In Kyoto, there are five hanamachi. The most famous is Gion. The Gion district is located on the west of Kawaramachi, Shijo-dori Street. The Gion district retains old Japanese-style buildings and the atmosphere is very different from other part of the city. The best area to meet a geisha girl is Hanamikoji Street in Gion, where many o-chaya are located. If you visit the area in early evening, you might be able to see beautiful geisha girls before they go to their appointments. It’s said that there are a couple hundred geisha in Gion. In Tokyo, Asakusa Hanamachi is the place to go to meet geisha.
If you want to see the performance of Geisha in Japan, there are guided tours, which include dinner with geisha girls. Also, if you’re interested, you can try on geisha or maiko costumes while you are in Japan. It’s a popular attraction for travelers in Kyoto. There are hundreds of places that offer services to have you dress and make-up like a geisha girl and take photographs. The cost starts of about $60. It might give you a fun souvenir from Kyoto. Please make an appointment before you go since some places can be very crowded.
Because some hanamachi were historically related to prostitution, this bias toward geisha and hanamachi districts still exists in modern Japan. However, geisha is an important part of culture and their performance and beauty still attracts many people from around the world.