"We are alive and well" – A group of young apprentice geisha -- the oldest is 20 years old -- make a special appearance in Tokyo as part of a campaign called "We are alive and well, Kyoto." The promotion is part of efforts to lure tourists back to Kyoto following last month's floods, the result of Typhoon Man-yi. For centuries, one of Kyoto's biggest draws has been the sight of traditional geisha heading to their evening engagements.
Ambassadors to Kyoto – Approximately 268,000 people were evacuated when Typhoon Man-yi hit Kyoto on September 16, 2013. Wide-spread flooding damaged more than 1,500 houses, as well as famous shops and bridges. The new campaign was launched as the city gears up for its busiest tourist season of the year, fall.
Practicing their charms – Apprentice geisha, called maiko (dance child) in Kyoto and hangyoku (half jewel) in Tokyo, receive years of training in the arts -- including dance, singing and shamisen -- before they become full-fledged geisha. According to the Japan National Tourism Organization, there are less than 10,000 geisha left in Japan today.
Take a bow – A maiko's hairstyle varies according to how many years of training she has received.
Teenage dream – The red collar under this long-sleeved kimono indicates that Toshitomo, 16, is a geisha-in-training.
White faces – Ichimari, 18, from Kami Shichiken, sports the same white makeup used by geisha centuries ago. It's meant to make their skin glow as they dance in dim, candle-lit rooms.
Greetings – Geisha take an active role in the society of Gion, a Kyoto district, and abide by a set of strict rules and customs passed down over the centuries.
Playing to strengths – Kyoto Mayor Daisaku Kadokawa shows off his city's greatest draw.