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Kyoto’s leisure districts start New Year

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Geiko and maiko pledge improvement of their skills at the Gion Kobu training house in Kyoto on Saturday.

The Yomiuri ShimbunKYOTO — Four of the five traditional hanamachi entertainment districts in Kyoto held ceremonies to start business for the New Year on Saturday. Geiko (Kyoto’s version of geisha) and maiko apprentices pledged to develop dancing and other entertainment skills further for the year.

The four districts — Gion Kobu, Miyagawacho, Pontocho and Gion Higashi — held their ceremonies with geiko and maiko wearing black formal kimono with kanzashi hair ornaments.

The ceremony at the training house of Gion Kobu in Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, was held in a tea ceremony hall since the practice hall was unusable as it was undergoing earthquake-resistance inspections.

About 80 geiko and maiko there recited the pledge in unison: “Let us be beautiful, gentle and kind, all the time.”Speech

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