Gion Hatanaka Maiko Dinner Show Review

I noticed some search access recently for the fake maiko dinner show (Kyoto Cuisine and Maiko Evening) at Hatanaka Ryokan in Gion.

I was invited to review it by Hatanaka and it was horrible. I wrote a detailed critical review but Miwa used to work there so I haven’t posted it yet.

Unprofessional Production
The maiko are cute but the production is very unprofessional. Just less than half of the audience will have their back to the show. They all go home with very stiff necks.

The English translation is poor.

Cheap and Stingy Dinner
The Hatanaka Maiko Dinner Show is REALLY expensive. In typical Kyoto style, they are stingy with the amount and quality of the food that they serve. It is a complete rip off. We know how much maiko cost and about how much the food costs; Hatanaka is robbing their guests!

Better Alternative
The maiko performances at any of the kaburenjo theaters is far, far better and a fraction of the price. Go to the theater and go out for a nice dinner after.

When we reviewed Hatanaka’s Hamo Cuisine last summer, it was to introduce the cuisine, rather than recommend Hatanaka. I actually regret that we didn’t review a better kitchen. (Hatanaka’s food isn’t terrible, there is just better in town.)

7 Responses to “Gion Hatanaka Maiko Dinner Show Review”

  1. won park says:

    Dear Paku and Peko,
    I always enjoy every bit of your writing and review. I feel things
    must have somewhat changed in Kyoto. I stayed at Gion Hatanaka
    in 2005 and remember their Kaiseki dinner was quite impressive.
    By the way, is Miwa the person who used to work at Gion Hatanaka in 2005 you are reffering to in your review? I am planning to visit Kyoto again in a year or two, and will appreciate your response.
    Thank you.

  2. Miwa says:

    Dear Park-san,

    Thank you for reviewing KyotoFoodie and your recent comment.

    Yes, I am the Miwa, working there in 2005 and I do remember exchanging several emails with you and serving you. I remember that you even wrote thank you note to us back in the US, it really made us happy.

    It is too bad that I no longer recommend Hatanaka. In fact, Okami-san (proprietress), who I really liked died in 2007 from cancer and after that the quality of the ryokan got worse. Her husband, who now run the ryokan is a cheap person, so that he tries to save little money, for example, fixing air conditioning system, rather than to offer comfortable stay to customers. I had a lot of struggling feeling working under him I ended up quitting. It was not the only reason, though.

    There are a lot more interesting and comfortable places you can stay for the price.

    It is very sad that we lost Okami-san and I can not recommend somewhere I used to have a good relationship, but we would like to report a real information, so that this is what we are doing.

    I hope you will be back to Kyoto soon and we intend to introduce good ryokan in the future.

  3. Emily says:

    Dear Kyoto Foodie:

    I know this is really pushing it, but would you know of a website for the Kobu Kaburenjo Theater or any other reliable theaters where performances by maiko/geiko might be viewed? Any kind of service online where a foreigner would be able to find out about performance schedules would be most helpful. Thank you so much. (Also, thanks for the heads up about the You probably saved me a whole lot of money!)

  4. Joe Carson says:

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  5. Zavier says:

    Hi all,

    Very interesting website. I am going to Kyoto in April and am looking for a nice Ryokan to stay in. Was thinking of Gion Hatanaka but it seems like people are not too keen on it? I went to trip advisor and many people seems very happy about it. Kindly advise?

    My other two choices are Hiiragiya and Tawaraya. Any advice?

    Many thanks!

  6. Peko Peko says:

    Hello Zavier,

    Gion Hatanaka cannot compare to Hiiragiya or Tawaraya. While I have never stayed at Hiiragiya or Tawaraya I have had dealings with both, had friends stay and have eaten at both.

    Generally, I think that Hiiragiya is an over-rated dump. The main ryokan is run down and shabby, the service is mediocre and the food is crap. That said, I have not been there for about 2 years. Maybe it has gotten better. Hiiragiya does have a new wing designed by a up-and-coming young Japanese architect. He gave me a tour of the building when it opened and it was really amazing – not authentically Kyoto in style, but great. I would like to stay there once, but I would probably bring ham sandwiches and a bottle of wine for my dinner.

    At Tawaraya it seems that you are treated like royalty (great service), the architecture and interiors are astounding. It is said that every architect in Japan wants to stay at Tawaraya once in their lifetime. The food is good, but if you are staying more than one night I would consider eating out.

    Also, we have the Kyoto Support forum at, please stop by and share your experience and tips. There is a forum topic called Fine Ryokan (Japanese style inn) in Kyoto and I think that will have addition info for you. Please have a look, and again, please share!

  7. Zavier says:

    Hi Peko Peko,

    Thank you very much for your advice.

    Will probably choose between Gion Hatanaka or Tawaraya. It’s diffcult to have an idea of Tawaraya as they don’t have a website. Have you stayed in Hatanaka before?

    We will probably have one dinner during our stay there. We will be staying for two to three nights. Other than the dinner at the hotel, is there any must try restaurant we have to go to while we are in Koyto? It doesn’t have to be the same type of 10 course dinner. It can be ramen or tempura or whatever is famous… Any advice?

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