Inside A Rare Geisha Experience In Otaru

Here's a sneak peek inside the rare Geisha Experience In Otaru when we joined the action on the January 25th, 2017 event.

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A mesmerising geisha performance during the evening.

It's not often you get to experience the presence of a geisha in Hokkaido. That unique opportunity is often experienced in other destinations in Japan, like Kyoto, in the main island of Honshu.

The great news is, visitors to Niseko have the rare chance to marvel in the world of the geisha with the Geisha Experience In Otaru on again this winter. We were lucky enough to be a part of this very special occasion in the first of two events on this season.

Our journey started in Niseko, as we hit the road via bus to Otaru. The scenery along the way was stunning as we enjoyed views of the Sea of Japan as we travelled the hour long journey.

Once we arrived, we enjoyed two hours of free time exploring Otaru's quirky, unique stores and food outlets of central Sakaimachi Street. If you love seafood, then you're in for a treat as we were. Fresh Hokkaido seafood shops line the snow-covered streets. You can enjoy the magic of watching your ocean-fresh shrimp, scallops and crab being flame-grilled right in front of you. Talk about fresh!

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Stunning views of the Sea of Japan on our bus journey to Otaru.

We ventured to the renowned cheesecake shop, LeTao, where we sampled delicious, cheesy sweet and savoury treats and picked up a few extras to take home to share with our lucky friends.

Next stop was the Otaru Music Box Museum, which let me tell you, is buzzing. Amazing wooden toys, delicately-crafted music boxes and figurines are available for purchase in this multi-level, magical store. And, take a walk through history with beautifully-restored organs, music boxes and other musical objects on display as part of the museum.

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Inside the magical Otaru Music Box Museum.

We strolled through the rest of Sakaimachi Street, enjoying the local stores stocking everything from dried squid, to cream puffs and Hello Kitty merchandise. We finished our afternoon with a stop at the picturesque Otaru Canal before boarding the bus to our geisha dinner and dance experience.

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The beautiful Otaru Canal at dusk.

The venue for the dinner show was stunning, complete with Japanese style gardens outside, leading to a grand space with amazing ceiling artwork and kimonos on display. We made our way to the dinner space which was ready and waiting with our dinner course featuring sashimi, Japanese hot pot with salmon and shrimp, seaweed rolled crab, assorted pickled seafoods, a strawberry and spongecake dessert, and more seafood. You definitely need to like seafood, or be open to trying it, if you attend this geisha experience because there's plenty of it and it's a set course menu.

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Colourful sashimi bowl with a selection of fresh Hokkaido produce.

As we tasted the Japanese cuisine and drank Japanese sake, then came what we had all been waiting for: the geisha. Two immaculately groomed geisha glided into the room and danced to the live shamisen. Their dances told of stories and you could see the narrative through their thoughtful, and precise movements.

The geisha reallu are a maginificent in person as you imagine they would be. Their exquisite artistry is truly amazing to watch and we felt very privileged to have their company for the evening.

Not only did we enjoy an intimate dinner show with dance performance, but also fun games with the geisha like ring toss. It was great to be able to interact with the geisha and have the chance to take photos one-on-one.

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Incredible precision with every move of the geisha.

The experience is definitely something that will be treasured in our minds for many years to come. With the geisha being such a rare sighting in Hokkaido, the event really does offer visitors to the Niseko region the chance to experience authentic Japanese culture. Plus, the fact guests also get to enjoy a bit of sightseeing in nearby Otaru and all transport included in the ticket price, it's an experience that takes the guesswork out of making special holiday memories!

If you missed this first event, don't worry, you can still be a part of this very special geisha experience with the second and final event for winter 2017. Here's all the event details you need to know:

WHEN: Thursday 9th February

PRICE: 16,000 yen per person (includes transfers, Japanese set-course meal and all-you-can-drink. Open for guests aged 20 and up.

Pick up from Hirafu Welcome Centre, Hirafu Seicomart
14:30-16:30 Free time in Otaru
17:30-20:30 Geisha dinner experience
22:00 Drop off at Hirafu Welcome Centre, Hirafu Seicomart

Bookings are essential for this very special and rare event.

To reserve your seat, contact Explore Niseko via email at [email protected] or call 050 5309 6905. The Geisha Experience in Otaru is proudly brought to you by Explore Niseko, in association with Kutchan Tourism and Experience Niseko.

For more information and to see more from last season's Geisha Experience In Otaru, see our article.