The first of August is a very special day in Kyoto’s Gion neighbourhood. Named after a term which designates the first day of the eighth month of the ancient Japanese calendar, Gion’s hassaku is a very rare chance to see many of the geiko (a local term in Kyoto for geisha) and maiko from Japan’s most renowned geisha district. Despite the hot and muggy weather, they will parade down the streets of Gion to offer tea house owners who supported them during the previous year a word of thanks and a small gift as a token of their gratitude.
Was this article helpful?
Born in France, I was twenty years old when, passing by a local bookstore, a book about Japanese characters caught my attention. This was my first encounter with Japan, and one that would change my life in many ways. Earning a degree in Japanese Studies with a major in Japanese religions and folklore, I have studied for two years in Kyoto but it only took me a couple of weeks to fall in love with the city. I really feel privileged to have been able to meet so many wonderful people out there, that taught me a lot about Japanese culture and about myself. I love nature, visiting temples and shrines, reading and researching about their history, joining traditional festivals or riding my bike to discover hidden places throughout the city. I also enjoy taking pictures wherever I go and Japan is a never-ending source of inspiration for an amateur like me. With Osaka, Kobe, Nara and many other beautiful rural areas at a short train ride distance from Kyoto, Kansai is also a wonderful area for enjoying the richness of Japanese cuisine. Japan has many secrets for everyone to discover, and countless elusive moments of poetry that no guidebook can tell you about. I am delighted to be able to share the ones I had the chance to witness with you and everyone at Japantourist. I sincerely hope it will make you want to visit and discover this magnificent country.