Kyoto has many of the few geisha in Japan, and the training process is long. Six months without family contact, a test of skills, then five years apprenticeship as a maiko before becoming geisha, or geiko. Geisha today, or most of them, do not function as high class escorts, as media in the West portrays them. Instead, the perform highly classified dances, songs, and costume for high paying guests at parties. As the BBC documentary features one geisha mother describing it, “It is like having a live flower as your company. ”
These maiko were enjoying a stroll in the good weather in the tourist area of Arashiyama near the bamboo forest.