KYOTO — It’s a freezing December night but tourists are out in force in Kyoto’s Gion district, on the hunt for one particular attraction.

On Hanamikoji-dori, the main street, a taxi pulls up and a “maiko” apprentice geisha steps out, drawing gasps from a nearby group of Asian tourists. Two of them start pointing. “Geisha, geisha,” they cry, as the startled maiko heads quickly toward one of the teahouses.

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