The geiko and maiko of Kyoto, keepers of time-honored traditional dance and music, are concentrated in five kagai (geisha districts) across the city. Each of the districts performs a large-scale dance for the public once a year, and Kamishichiken district's Kitano Odori runs from late March to early April to usher in the spring. Two performances are held each day, at 14:00 and 16:30, and tickets cost 5,000 yen. For an additional 500 yen guests can enjoy a cup of green tea and a sweet before the play, which also comes with a commemorative plate. Tickets can be purchased online for those with Japanese credit cards, procured through travel agents, or reserved with assistance at the Tourist Information Center in Kyoto Station.
The Kitano Odori usually consists of three sections: a multi-scene story play, a collection of themed dances, and the ever popular Kamishichiken Serenade finale piece. With the exception of the finale, other performances change each year. Recent story plays have included "Kitano no Mori no Monogatari", a drama that plays out between the animals of the forest around Kitano Tenmangu shrine, "Enishi no Miya", a romance about two lovers trying to prove they are meant to be together, "Naniwa Utazaimon", a comic adaptation of a classic love suicide tragedy, and "Shijō Kabuki", a dramatic story about the woman who invented kabuki theater.
Having celebrated its 65th year in 2017, Kitano Odori officially began in 1952 to commemorate the 1,050th anniversary of the founding of Kitano Tenmangū, the shrine located next to the Kamishichiken geisha district.
Kamishichiken's elegant geiko, charming maiko apprentices, and skilled musicians come together on this scale only once a year to put on the Kitano Odori, so don't miss out during your spring trip to Kyoto!
Kitano Odori Ticket (Performance Only): 5,000 yen
Kitano Odori Ticket (Includes Tea Ceremony): 5,500 yen
*Photos represent the 65th and 66th annual Kitano Odori performances.
Things to See/Do
See Kamishichiken's official homepage for show times and booking.
Notice: In 2021, the event is canceled to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
2017 Kitano Odori: "Enishi no Miya"
2017 Kitano Odori: "Ryojō Tokoro Dokoro" & "Kamishichiken Serenade"
2018 Kitano Odori: "A Tale of the Sacred Woods in Kitano"
2018 Kitano Odori: "Calendar of Charms Music Collection" & "Kamishichiken Serenade"