Photo/IllutrationA troupe of "geiko" and "maiko" apprentice entertainers tour Kyoto's "kagai" entertainment area to greet their patrons and supporters during an annual event in the city’s Higashiyama Ward in the morning of Aug. 1. (Yoshiko Sato)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

KYOTO--Geisha drew admiring crowds as they paid traditional courtesy visits to various locations around the "kagai" entertainment area here on Aug. 1 to thank their performance mentors and clientele for continued support over the past year.

During the annual event known as “Hassaku”, “geiko” and “maiko” apprentices dressed in sumptuous kimono visited the “ochaya” restaurants in the district, where they perform traditional Japanese dances and other arts, to express their gratitude.

Hassaku is an ancient word meaning August 1 in the old Japanese calendar.

In the traditional custom, farmers would pray for a rich harvest, and people would greet and present gifts to others who had given them support on a regular basis.

The tradition used to be active in many areas around the country, and is kept alive today in this district, where the traditional entertainers stroll every Aug. 1.

The troupe in formal attire bearing their family crests visited Inoue Yachiyo, 61, the fifth-generation master of the Inoue school of traditional "kyo-mai" dance and a government-designated national human treasure, to say, “Omedetosandosu” (congratulations) in celebration of Hassaku.