Pontochõ, Gion and a geisha...
Gion Travel Blog› entry 11 of 15 › view all entries
Night fell on Kyoto. Despite being a little bit knackered, and not especially enlightened we decided to head out and see some sights. We headed down towards Gion, a dazzle of luminosity and bright lights. Crowds milled happily despite the stifling heat. Shops were still open and there was an overpowering aroma of different restaurants making my stomach grumble.
We reached Pontochõ, one of the most fantastically atmospheric streets I've ever been to. The street wound down past wooden fronted houses and shops, with traditional lanterns hanging outside. We scanned the few menus that were on the street. Okay... The prices showed we were not worthy to eat, but the walk was good.
It was made better by the ever-so fleeting view of a geisha. One whipped past us, statuesque on impossibly high platform wooden shoes and disappeared. Rubbing our eyes to ensure this was no mirage brought on by exhaustion and starvation we exchanged an incredulous glance. "Well she was fast."
We continued on, and then another appeared.
Gliding along the street, impervious to any kind of distraction or obstacle (be it sign, cobblestone or pedestrian) this one too whipped past and vanished into the wooden door of a nearby building. The briefest snatch of uproarious male laughter filled the street before the door was shut and silence resumed. I tried to take a picture. Nothing. She was in and out of shot in seconds. Jeez they move fast.
We decided to loiter (not obviously, in a casual, interested tourist kind of way), in the hope of seeing another. Luckily, we did. Head bowed, face imperious, moving at a speed that would rival an Olympic sprinter this one bore down on us, swerved around us without even a pause or a wobble and accelerated down the street. Her refined pose, dignity and impeccably made up beauty was at least, somehow, attractive. We attempted to pool our supply of yen to see if we could afford to hire our own companion. Sadly we were a little short. By the time we looked up, we'd lost our geisha.