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Things to do / Traditional festivals

Miyako Odori

The city of Kyoto is well-known for its geisha and maiko (apprentice geisha), and while it isn't so hard to spot women dressed the part on the streets of Gion, coming across a true geisha trained in traditional Japanese arts can be a challenge.

Every April, however, professional geisha and maiko gather to perform the Miyako Odori to celebrate the season of cherry blossoms. This year, 92 entertainers from the Gion Kobu district, one of Kyoto's geisha quarters, are set to perform the dance on stage at the Minamiza Theater.

Each performance is composed of eight scenes, including one that illustrates the origins of kabuki. The finale will feature the full cast performing against a backdrop depicting cherry blossoms at Daikakuji Temple, the villa of Emperor Saga (786-842), to mark the upcoming Imperial succession. (Yuki Yamauchi)