2019 Cherry Blossom Photo Tour | Kyoto Geiko Portrait Session

Jul 21 | Evan | No Comments |

In 2014 I received a request to arrange a private tour in Japan for a photographer and his family. There were a few photography opportunities requested such as spending time with a master sword smith as he worked to to take portraits of a real maiko, geiko or geisha in Japan. So it was in 2014 I first started working with this (at the time) maiko and during the 2019 cherry blossom photography tour of Japan I took portraits of her for the first time as a geiko (she finished her apprenticeship and earned new title).

I’ve really enjoyed working with her and creating portraits in Kyoto with her year after year and hope to continue to bring small groups of photographers to take portraits of her for many years to come in Kyoto.

The photo below is courtesy of and created by one of our group’s photographers, Daniel Leffel. Take a look at Daniel’s website for more excellent photography not only of Japan but all over the word.

Kyoto Japan

The 2019 Cherry Blossom Photography Tour took a small group of photographers to Japan. We started in Tokyo and continued to Hiroshima, Miyajima, Himeji Castle, Kyoto and Mt. Fuji from Shizuoka and from Fuji Five Lakes. Here is the trip report from the 2019 Cherry Blossom Photography Tour of Japan and the 2018 Cherry Blossom Photo Tour of Japan. The 2020 Cherry Blossom Photo Tour of Japan is already planned and live! Limited spots are available for the 2020 Cherry Blossom Photography Tour of Japan, with first booking already reserved!

Here is a gallery of more geiko portraits taken during the 2019 cherry blossom tour of Japan.

2015 Fall Photo Tour of Japan | Maiko Portrait Session

Feb 18 | Evan | No Comments |

Japan Photo Guide Maiko 004

The last few times I’ve escorted tours to Kyoto, I’ve been able to arrange portrait sessions with a real maiko (geiko apprentice, “geiko” is how geisha are referred to in Kyoto).  It’s always a a lot of fun to take portraits of a real maiko though I have to admit, with how beautiful they are and amazing the colors in the kimono are, it’s almost too easy and hard to take a bad portrait of a maiko.  I’m only half serious, but still, I think you know what I mean!

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Actually the most difficult part about hiring a maiko as a model is really keep the other visitors (and sometime locals of Kyoto even) from crowding her.  While it’s very exciting to see a real maiko or geiko in Kyoto, it’s very important to show good manners and not to chase, crowd or trap them.  It can be quite scary to have many people aggressively following you and taking portraits of you, especially if there is a language barrier.  Okay, small public service announcement is over, enjoy a few more portraits of the maiko!

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The 2015 Fall Photography Tour of Japan included Tokyo, Kanazawa, Shirakawago, Okayama, Hiroshima, Miyajima and Kyoto!  Interesting in joining your own escorted tour of Japan with Japan Photo Guide?  Contact us to get the planning of your trip to Japan started or join one of the group tours of Japan!