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Kyoto: geisha beer garden opens

From July until early September, visitors to Japan’s ancient capital of Kyoto can kick back and relax in the company of geisha at a number of beer gardens.
Kamishichiken - an open-air beer garden in the wonderful surroundings of the Kamishichiken Kaburenjo Theatre. Maiko and geisha from the Kagai hanamachi (the oldest geisha district in northwest Kyoto) will be among your fellow guests. The beer garden is open 5:30 pm until 10pm from 1st July until 5th September and offers a unique chance to be served by maiko and geisha.
An evening with a geisha is usually a pricey luxury, but here all it costs is the price of a few drinks. The Kamishichiken beer garden has a “starter pack” of a mug of beer and two snacks for 1,800 yen (£13.50) to get your evening going. Additional snacks including prawn dumplings, yakisoba noodles and grilled rice balls cost 900 yen (£6.80) each, beers 950 yen (£7), and soft drinks are 500 yen (£3.80).
Kamishichiken do not have English-speaking staff to take reservations so it’s best to have your hotel in Japan call them on 075-461-0148 to make a reservation for you.
Shinmonso - a fine Gion district traditional ryokan inn, located in one of the most traditional and beautiful areas of Kyoto. From 6pm until 9pm from 10th July to 31st August (closed Sundays), Shinmonso offers a special dinning plan in their Japanese-style beer garden. Spend an evening enjoying a fine meal while being entertained by a real maiko for the price of dinner and drinks. A dinner of hors d’oeuvres, yakitori chicken, ochazuke (a traditional dish of green tea poured over rice), tea and drink costs 3,150 yen (£24). For an extra 1,575 yen (£12) you can have as much beer, wine, shochu (Japanese spirit) or soft drink as you like. For those not up for a big night, individual beers can be purchased for 530 yen (£4) each.
For more information please visit Shinmonso’s website 

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9 July 2010
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