Shirakawa area in Gion (1/5)
Shirakawa area in Gion (2/5)
Hanami-koji area in Gion (3/5)
Hanami-koji area in Gion (4/5)
Geishas riding a rickshaw in Gion (5/5)


Kyoto's entertainment and geisha district


Gion is Kyoto's well known entertainment and geisha quarter, located to the east of the Kamogawa river. It originally developed as a teahouse area in front of the Yasaka Shrine, in order to accommodate travelers and worshipers, but evolved into one of Japan's most exclusive and famous entertainment districts.

Nowadays, despite the natural modernization of the city, Gion retains much of its historical atmosphere, nightlife and architecture, making it a favorite tourist spot. Many traditional wooden buildings still operate as restaurants or tea houses and it's not uncommon to encounter elegant geisha (known as geiko in Kyoto dialect) and maiko (apprentice geisha) on their way to work during the evening.

Hanami-koji Area

Free All day

Hanami-koji, or Flower Viewing Lane, is, together with its surrounding alleys, Gion's most popular preserved area. It starts from Shijo avenue and runs south up to Kenninji temple. Hanami-koji is lined with ancient wooden buildings from the 17th and 18th century, many of which now house exclusive restaurants specialized in local cuisine. Among these restaurants there are also a number of ochaya, which are traditional and expensive teahouses where guests are entertained by performing geisha and maiko.

Shirakawa Area

Free All day

The Shirakawa area is located around five minutes on foot north of Shijo avenue and runs along the Shirakawa canal. It is a scenic and quiet walk, lined with willow, maple and cherry trees and surrounded by historical buildings, considered as one of Kyoto's most beautiful streets. Several wood bridges scattered along the way provide access to traditional restaurants and inns located on the opposite bank, many of which offer rooms with beautiful views of the canal.


Gion Shijo Station
Keihan Line

Kawaramachi Station
Hankyu Line

Gion Station
Bus no. 100, 206


The whole Gion area is best explored on foot. Starting from either of the train or bus stations, one can walk north from Shijo to reach the Shirakawa area and south to get to Hanami-koji.