Behind The Mask

(4 customer reviews)

¥179,000per session

Camera Rental

Would you like to rent additional cameras?

Hotel pick-up

Would you like us to come pick you up at your hotel? (Free of charge)

Hotel name

Hotel phone number

Have any questions? Contact us!

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 instructor
Shoot Location Rental



Recommended Gear

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




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 lighting gear such as LED lights and reflectors and instruct you 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 your 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 tea house known as Tan’an. This pavilion withstood the test of time and still stands amidst the modern buildings of the city center. It was donated to the Kyoto National Museum by a rich benefactor in 1958. The quaint building 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 Pickup at your hotel
  • 10:15 – 11:15 Prepare the shooting location and get prepared for the shoot
  • 11:15 – 11:30 Meet the geisha and get to know her with casual chat
  • 11:30 – 12:30 First shoot without make-up
  • 12:45 – 15:00 Lunch break
  • 15:00 – 15:50 Second shoot with make-up
  • 16:00 Finish

Instructors for this Photo Adventure

  1. 7safaak

    This team was incredible. Before I left Los Angeles, the communication was very fast, they always responded to my emails right away. They were able to pick me up from my hotel and take me to the photo session location. The location was fantastic and so were the Geishas I photographed. I highly recommend this company. I would work with them again for sure. Especial thanks to Paul who assisted me and made sure all went well.

  2. John

    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.

  3. Bacco

    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!

  4. Monkeybuttface2

    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.

Add a review

We will pick you up at your hotel or other location of your preference.