Behind The Mask

Rated 5.00 out of 5 based on 3 customer ratings
(3 customer reviews)

¥179,000per session

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Hotel pick-up

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Cancellation Policy

100% refunded if you cancel 1 month before the workshop date. No refund past that date.

Adventure Type


Max Size

4 people


6 Hours






Geisha before and after makeup
Hotel Pickup
Lighting Equipment
Professional photography trainer
Shoot Location Rental



Recommended Gear

No Tripod Needed
SLR with 24-70mm lens (or a 50mm or 85mm prime lens) or mirrorless equivelant




EYExplore Kyoto Photo Tour & Workshop - Photographing a geisha in Kyoto during our Behind the Mask photography workshop
Photographing a geisha in Kyoto during our Behind the Mask photography workshop

What’s the Story?

We settle in a traditional house tucked in the cramped alleyways of Kyoto where we await our precious guest—one of the few remaining geisha. With the help of a translator, you’ll get to know who she really is and chronicle her life before and after she dons her mask. Experience a photo shoot workshop with a hint of documentary photography.

What We’ll Shoot

This workshop is a full-on photo shoot with an authentic geisha for a model. We will provide studio gear such as LED lights and reflectors and instruct your on its usage while also making the most of available natural light. You will your learn how to set your camera and compose the photographs, but importantly you will be coached on how to work with you subject to tell a story through your photographs.

Where We’ll Explore

We’ve scouted Kyoto and selected the best stage for our model: an authentic Machiya house. This mansion withstood the test of time and still stands amidst the modern buildings of the city center. It has belonged to the same family since the 18th century and is packed with original fixtures such as tea making utensils, ‘washi’ paper windows and gold folding screens—a playground for photographers!

EYExplore Kyoto Photo Tour & Workshop - Photographing a geisha in Kyoto during our Behind the Mask photography workshop
Photographing a geisha in Kyoto during our Behind the Mask photography workshop

How Does it Work?

  • 10:00 Meet in front of the shooting location
  • 10:15 – 11:15 Prepare the shooting location and get prepared for the shoot
  • 11:15 – 11:40 Meet the geisha and get to know her with casual chat
  • 11:40 – 12:30 First shoot without make-up
  • 12:45 – 15:00 Lunch break
  • 15:15 – 15:50 Second shoot with make-up
  • 16:00 Finish

Meet the Trainers for this Photo Adventure

  1. Rated 5 out of 5


    I had the privilege of doing 6 different EYExplore courses while I was in Japan, from Tokyo to Osaka and Kyoto all of the courses were an amazing learning experience. Both Lukas and Axel provided tips and tricks to capture images I would not have been able to create on my own. The absolute highlight was the Behind The Mask Geisha experience, sure you could try your luck at spotting a Geisha walking to a job or catching a taxi on the dark streets of Gion and maybe come away with a couple of blurred pictures but for me that was never going to be enough so I knew I had to book Behind The Mask. A half day small group experience of shooting with a Geisha, firstly without her makeup and then later with the familiar makeup, kimono, obi, umbrella and okobo. Not only to photograph a Geisha but to ask questions and communicate with her was such a special experience. Something I will definitely try to do again next time I am in Japan, which will be soon.

  2. Rated 5 out of 5


    I joined the Behind the Mask workshop in November 2017. Both Lukasz and Axel, the key men of EYExplore, are friendly, patience and professional. The workshop was well organised. I could really learn the cultural and working life of the geisha. Excellent experience in Kyoto!

  3. Rated 5 out of 5


    I attended the “Behind the Mask” workshop in November and was delighted by the intimate access afforded us in working with a maiko in both a behind-the-scenes environment and then in full regalia on the streets of Gion in Kyoto. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and should not be missed.

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