Should I bring anything for wearing with the kimono?
Although we have undergarments, towels, makeup remover and other items, we require you to purchase a new pair of tabi (Japanese socks with split toe) for 429 yen for sanitary reasons. The tabi are yours to take home after the shoot.
Should I bring my own set of cosmetics?
Although we have special makeup remover for Maiko makeup, face lotion, face cream, towels, tissues and other items, please bring your own cosmetics for after we remove the Maiko makeup.
Can I bring food and drinks?
Yes, but please be considerate to other customers and refrain from eating or drinking in the waiting room.
Do you have large-sized tabi (Japanese socks with split toe)?
Yes, of course. We have tabi up to 28 cm for women and up to 29 cm for men.
Kimono, Makeup and Wig
[Makeup] My skin is a bit sensitive and I’m worried that the Maiko makeup may irritate my skin.
Although we have not heard of any customers experiencing adverse reactions in the past, people have different levels of skin sensitivity, so we can’t make any guarantees. Please use your own judgment to make your decision.
[Makeup] Do you have facial cleansers, lotion and face cream?
We have special makeup remover for Maiko makeup, facial cleanser, face lotion, face cream and other items. (Tissues, towels and hair dryer, etc. are also provided)
[Makeup] I have oral herpes. Can I still get the Maiko makeup service?
We are very sorry, but we cannot provide Maiko makeup service to customers with infectious skin conditions (herpes, stye, etc.). You can still get a Maiko experience with the Non-makeup Plan.
[Makeup] Can the makeup be easily removed?
Yes, the makeup can easily be removed with makeup remover and facial cleanser.
[Wig] I’m still undecided about whether to use the Han-katsura (half wig) or Zen-katsura (full head wig). Can I decide when I get there?
Yes, of course. If you’re not sure which to use, our wig experts can give you advice so please don’t worry. For the Han-katsura, you must have bangs that go down to your eyebrows. Dyed hair is not a problem, but for those with hair color that is very different from the color of the wig, we use black spray (which can be easily washed out and won’t damage your hair) for a more natural finish. The Han-katsura is an option and is available for an additional 2,310 yen.
[Wig] What’s a Han-katsura? Is there a big difference in appearance between a Zen-katsura and Han-katsura?
With a Han-katsura, we will style only your bangs and cover the rear half of your head with a wig which results in a more natural appearance than the Zen-katsura. One point is that your bangs must come down to your eyebrows. Even with the Zen-katsura, we have a selection of over 50 types of wigs from which we will choose the most suitable for you and arrange it to look natural.
[Wig] How long do my bangs have to be to wear the Han-katsura? Also, can I still use the Han-katsura even if my hair is dyed brown?
To be able to use the Han-katsura, your bangs must come down to your eyebrows. Dyed hair is not a problem, but for those with hair color that is very different from the color of the wig, we use black spray (which can be easily washed out and won’t damage your hair) for a more natural finish.
[Kimono] Can I choose my own kimono
Yes, of course. Each studio has about 100 kimonos from which customers can make their choice. The price is the same regardless of the kimono selected.
Is there a waiting room for people who we bring along, and if so, is it okay if they are men?
Yes, the Head Shop’s waiting room accommodates about 35 people and the Sakura Branch about 20 people. Of course men are also welcome. (Please make sure that small children are accompanied by a caregiver at all times.)
Do you have a shower room?
No, we don’t have a shower or bath. However, large washstands are available for customers (Head Shop: 9, Sakura Branch: 6).
Do you have locker rooms with lock and key?
Yes, our Head Shop has 76 lockers, and the Sakura Branch has 50, all at no charge.
My travelling bag is a suitcase. Will it fit into the locker?
The lockers at each of our locations are 45 cm high x 35 cm wide x 60 cm deep. You can leave oversized luggage in the corner of the locker room. Please make sure to place your valuables in a locker.
In what form will I receive the photos?
For each of the plans, you will receive a photo book at the Head Shop, and an album with photos mounted on paper at the Sakura Branch.
Can I take pictures with my own camera?
Yes, for about 10 minutes after the studio shoot, you can take photos or a video at the back of the shop at the Head Shop or in the Japanese-style tatami room at the Sakura Branch. Please refrain taking pictures during the makeup or kimono fitting sessions as other customers may be getting dressed.
Can I get studio photos with friends booked under the same plan or who are not transforming into a Maiko?
If you would like to get studio photos with people you bring along, please inform the reception desk upon arrival.
How long will it take for the pictures to be processed?
Photos are processed in the shops’ darkroom on the same day and are ready for you to take home with you.
Can I buy the negatives (CD-R) of the Studio shoot?
Yes. The CD-R for the Sakura Plan and Samurai Plan can be purchased for 2,200 yen (The CD-R is 660 yen during our currently ongoing Special Campaign to Celebrate Completion of New Head Shop). The CD-R for all other plans can be purchased for 3,960 yen (The CD-R is 1,100 yen during our special promotional campaign to celebrate the completion of the Head Shop which is happening now).
