Westerners are often fascinated by the Japanese geisha and their so-called flower and willow world. A well-known book by Arthur Golden called Memoirs of a Geisha turned out to be a best-seller. However, this book did receive a lot of criticism from the geisha in Japan for being highly inaccurate.  Below, I’ve listed several other popular books dedicated to geisha that you may find interesting:

•Geisha by Liza Dalby

•Geisha of Gion by Mineko Iwasaki

•Geisha: A Living Tradition by Kyoko Aihara

•Geisha: The Secret History of a Vanishing World by Lesley Downer

•Madame Sadayakko: The Geisha who Seduced the West by Lesley Downer

•Autobiography of a Geishaby Sayo Masuda

•A Geisha’s Journey: My Life as a Kyoto Apprentice by Komomo & Naoyuki Ogino

I also recommend a visit to Laura’s Itsumo Japan blog for further information on geisha. Here you’ll also find a comprehensive list of resources and books dedicated to a variety of topics related to Japan.

Below are some pictures taken by my husband and me during our most recent trip to Japan. At around 6:00pm, if you wander through the Gion district in Kyoto (which is very central and not difficult to find) you’ll definitely have an opportunity to see geisha and maiko (apprentice geisha). All these photos are of maiko on their way to or coming back from a party or a meeting with clients. Maiko are easily recognised by their intricate and very pretty hair ornaments: