Kari Grohn's Home Page - Japan - Kanikakunisai


1 of 2 pages 


Kanikakunisai and Maiko Dance (かにかくに祭と舞妓踊り)
Gion, Kyoto (祇園 京都)

Gion Shinbashi is an Edo-period area in Kyoto. It is famous for its refined scenery, teahouses, and occasional appearance of geisha and maiko (apprentice geisha). There is also a special monument to the poet, novelist and playwright Isamu Yoshii (1886-1960), who devoted to the charms of Gion. His fist collection of tanka poems (Sake hogai,1910) described the joys and sorrows of drinking and sexual desire. Kanikakuni festival is dedicated to him. The name of the festival comes from his poem.

Gion wa koishi
neru toki mo
makura no shita wo 
mizu no nagaruru

O so deeply
I love Gion
Even in my sleep
The stream runs
Beneath my pillow 

(Translated by Kari Gröhn)

Unlike other festivals the programme is very short and simple – flowers are dedicated to the monument by geisha and maiko. Nevertheless people gather the place expecting a chance of watching real, beautiful geisha and maiko closely. I also took pictures of travelers in rented maiko or geisha costumes. The rest of the photos were taken at maiko shows.