Maiko-san in Kamishichiken
I had brief encounter with a Maiko-san (apprentice Geisha) while taking some photos in the Kamishichiken neighbourhood in Kyoto city on Saturday evening (May 14th). I was taking some photos of an interesting traditional restaurant (which is not shown in this photo), when I suddenly heard the distinctive sound of someone walking in "okobo" (the tall "geta" shoes which Maiko wear). No sooner than I lifted my head, did I find myself only a couple of metres away from a Maiko-san. I wasn't going to be rude and try to photo her face up so close, so I waited a moment for her to pass by and snapped this departing shot.
The Kamishichiken neighbourhood is Kyoto's oldest Geisha district (called "hanamachi" in Japanese). Unlike the other hanamachi in Kyoto city, it's much further away from the downtown, so there are not so many tourists around. It is located across the road from the eastern side of Kitano Tenmangu Shrine. The north eastern exit/entrance of the shrine grounds is directly opposite the main street of Kamishichiken.
To get to Kamishichiken catch a number 203 bus and alight at Kitano-Tenmangu-Mae it's about a 5 minute walk from the bus stop to the main street of Kamishichiken. The 203 bus runs on almost horseshoe shaped route from near Ginkaku-ji (the Temple of the Silver Pavilion) to near Hankyu's Kawaramachi station in Kyoto's downtown area and vice versa. If you're coming from Kyoto's downtown, avoid taking this bus in the section along Shijo-Dori from Kawamachi-Dori to Nishioji-Dori as that's always heavily congested. Instead get the Hankyu Railway from Kawaramachi to Saiin Station and then hop on a 203 bound for Ginkaku-ji on Nishioji-Dori just across the road from the only exit of Saiin station. If you're coming from the Kyoto Station area catch the JR Sagano Line (aka "Sanin Main Line") to Emmachi then catch a Ginkaku-ji bound 203 on Nishioji-Dori which is just east of the station. If you are using a combined Subway and Kyoto City Bus day pass you can transfer to the Ginkaku-ji bound 203 bus at Nishioji-Oike Station (Subway Tozai Line) or to the Kawaramachi bound 203 bus at Imedegawa Station (Karasuma Line).
This photo was taken with a Nikon D700 camera and an AF Nikkor 24f/2.8D lens. It was captured as a RAW (.NEF) file and post processed in DxO Optics Pro. I made the following adjustments: Default camera and lens corrections applied; spot white balance applied; Highlights (-25); Blacks (+25); DxO Smart lighting (25); DxO Clear View (50); Contrast (+50); Microcontrast (+25); Vibrancy (+25); PRIME noise reduction (40); and Unsharp Mask Applied (at default settings).