Photo/IllutrationSatsuki, a geisha from Kyoto’s Gion Kobu district, is featured in a poster promoting Chiang Mai, an ancient capital of Thailand. (Provided by the Tourism Authority of Thailand)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

KYOTO--“Kyoto? No, it’s Chiang Mai.” Thailand’s ancient capital, armed with this catchphrase, is turning to an icon of its Japanese counterpart to help attract more tourists.

Satsuki, a geisha from Kyoto’s Gion Kobu nighttime entertainment district, graces six posters created by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), including one of her in kimono and full makeup next to an elephant.

Satsuki posed for the snaps in Chiang Mai and the northern Thai province of Lamphun in October last year.

The posters were completed in June, and TAT has sent 100 copies of each design to travel agencies and other organizations in Kyoto Prefecture.

Chiang Mai native Saratwadee Asasupakit, who until July ran TAT's Osaka office, came up with the novel idea of using the well-known symbol of Kyoto to pitch Thailand to Japanese visitors.

“Satsuki’s pictures capture the unique atmosphere of the ancient capitals without being undermined by cultural differences,” said a representative of the Osaka office.

Satsuki, too, was pleased with how the posters turned out.

“The photos were so perfect I was asked if they were made from multiple images,” she said. “I will be happy if the posters inspire Japanese to visit Thailand and Thai people to learn about Japanese culture.”