How large are the photos?
The photo book at the Head Shop is about 15 cm x 14 cm, and the photos at the Sakura Branch are 2L size (12.7 cm x 17.8 cm).
Can I take pictures while I’m getting my makeup done or during the kimono fitting?
We are very sorry but aside from the free time set aside for taking picture with your own camera, please refrain from taking photos inside the shop in consideration of other customers.
How will the Stroll Plan or Outdoor Shoot Plan be affected if it rains or snows?
Since it’s not possible to go outside if it rains or snows, customers on the “Outdoor Shoot Plan,” “Strolling Plan,” “Shiki Head Shop Plan,” or the “Shiki Sakura Plan” may switch to the Studio Shoot Plan or cancel the reservation at no cancellation fee. *Please make sure to call the shop.
Where can we take a walk for the Strolling Plan?
For the Head Shop, you can take a stroll in areas near the shop such as Ninenzaka, Sannenzaka, Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Kodai-ji Temple, Neneno-michi Street, and Yasaka-no-To Pagoda. Customers will walk together as a group and not be accompanied by staff. Please note that eating and drinking, travelling by vehicle (with the exception of rickshaws), smoking, shopping and travelling far distances is strictly prohibited.
Please tell me the time required for each of the plans.
Please see the Plan Descriptions Page. Since the time that each customer takes to get ready to leave the shop at the completion of the plan varies, the time is different according to the individual. During the peak season (March to mid-May, October to early December), more time may be required.
Can I ride a rickshaw during my stroll, and if so, how much will it cost?
You can ride a rickshaw. Please pay the fare at the shop when you settle your bill.
For fare details, please see the “Ebisuya” rickshaw website.
What is the difference in appearance between a Maiko and Geisha?
Maikos wear beautiful floral hairpins, “Furisode” (long-sleeved kimono) with sleeves tucked at the shoulder and hem lifted, long dangling obi sash, and 10-cm high “Okobo” sandals on their feet. Geishas wear Shimada-katsura wigs, short-sleeved “Shiroeri” (white-collared) kimonos, “Otaiko” obi sash, and geta (wooden clogs) or zori sandals on their feet, which creates a more mature appearance compared to a Maiko.
Can Samurais also take a stroll?
Yes, Samurais can take a 45-minute stroll for an additional 3,465 yen.
Can children be transformed into a Maiko? Is there a kimono fitting service for children?
We have a Child Maiko Plan and a Child Samurai Plan. Children who are 110 cm to 140 cm tall can undergo transformation. Parents cannot accompany children during the makeup and kimono fitting session, so children must be able to take part in these sessions alone. This plan is available only at the Head Shop. Please see the Child Maiko website for details. Child Maiko website: http://www.maiko-henshin.com/kids/
Reservations, Changes and Cancellations
Is it possible to change the plan I reserved to another plan on the day of my reservation?
Yes, changing plans is not a problem.
Do I need to make a reservation? How far in advance do I need to make a reservation?
Although we accept walk-in reservations, we may not be able to accommodate you if we are fully booked, so we recommend making reservations in advance. As we are very busy during the peak season (March to mid-May, mid-September to early December *We are particularly busy in April, May, October and November), we recommend that you book early. We accept reservations 6 months in advance.
Do you charge a cancellation fee?
Yes, we charge cancellation fees as follows:
Same-day cancellation: 100%, 3 days prior: 80%, 1 week prior: 50%
Can we change the number of people who will take part on the day of the reservation?
Please call in advance if the number of people in your party increase or decrease. We may not be able to accommodate any changes once you arrive for your reservation.
Transportation and Access
Can you arrange for a taxi to come to the shop when I’m ready to leave?
We cannot arrange for taxis to come to our Head Shop. The street in front of the Head Shop is only for pedestrians and is closed to traffic, but there is a taxi stand nearby. The street in front of the Sakura Branch is a main street where you’ll be able to catch a taxi.
Do you have parking available? If not, is there a parking lot nearby?
Both the Head Shop and Sakura Branch do not have parking available, but there are many pay parking lots nearby.
I’m lost. Are there any landmarks near your shop?
The landmark for the Head Shop is Ninenzaka.
The landmark for the Sakura Branch is the Higashiyama Branch of Kyoto Bank.
Do you have any English-speaking staff?
Yes, please rest assured that our staff can converse in English.
I’m pregnant but I’m in my stable period. Can I still take part in the Maiko experience?
We are very sorry but we are unable to provide service to women who are pregnant regardless of your stage of pregnancy.
Is there a place for small children to wait?
Yes, there is. However, our staff cannot look after your child. Please ensure that your child is accompanied by a caregiver while they wait.
Is it okay to wear contact lenses during the Maiko experience?
Yes. Customers who wear hard contact lenses must remove them while we apply the makeup so please bring along your contact case. Customers who wear soft contact lenses do not need to remove their lenses so there is no need for a contact case.