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Welcome to my blog!

If you are in for an adventure paired with lengthy, quirky, brutal honest thoughts then you are in the right place.

My name is Arisa and was a cosplayer for 12 years in Malaysia before settling down in Kyoto, Japan. Exploring Japan full time has been a long time dream of mine, so let's explore it together!
For sponsorship, collaborations and engagements: arisa1443@gmail.com

Maiko Makeover by GION AYA

Before i start going deep into this post i would like to say a special thanks to my make up artist/ dresser, Takazawa-san who did an amazing job preparing me for the shoot, she was really a friendly staff who explained the make up application process to dressing me me almost 5kg++ worth of clothing. If you guys didn't know the history of Geisha/ Maiko, dressing are usually done by a man because their strength is needed to pull and wrap the sash in place, and for a woman to be able to do that, means they are very strong!
Also nice working with Mark-san, all the best in your photography studies!

Being a cosplayer for more than a decade, i still find it hard to believe how i always look like a different person in front of the camera. Totally not your average clumsy Arisa here.

I grew up reading alot, that's why i was very happy whenever i get an encyclopedia as a gift (not your usual kid) and the part i enjoyed reading most was the cultural section because each country has their own unique practices. Recently a friend asked me, of all languages why do i want to learn Japanese?
It was a good question for someone who doesn't know me too well, i could have easily picked up French, Spanish or others but i chose Japanese because it has been a part of me since i was young :)
From the history books and research, reports i did on them, comics and animation to my current line of work that gets me heavily involved with their country. That is why here i am today, trying my best to learn as much as i can despite being an extremely slow learner (wasn't born smart lel).

So from just reading about Geisha(s) (widely accepted term, but in depth there is a difference for Geiko, Geigi and Maiko), and doing reports about their elaborate ensemble back in college for costume history subject, here i am today dressed as one.
Totally windblown, in awe, stoked, the list goes on even as i am typing this out today i can still clearly remember this amazing experience i had with GION AYA back in Kyoto last month.

Don't keep it in your bucket list, Just do it!

Dressed as a Maiko (ticked off my bucket list), though i'm technically too old to be one lol (guess my actual age haha) as Maiko(s) are usually between the age of 15 to 20 years old. It's alright, let me pretend to be under legal age for one 3 hours to be exact lol.

Hailing from Malaysia, i've never seen any of my friends (normal ones or bloggers) daring enough to try on a full costume like this, despite saying it's in their bucket list of "some day" to try lol. 
So to make your first costume wearing experience in Japan a fuss free and fun one, i'll be sharing with you guys on my experience with Gion Aya.
Do hope more Malaysians will come here after this to try something this daring for their Japan trip :)
I ensure you that you'll definitely get tons of Instagram worthy photos for this.

Lipstick paint



Navigating around their website is easy as they have English option as well, and if you are unsure of anything, you can always send them an email inquiry, they respond quite quick as well.

Gion Aya specializes in Kimono and other traditional costume rental services providing not only costume but also a full make over by their skilled make up artists and professional in-house photographers. So if you are looking to make your trip to Japan a memorable one by dressing up as a Geiko/ Maiko/ Samurai or even just donning a normal kimono to stroll around Kyoto, then Gion Aya is a great place to go to! This place actually used to be a proper performing tea house but it is now converted into a costume studio, and the authentic traditional setting still remains till today!  
The choices of of kimonos are amazing, every one of them was beautiful that i had a difficult time choosing one lol, if i could i don't mind spending everyday of my life just wearing a kimono at this rate. That's how much i love Japanese silk designs 💖

Okay la you guys know what to get me already, fabrics to make a kimono lol just kidding!

