has mesmerising arcades of vermilion torii (entrance gate to a Shintō shrine) spread across a mountainside.

Cuisine

Few cities of this size offer such a range of excellent restaurants. Work your way through the entire spectrum of Japanese food, from impossibly refined cuisine known as kaiseki to hearty plebeian fare like ramen. There’s also a wide range of French, Italian and Chinese restaurants, where the famed Japanese attention to detail is paired with local ingredients to yield fantastic results. Best of all, many of Kyoto’s restaurants are in traditional wooden buildings, where you can gaze over intimate private gardens while you eat.

The Japanese Way of Life

While the rest of Japan has adopted modernity with abandon, the old ways are still clinging on in Kyoto. Visit an old shōtengai(market street) and admire the ancient speciality shops: tofu sellers, washi (Japanese handmade paper) stores and tea merchants. Then wander through the old streets of Nishijin and Gion past machiya (traditional Japanese townhouses). That’s not to say there’s nothing modern about Kyoto – arriving into futuristic Kyoto Station is a stark sign of that. And throughout the city, young Kyotoites don the hottest new fashions, while craft beer and single-origin coffee is taking over.

The Changing Seasons

No educated Kyotoite would dare send a letter without making a reference to the season. The city’s geisha change their hair ornaments 12 times a year to celebrate the natural world. And Kyoto’s confectioners create seasonal sweets that reflect whatever is in bloom. Starting in February and lasting through the summer, a series of blossoms burst open like a string of firecrackers: plums, daphnes, cherries, camellias, azaleas and wisteria, among many others. And don’t forget the shinryoku (the new green of April) and the brilliant autumn foliage of November.

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Credits:

Come to Kyoto in April to See the Beautiful Geisha Dance

http://www.fourseasons.com/kyoto/

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/japan/kansai/kyoto/travel-tips-and-articles/kyotos-living-art-of-the-geisha/

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/japan/kansai/kyoto/introduction

Four Seasons Hotel – Kyoto, Japan 🇯🇵

 

Discover the style and vibe of today’s Japan at a brand-new hotel with an 800-year-old ikeniwa (pond garden) at its heart. Intimate and contemporary, Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto is set in the scenic district of temples.

Experience personalized, insider access to Kyoto’s four-season delights. Relax in light-filled and spacious guest rooms and Hotel Residences. Double-height windows frame a tranquil garden as you enjoy modern brasserie dining. Sip local craft beers on the waterside terrace. Cross the glass bridge for matcha in the Tea House. Float in an indoor pool, then melt into bliss in the spa. Conduct successful business meetings behind artisan-carved cedar doors. Or celebrate new beginnings in the soaring, sunlit chapel.

In its spacious guest rooms, suites and Hotel residences, Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto blends refined, modern aesthetics and the creations of Japanese artisans – including washi-paper lamps, fusuma screens and urushi lacquerware. Patterns of light and shadow play from large windows, and bathrooms reflect the soothing effects of water.

It’s impossible to do and see it all in one trip, and some of the best of experiences require insider access.

At Four Seasons, they have devised experiences, from the exclusive and inaccessible to the most sought after to invite a discovery of Kyoto unlike anything else.  A must-do for you will definitely be the experience Ozashiki Asobi – an evening of entertainment with Geiko and Maiko and Kaiseki dinner.

Kyoto, Japan 🇯🇵

Kyoto, Japan’s former Imperial capital with more than one thousand years of exquisitely preserved history is home to two thousand temples and shrines, complete with authentic Japanese gardens and a kaleidoscope of festivals, ceremonies and rituals year-round. Seventeen are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, living evidence of golden age Japan. Yet, the city is also modern, pulsing with up-to-the-moment arts, design and culture.

Temples, Shrines & Gardens

There are said to be over 1000 Buddhist temples in Kyoto. You’ll find true masterpieces of religious architecture, such as the retina-burning splendour of Kinkaku-ji (the famed Golden Pavilion) and the cavernous expanse of Higashi Hongan-ji. Within the temple precincts are some of the world’s most sublime gardens, from the Zen masterpiece at Ryōan-ji to the riotous paradise of moss and blossoms at Saihō-ji. And then there are the Shintō shrines, monuments to Japan’s indigenous faith. The mother of all shrines, Fushimi Inari-Taisha, has mesmerising arcades of vermilion torii (entrance gate to a Shintō shrine) spread across a mountainside.

Cuisine

Few cities of this size offer such a range of excellent restaurants. Work your way through the entire spectrum of Japanese food, from impossibly refined cuisine known as kaiseki to hearty plebeian fare like ramen. There’s also a wide range of French, Italian and Chinese restaurants, where the famed Japanese attention to detail is paired with local ingredients to yield fantastic results. Best of all, many of Kyoto’s restaurants are in traditional wooden buildings, where you can gaze over intimate private gardens while you eat.

The Japanese Way of Life

While the rest of Japan has adopted modernity with abandon, the old ways are still clinging on in Kyoto. Visit an old shōtengai(market street) and admire the ancient speciality shops: tofu sellers, washi (Japanese handmade paper) stores and tea merchants. Then wander through the old streets of Nishijin and Gion past machiya (traditional Japanese townhouses). That’s not to say there’s nothing modern about Kyoto – arriving into futuristic Kyoto Station is a stark sign of that. And throughout the city, young Kyotoites don the hottest new fashions, while craft beer and single-origin coffee is taking over.

