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“Disappointing snapshot of japanese culture”
Review of Gion Corner

Gion Corner
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$113.89*
and up
Gion by Night: Culture Performance with Dinner
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$453.17*
and up
The Art of the Geisha: Private Dinner in Kyoto
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$60.77*
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Half Day Small-Group Kyoto Cultural Tour
Ranked #174 of 1,127 things to do in Kyoto
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: Dancing geishas, puppet shows and musical performances are just some of the regular events to be seen at this popular theater in Kyoto's entertainment district.
Yokohama, Japan
Level 6 Contributor
112 reviews
64 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 200 helpful votes
“Disappointing snapshot of japanese culture”
Reviewed October 30, 2013

I took my parents to Gion Corner theatre one night before dinner. There are 2 shows, one at 6pm and the other at 7pm. There is no need to book. We turned up at 6:45 and easily got a seat. The performance costs around AUD$30 each. The purpose of the show is to show you various aspects of traditional Japanese culture such as tea pouring ceremony, ikebana flower arranging, kubuki theatre, geisha dancing and another type of traditional Japanese music, the name of which I have forgotten. The tea pouring ceremony happens off to the right of the stage and is pretty anticlimatic. Dont expect much from this. They ask for 2 volunteers so if you are really keen put up your hand and at least you will get the best position to see what is a fairly mundane process in my view. A woman doing ikebana flower arranging does her stuff whilst 2 other women play a traditional Japanese string instrumental. Again, not gripping viewing. Then a small orchestra of about 5 people plays music whilst an actor in dramatic garb does some moves and sings. The music is traditional but not something the western ear is accustomed to hearing. Then one geisha performs a traditional dance. This is probably the most interesting thing.The final act is a comedy by 3 actors all in Japanese. This is probably the longest segment of the whole show which is a shame since it is all in Japanese. If you go, then make sure you read the storyline beforehand provided in the pamphlet handed out to you. That will make more sense of the performance.
In short, the whole performance took about 45 minutes so was in my view pricey for what was delivered. I felt very underwhelmed by the performance and think they should review their approach. But, if you want a mere snapshot of traditional Japanese arts, then that is what you get. But I wouldn't take visitors there again. I would probably opt for going to a geisha dinner instead. Also sit up the front if you want to take photos without getting everyone's heads in the shots.

Visited October 2013
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5 Thank CathCPerth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Aichi Prefecture, Japan
Level 4 Contributor
24 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“still worth visiting”
Reviewed October 26, 2013

despite the mixed reviews
i think it is still worth going to the gion corner if you are interested in performing arts
it's not cheap
but it's a nice introduction to what you would expect to experience if you went to a full show of each bit that was presented
having been twice already
i could see how much the institution tried to give visitors a glimpse at the complexity of japanese art in the most accessible way
but even that seemed to prove too difficult and too dissonant for most of the spectators
who seemed a bit too tired from a long day of sight-seeing
and frankly not quite interested in the art
but in the experience of having done the cultural thing while they were there
if you are not the type of person who can appreciate the classical art of your country
and are not too adventurous when it comes to other cultures' traditional arts
you may want to skip it, save your money and go appreciate one of the innumerable alternative options awaiting you in the evening
you'd probably also be doing a favour to the others
i found it quite difficult to enjoy the shows when sat next to people sighing, yawning and counting the seconds until it was over
and one more thing
be sure to get there early so you can get the front row seats
lest you be watching most the show via other people's cameras
they may request people to be considerate when it comes to disturbing the other spectators
but most behave as if getting that snap as soon as the performers enter
is a question of life and death
it's not pleasant
having said that
the next time i have somebody visiting
we won't be going to catch a whole kabuki show let alone a trip to the noh theater
but for an idea of the richness of japanese art
i'll still be guiding them to a better appreciation of it
via the one hour mix of performances at the gion corner

Visited October 2013
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2 Thank tabimin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Paris, France
Level 4 Contributor
41 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Show is not worth the money.”
Reviewed October 22, 2013

Gion Corner is one of the only chances to see the maiko's perform off-season, which was the main reason we went to this show. Expect to line up early for tickets, since many other tourists feel the same way. Tickets are pricey and looking back, not worth it if you only want to only see the maikos perform. It gives you an insight about Japanese culture, but everything appears to so staged and routinized, as viewer you can feel how little the artists enjoy the whole performance.

First, there is a tea ceremony taking place, which is no fun, since only two guests are invited to join. Meanwhile, one introduced to the techniques of creating Japanese flower bouquets, then some comedy piece which is in Japanese ( accompanied booklet will help you understand the context) and eventually one maiko is dancing on stage. My mum fell asleep, although she was the one keen to go there.

My advice, if you are interested in getting a slight overview of Japanese culture, have a couple of days in Kyoto and you do not care about the money - go there. Otherwise, just stroll around gion district around 6-7pm and stroll through the backstreets and you will be rewarded with geikos and maiko coming out of their houses, sneaking through the backstreets and hushing into tea houses, which has much more magic to it than any show every will.

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank sientjeamerah
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level 6 Contributor
138 reviews
94 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 139 helpful votes
“i will not say it is a must to do in kyoto, but it was nice experiences for us.”
Reviewed October 13, 2013

if you stay more than 3 days in kyoto, may spent one night to wonder around gion area and watch the show. cost is a bit, 2500 for adult foreigners, 3150 for japanese, 2200 for 16-22, 1900 for 7-15, it said this price is for a limited time. so if you want to save some money, you need to bring your passports, or they may just give you at 2500 yen per person if you are so obviously a foreigner. they do have a english version of website, but you can not book online. there are 2 shows for sept and oct, we watched 6 pm one, it was full, on the way out we can see the long line, so 7pm one will be full too.
when you buy the tickets, they will offer you a program in english, chinese or korean, best read this while you sitting and before and show, otherwise, you will not be able understand much, as whole thing is in japanese. there are 6 short parts, each last about 5-10 min, tea ceremony, japanese harp, flower arrangement, court music, ancient comic play, and kyoto style geisha or maiko dance. if possible try the front seats, otherwise you will need crop whole your photos, more likely you will take photos of people taking photos.

after get out, there is a japanese lady selling her gion area night walking tour, the night before a lady we met mentioned it was a good walking tour. she also run day walking tour in kyoto starts infront of JR kyoto station. cost 1000 yen per person. you can get a english guide at information center for free with the young uni students who want to practicing their english, we met couple of times on the train, we did not get one as we found it is not difficult to get around and read a lot before the trip. but i am sure this is very helpful to lots of foreigners.

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
Thank dianefeng
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
birmingham
Level 6 Contributor
173 reviews
63 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 153 helpful votes
“My wife liked it.”
Reviewed October 2, 2013

After walking tour of Gion, this was a welcome sit down in the cool. Albeit at a cost of 2500 yen, the vignettes were mostly rubbish but the Geishas looked nice and my wife having read the memoirs book was enthralled if you get the chance, do it as it provides some great photos and a nice rest.

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
Thank mikefre3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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