Dress Up As a Samurai or Geisha
Dress up like a maiko, geisha or samurai in Kyoto, where you’ll discover the traditional landscape of a typical Japanese city.

Bear a Katana and Wear a Kimono in your trip to Kyoto

Kyoto is one of the most important cities in Japan. It’s home of many cultural and historical sites given that until 1868 it was the capital of that country. Until that year, it was where the court and royalty resided, so nowadays it is still common to find there many traditional Japanese features.

The Magic of Kyoto

Imagine a paved city with house façades carved in wood. Around you, natural landscapes and absolute silence. And walking by your side, Geishas wearing the traditional and typical attire we are used to finding exclusively in classical paintings. Now, what would happen if instead of imagining this picture you were part of it?

DINKtravelers invites you to visit this traditional world located in the center of Honshu island It’s one of the most important Japanese cities and it houses a rich historic, artistic and architectural heritage.

Maiko and Samurai Makeover Experience

There are several photographic studios in Kyoto that enable you to live a unique and fun experience that you can share with your travel companions.

Dressing up with traditional Japanese attires is an amazing experience, not only because it’s truly shocking to see yourself in the mirror after the makeover is complete but because the process in itself is complex and artistic. You’ll wear several layers of clothes and the typical white makeup that distinguishes these characters.

Geisha or Maiko?

There, it is possible to rent the typical geisha, maiko and samurai costumes, as well as modest kimonos.

For starters, a geisha is a traditional Japanese artist that went through a thorough learning process from an early age. She would host parties, reunions or banquets and her costume implies the use of modest makeup, simple accessories, not too long sleeves and plain colors with simple patterns.

Surely, you’ll want to wear the most widely known costume and have your face painted white. This means that you’ll dress up as a maiko or geisha apprentice –they were 15 to 20 years old. In fact, this costume is very popular because the face is painted white, and kimonos are very colorful and sumptuous. Other details include fancy hair accessories, long sleeves and intricate patterns.

But it would be impossible to completely submerge into that magic without transforming yourself into the characters you are representing, so makeup and wigs are also included. Make your reservation in advance and choose the package and cost that best suits you.

Something unique about those places is that the costumes are not exclusive of one gender. Actually, it is very common to find the studio walls decorated with pictures of men disguised as a geisha (more specifically, a Maiko), enjoying the chance to wear makeup, a wig and other accessories that, in the case of the Samurai costume, are not necessary. So, now you know… the choice is yours. And don’t be afraid about not knowing how to put on the clothes and get into character. There are young women who’ll kindly offer their expertise and help you through the whole process.

Dress up in Kyoto

But the experience doesn’t stop there. Once ready, they’ll take you to a room where you’ll have a professional photo shoot and they’ll give you the chance to take as many pictures as you want with your own camera. Afterwards, you’ll get the opportunity to go out accompanied by the photographer and walk around the nearby streets while he takes more pictures of your promenade along that magical landscape. Don’t hesitate to borrow other fun accessories such as swords, umbrellas, fans and even music instruments.

Enjoying a Unique Experience in Kyoto

Prepare your camera with an extra battery and a memory card with tons of capacity. Apart from the professional pictures that are included in the package, there are no restrictions about taking as many additional pictures as you want.

In Japan you have to make a reservation for everything, so it’s important that you plan your trip ahead of time. If you don’t, it is possible that you won’t find any available hours for your studio experience. What’s more, if you arrive without a reservation, it will practically be impossible for you to get it.

All in all, this experience will take about three hours, so it is advisable to plan additional activities for the rest of the day, including visits to historical sites, stores and the picturesque neighborhoods around the city.

Traditional City of Kyoto

Kyoto is a city that’s full of wooden façades, vegetation and absolute silence where travelers dressed up as geishas, maiko and samurai walk by your side. It’s also full of monuments, many of which have been declared World Heritage by UNESCO.

One of the most emblematic sites in Kyoto that DINKtravelers truly recommends is the Fushimi Inari-Taisha. It’s the most important Shinto sanctuary and it’s known for the thousands of red tori structures that lead the way up the hill to the main hall.

Now you know, rent a costume and become one of the most emblematic characters of Japan while visiting the picturesque and stylish city of Kyoto. Have fun while feeling part of the culture of the rising sun that’s so rich in traditions, and if you want to live your experience as maiko or samurai to the fullest, pay for a photography session along the city streets, with their typical bamboo and wooden houses.

Because reading is where the journey begins...
  • Take the Train in Japan

    You can practically get anywhere in Japan by taking the train. Check the routes and ticket costs, or buy a Pass to get a fixed rate.

  • Get a Roaming Package

    Ask your cell phone company about roaming packages in Japan. Also, once at Narita airport you can rent a mobile phone.

  • Find Your Style

    In order to choose a special print design for your kimono or katana, take into account that more elaborate drawings are better represented in bigger objects. Choose among flowers, linear forms or even plain designs.

  • Find Your Style

    If you want to buy kimono you can wear on summer days, buy a Yukata; and if you want a semi-formal one, choose a Furisode.

  • Find Your Style

    Choose a short kimono and wear it as a blouse paired with jeans, leggings or a skirt.

  • Kaishi Paper

    Whenever a Samurai injured his opponent with a katana, after making the Chiburi movement to shake the blood off they used a type of paper called Kaishi to wipe the blade.

  • Wooden Katana

    A Katana’s wooden replica is called a Bokken. It’s used to keep apprentices from getting injured.

  • Japan's Former Capital

    Kyoto was the capital of Japan for a very long time.