Best place to see spot one is in the Gion area between about about 5.45 and 6pm. The nearest experience I can compare it to is a safari! They pop out of buildings without you knowing which ones they will come out of and the you hear them first clip clopping with their sandals as they walk at a very rapid pace and then they dive into another building – where they entertain their clients. Again, similar to safari, you have no idea if you will see any and when you do you have to move very fast to get a photo while not blocking their way. Somehow I saw three and managed to photograph two of them as you can see below – but only just they move very fast!
Such a secretive and preserved tradition in Kyoto with young girls at age 16 still training over five years in a range of skills from make up to flower arranging to tea ceremonies and performing arts. Those in training and the one I met below are called Maiko (she was 17 and spoke some English) and they move to becoming Geiko (another word for geisha) once fully trained. Some ways to tell the difference (aside from age but everyone looks ageless over here) are that Maiko have a dropped sash bow at the back whereas the Geiko have a tight sash bow and also no ornaments in their hair. View the video below if you want to see a 30 second example of the Maiko below dancing – so graceful. Click here to play video https://youtu.be/ZRENz3e904k