Geisha are one of the icons of Japanese culture, and they’re the object of an obfuscating mystique. But in Kōchi, there’s nothing mysterious or complicated about an evening with geisha at their welcoming establishment by the Kagami River in the centre of town.
In the days before internet, television and radio, when night fell, the only light entertainment available to gentlemen of means was geisha. Geisha studied the arts of song, dance, conversation and diversion, plying their elegant trade in all regions of Japan for hundreds of years. Most people know that they still exist Kyoto. There are many geisha in Tokyo too. But what isn’t generally known is that geisha have also survived on the island of Shikoku. And today, gentlemen and ladies equally can enjoy their company, for a very memorable experience.
The geisha in Kōchi have their own beautiful building, equipped with numerous rooms around a central stage. A typical evening involves a delicious meal of Kōchi specialties with plenty of beer and sake. Various staff visit your room to serve and entertain you. A couple of geisha drop in to play some simple but hysterical drinking games accompanied by the shamisen. No Japanese is required to understand the rules.
The geisha perform traditional dances on the stage. These are generally short, with many expressive gestures, accompanied by shamisen and drum. Initially they involve only the geisha. But as the evening draws on, the guests are invited to don ridiculous masks and take part in the dances. By the end, everyone has come out of their separate rooms and is united in the farcical dancing.
Name in Japanese: 芸者
Address: Kōchi City