<A Bit About Ochaya>
Ochaya (Japanese Traditional Tea House) has existed in Japan since a long time ago. On the 19th century, there are around 700 Japanese Traditional Tea House in Gion, Kyoto, with 3,000 Maiko and Geiko.
Ichigen Okotowari is one unique culture of Ochaya that does not accept first timer. Ochaya values trust relationship with each of their customers which allow them to customize their service to suit every customer’s needs, thus maintaining a high-quality service.
The owner and respected Maiko of the Ochaya think about their customer as their family. Therefore, accepting first timer is almost the same as accepting a stranger to go inside their house and family.
Even now, it is still quite difficult to experience the true hospitality of Ochaya and Maiko if you do not have relationship with someone who has visited Ochaya before.
<A Bit About Maiko and Geiko>
Maiko is art (mainly dance and music) performer who entertains guest and bring up the atmosphere during a banquet or similar event. Being a Maiko is a process that one has to experience to be a Geiko.
Maiko is hardly walk around the city during the day. Most of them is working on Ochaya that apply the rule of not accepting first timer. Therefore, if one sees Maiko during the day, he or she is considered very lucky. However, there is also high possibility that the one that they see is not the real Maiko, but, tourist who dress up as Maiko.