Finding the place wasn't too hard even if you aren't familiar with the area (nearest train station is Gion Shijo) from the station it's just a straight walk upwards till the end of the road but don't worry I've linked a map below for you guys to click and it will lead you straight to google maps :)

Men & Children Costumes Available as well

Guys if you are worried that you'll be left out from all the fun then you are wrong because they too have samurai costumes for you to put on and pose for photos together with your girlfriend dressed as either a maiko or a geiko. Makes a fun and creative pre wedding photo opportunity too, something you can proudly show your kids and grand kids in the future haha!
They have children clothing as well and kids would surely love to join their mothers for a mom and daughter pairing session or can easily do a full family portrait here as well.

There are a few packages you can select from starting as low as only 11,500 yen, depending on your preference you can either shoot indoors/ outdoors or both. 
View the full package rates here: kyoto-maiko.com/plan
Booking can be done through their website or phone call

Watch the whole makeover in 5 minutes (click HD)!

Total Duration

I came here alone which was a big mistake, how i wished i came with a friend because that would make things more fun (two is always better than one lol), that's why i had limited photos of my time outside during the 1 hour stroll nearby *sobs*.

The whole entire experience took roughly about 2 hours + from dressing up to shooting indoors and outdoors, and i added on an 1 hour stroll nearby, so total 3 hours. Was stopped so frequently for photos and people even asking me for directions T_T i'm a 外国人 not a local.

Makes me want to come back for round 2 with some friends and a photographer next time but i'll most definitely drag my friends here to try at least once! You can't say you have really experience Kyoto without walking a mile in a Geiko/ Maiko's shoes for a day (Not kidding), it isn't easy wearing the whole costume with the heavy weight and walking in an Okobo (high platform wooden sandals) is difficult as well without tripping and falling over. After taking off the costume i have mad respect for these traditional artists, they are truly inspiring people who strive to keep the tradition alive in this current modern world.

Lockers & Basic Amenities provided

Upon arriving they assigned us with individual lockers to put our bags and clothes in, and people like me who always has their phone and camera at hand, they even provide a small pouch for me to carry with me at all times, so thoughtful of them!Was worried about washing up afterwards, but Gion Aya basically thought of everything, from gentle oil based cleansers to remove the thick white foundation, shampoo and conditioners to hair dryers (for those of us who used half wigs would need to wash parts of our hair). There's also a make up shelf for you guys to use as well.

Final Outcome

Using Autumn theme, they'll change according to season

So glad i got my lashes done at Blanc_ malaysia before my trip because it looks as if i have naturally long lashes in every photo i took :) Saves me alot of time on getting ready as well! Also I actually dyed back my hair black for this, it's a half wig so part of my hair is secured to it, thank you Daisuke Salon for making my hair black again.

So in love with the Furisode (kimono) i wore

Thank you Gion Aya team!

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Disclaimer: Though there are other shops out there offering such similar services, but i can't vouch for their service quality unless i've tried it personally myself, so i only recommend services that i've tried and trust to ensure my readers too will have a great experience themselves.



  1. Wahh 5kg clothing?? Really looks different! Bestnya. Btw, susah tak nak remove make-up?

  2. you had an awesome experience ! Love the look, the painter, and all stuff from Japan @ I should go there too

  3. I love how it turns out! Very nice and pretty. By the way, how long did it takes for you to remove your make up?

  4. Wow the makeover is superb. Thinking about how you remove the makeup? Is that take much time?

  5. tetiba teringat pada cerita Geisha hehehe, btw, look nice !

  6. U look nice
    Definetly a dif experience that will be remembered by u

  7. Wow such a good experience..never get a chance to visit here..but definitely will be in my list soon lol

  8. wow salute you! and you look stunning in those!


  9. Oh, my! You really looks good in those make up and kimono!

  10. I love seem you dress up in Kimono. You really looks like Japanese Doll. Kawaii neh.

  11. I'll really like to try this out when I visit Japan in the future. Btw you look great in the pics.

  12. Teringat cerita oshin. Haha.. Tak sangka baju ni berat sampai 5kg.. Nampak simple ja.

  13. You look pretty! The dress is 5kg Heavy? How you manage to wear it? Did you feel hot?


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