Kyōto - Gion: Gion Corner - Koto performance
The Koto (箏), a traditional thirteen-stringed instrument, was imported from China about 1,300 years ago and became the national instrument of Japan. Called a Japanese harp, it is similar to the Chinese guzheng, and was initially used to play Gagaku, the special court music at the Imperial Court. In recent years, the Koto has been used in combination with western instruments, thus creating a new field in music while maintaining the original noble atmosphere.
Gion Corner was established at Yasaka Kaikan Hall in 1962. Its one-hour show is popular with international tourists for its quick introduction to seven different traditional art forms: chadō (the Japanese tea ceremony), kado (flower arrangement), koto (Japanese Harp) music, gagaku (ancient court music), kyogen (traditionally comic drama), kyomai (Kyoto style geisha/maiko dance) geisha-style women dances, and bunraku puppet drama. On the first floor, there is a Maiko Gallery exhibiting interesting items associated with maiko.