The Changing Seasons

No educated Kyotoite would dare send a letter without making a reference to the season. The city’s geisha change their hair ornaments 12 times a year to celebrate the natural world. And Kyoto’s confectioners create seasonal sweets that reflect whatever is in bloom. Starting in February and lasting through the summer, a series of blossoms burst open like a string of firecrackers: plums, daphnes, cherries, camellias, azaleas and wisteria, among many others. And don’t forget the shinryoku (the new green of April) and the brilliant autumn foliage of November.

Follow @blackplatinumgold on Instagram

Credits:

http://www.fourseasons.com/kyoto/

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/japan/kansai/kyoto/introduction

 

 

 

Mandarin Oriental Hotel – Tokyo, Japan 🇯🇵

 

High above the city, set in Tokyo’s historic Nihonbashi neighbourhood , Mandarin Oriental is a five-star luxury hotel with views to take your breath away. Exuding crisp, contemporary style,  excellent technology, renowned spa, innovative restaurants and impeccable service.

The Mandarin’s atrium lobby and all rooms offer breathtaking views. Kimono-weaving designs are part of the exquisite design of the spacious rooms. There are two Michelin-starred restaurants to dine at and, although there is no swimming pool, there are hot tubs in the lofty spa with panoramic views.

Boasting fine restaurants and an award-winning spa on the 37th floor, Mandarin Oriental offers 5-star luxury in the historical Nihonbashi area in the heart of Tokyo. Among the most spacious in Tokyo, rooms feature gorgeous city views. Mitsukoshimae Subway Station and JR Shin-Nihonbashi Train Station are directly connected to the hotel.

Rooms at the Mandarin Oriental Tokyo pair wide windows with chic design inspired by Japanese aesthetics. A full range of modern amenities are offered, including a satellite flat-screen TV. All rooms boast a sofa, seating area and desk, while bathrooms have a large bathtub and separate shower.

The Spa at Mandarin Oriental is a serenely luxurious retreat, not only it has some of the best facilities in the city, but also some of the most relaxing and rejuvenating treatments.

Tokyo, Japan 🇯🇵

Tokyo has everything you can ask of a city, and has it in spades: a rich, cosmopolitan dining scene, more cafes and bars than you could visit in a lifetime, fantastic public transport and grassy parks – plus it’s clean and safe. Yoking past and future, Tokyo dazzles with its traditional culture and passion for everything new.

Tokyo has more Michelin stars than any other city, and Japanese cuisine has been added to the Unesco Intangible Cultural Heritage list. But that’s not what makes dining in Tokyo such an amazing experience. What really counts is the city’s long-standing artisan culture. You can splash out on the best sushi of your life, made by one of the city’s legendary chefs using the freshest, seasonal market ingredients. You can also spend ¥800 on a bowl of noodles made with the same care and exacting attention to detail, from a recipe honed through decades of experience.

The Shogun’s City

Tokyo may be forever reaching into the future but you can still see traces of the shogun’s capital on the kabuki stage, at a sumo tournament or under the cherry blossoms. It’s a modern city built on old patterns, and in the shadows of skyscrapers you can find anachronistic wooden shanty bars and quiet alleys, raucous traditional festivals and lantern-lit yakitori (grilled chicken) stands. In older neighbourhoods you can shop for handicrafts made just as they have been for centuries, or wander down cobblestone lanes where geisha once trod.

Fashion & Pop Culture

From giant robots to saucer-eyed schoolgirls to a certain, ubiquitous kitty, Japanese pop culture is a phenomenon that has reached far around the world. Tokyo is the country’s pop-culture laboratory, where new trends grow legs. Come see the latest looks bubbling out of the backstreets of Harajuku, the hottest pop stars projected on the giant video screens in Shibuya, or the newest anime and manga flying off the shelves in Akihabara. Gawk at the giant statues of Godzilla; shop for your favourite character goods; or pick up some style inspiration just walking down the street.

Sci-fi Cityscapes

Tokyo’s neon-lit streetscapes still look like a sci-fi film set – and that’s a vision of the city from the 1980s. Tokyo has been building ever since, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible on densely populated, earthquake-prone land, adding ever taller, sleeker structures. Come see the utopian mega-malls, the edgy designer boutiques from Japan’s award-winning architects, and the world’s tallest tower – Tokyo Sky Tree – a twisting spire that draws on ancient building techniques. Stand atop one of Tokyo’s skyscrapers and look out over the city at night to see it blinking like the control panel of a starship, stretching all the way to the horizon.

Japan is truly timeless, a place where ancient traditions are fused with modern life as if it were the most natural thing in the world.

Follow @blackplatinumgold on Instagram

Credits:

http://www.mandarinoriental.com/tokyo/

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/japan/tokyo

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/japan

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/japan/tokyo/hotels/mandarin-oriental-tokyo/a/lod/49c7569f-2919-4294-9600-f2003f3a9b14/356817