Those who maintain venerable traditions are highly valued in Kyoto. Even though maiko and the older geiko are part of an exclusive high society, there are not enough new recruits anymore. In the renowned Gion area they dart out of taxis into teahouses at twilight, so there is little chance to stop them for a photo.
Who are oiran? According to Wikipedia, the word originates from the Japanese phrase "oira no tokoro no nēsan", which translates into "my elder sister." The kanji characters are 花 meaning "flower" and 魁 meaning "leader" or "first". They were high-class courtesans that possessed entertainer’s skills, such as playing musical instruments, arranging ikebana, performing tea ceremonies, etc.
On February 25th, visitors to Kyoto have the chance to have Japanese green tea made and served to them by Geisha. At Kitano Tenmangu Shrine for their annual plum blossom festival, geisha from the local area come to perform an outdoor tea ceremony known as Baika-sai.