In 2005, ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’ came out and it was a movie that stole the country’s heart away, myself included. Back then my world traveling dreams was only a far away dream. I never thought I would go to Japan, but that movie definitely made me curious…
While planning my trip to Tokyo, I knew there was no way I was going to Japan and not dressing up as a Geisha. It was definitely on my bucket list and I wanted to do it at the best place in Tokyo. I didn’t just want to wear a kimono, I wanted the whole 9 yards — hair, makeup and the fanciest kimono I could find.
I love traveling to different places in the world and trying on the traditional clothes of that country. India was one of them and Japan was it for sure.
I did a lot of research and as it turns out it’s not so hard to rent out a kimono for a few hours and take some photos. In fact, there are many places that offer it in Tokyo and most common in Asakusa.
Asakusa is the more traditional part of the city, with the famous Sensō-ji Buddhist temple. Although I wanted photos with the temple wearing a kimono, I also knew I wanted good photos. This is the part of traveling solo that’s hard sometimes. I love the art of photography and always have been a photo girl, even before Facebook and Instagram were a thing.
After much research, I stumbled upon a place called Studio Nanairo, which offered the ultimate Geisha experience!
This place made you feel like a queen! and what girl doesn’t want to feel like a queen? 😉
Their photos were just AMAZING! Hands down breathtaking!
The moment I saw them I knew I HAD to do it there.
This place didn’t just rent you a kimono but they actually transformed you into a real life couture geisha!
Tokyo is all about the photos, all about dressing up and expressing yourself and all about never being too old to be young.
Studio Nanairo was a Geisha production! The building had 8 floors all to make you up into Geisha.
They had a lobby area, locker room, different wardrobe rooms, a whole makeup and hair studio and on a different floor a photoshoot studio with props and backdrops with a professional photographer and assistances.
I was completely obsessed with this place and their production! Especially since I used to be a model and makeup artist (back in the day) and always appreciated all that it took to get the perfect photo.
How It Works – Becoming a Geisha
I set up an appointment online with the package that I wanted and later got it confirmed with the details and time. There are a few to pick from, I did the ‘Oiran style’ package which included:
- Hair: Original OiranHair ; Professional hairdresser will set your hair
- Makeup: Special oiran makeup ; Original makeup we will do for you
- 2 Kimonos
- Photo: 3 photo prints and 3 pictures on CD (same photos)
I later purchased 2 other photos.
Once I arrived at the studio, I was greeted at reception and offered something to drink. After filling out my information on a piece of paper, the makeup artist and hairstylist took me upstairs to pick out my 1st kimono. They had so many beautiful colors and designs, I honestly wanted to wear all of them and it was a really hard pick. I decided to go with the traditional Japanese color which is red for good luck.
After picking my kimono, I was taken to the locker room area, where I was also given an under gourmet and a robe.
Then it was makeup and hair time!
I was shown a few examples of makeup and since I was in Japan, I wanted the traditional Japenese Geisha makeup look, which is different than the westernized world. Japanese and most countries in Asia actually aren’t fans of tan skin, it goes way back in history.
If you’re tan it normally shows a sign of being poor, as though you work in the fields which is sadly, frowned upon. If you have white pale skin it shows that you are of money. So looking pale in photos or in their day to day is actually something to be proud of there. So I went for that makeup look, although I love being tan but always interested in trying in things and learning about why people do the things that they do in different countries in the world.
Then it was hair time! I got to pick from a lookbook, how I wanted my hair to look, the style and then which accessories I wanted.
Dress Up Time:
After that was done, I was taken upstairs to get dressed and pick another kimono to wear on top of my other kimono.
Dressing up as a geisha is intense! There are so many steps and layers that it actually took 2 people to dress me.
When I was all done and dressed up, it was photoshoot time!
The photoshoot lasted for about 15mins. The photographer was super friendly and professional, he also had a few assistance to make sure everything was in place, that my hair and kimono looked perfect and to help with props and lighting.
After I was done with the photos and got dressed in my normal clothes, fixed my hair and makeup. I went downstairs to pick out my favorite photos to be printed and put on a CD.
It nearly took me forever to pick my photos and since I couldn’t pick, I ended up just getting 2 extra ones.
I totally loved this whole process and recommend it for anyone who’s going to Tokyo and wants a glam geisha experience!
This photoshoot cost: JPY 27,000 which is about $240
To book CLICK HERE
If you’re looking for cheaper options check out these other places, but they aren’t nearly as fancy or professional.
- Geisha Banquet in Tokyo
- Gion Walking Tour in Traditional Kimono
- Long-sleeved ‘Furisode’ Kimono Experience in Kyoto
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