Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Henshin Studios - Geisha For a Day

I have a sort of perverse record of never visiting or doing Famous Things You Should Do when I'm in a place. I grew up in Houston but have yet to make it to the annual Rodeo, and lived in New York/New Jersey for over two years but somehow never made it to the Statue of Liberty.

The Japan edition features me never having made it to a henshin studio in almost five years of living there, which given my fondness for kimono and geisha is pretty ironic... Allow me to explain and keep you from making this mistake yourself should you happen to be there in the future. ;)

Henshin studios are "dress up for a day" experiences, where you choose a package that usually includes getting fully dressed and made up as a maiko, geisha, or yujo (courtesan prostitute) and professional photos of you indoors and sometimes outdoors as well. Some studios also have deals where you can leave the studio and walk or go around a nearby area of the city in your costume, like the tourists shown in the photo above.

For men, there are at times samurai or "formal" dress options available as well.

The website Immortal Geisha has a nice review thread of people's experiences at various studios, offering advice, price information and some sample photos. Whenever I make it back to Japan for a visit, I'll have to finally get around to doing this myself!

Image copyright Yves Picq

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