Kikusana Maiko, Kyoto

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Kikusana San is not yet a Maiko — she is what is called a “Minarai” (apprentice maiko), or someone who “learn by watching”. For a period of about a month prior to being officially presented to her “Hanamachi” (misedashi) or geisha District, she will accompany other geiko or maiko and stay in the background, learning how things are done by watching her elder sisters.

During part of this period, she’ll be wearing a “Handara” or half-length obi or stash.  The long, trailing obi that the maiko of Kyoto are famous for (Darari obi) is replaced by one shortened to half length (han=half).

Rain over the Hanamachi, Kyoto