Image: T. Enami / Guy Thiophene
Another look at the tranquil grounds of Hikone Park
The smaller girls – on the bridge and in the right of the picture – are most likely apprentice geishas, known as a maikos.
Traditionally, maikos began training at ages as young as six years old, although now they finish school and are in their middle to late teens before training begins. While the maikos train, the geisha houses – or okiyas – to which they belong support and pay for their apprenticeships, which are expensive. Eventually, however, they pay their okiyas back through their earnings as geishas.