If you want to become a geisha, maiko, samurai or courtesan, gender is no barrier at this Asakusa photo studio.

It wasn’t long ago we told you about Nanairo, the photo studio in Asakusa that did an incredible job of turning our very own Mr. Sato into a sword-wielding samurai warrior. The transformation was so impressive that it wasn’t long before another of our reporters, Nakazawa, revealed his dream for an Edo-style makeover. Only this time he wanted to shed his geeky male persona and feel beautiful for a change so he opted to dress like a sexy oiran courtesan.

▼ Nakazawa stands in front of Studio Nanairo before the transformation.


While the male courtesan packages are not part of their usual plans, the experience can be specially arranged by prior appointment. Once you arrive on the day, you’ll spend some time in the hair and makeup chair before being dressed in a glamorous kimono and haori (traditional kimono coat), followed by a thirty-minute photo shoot in a beautiful space designed to look like a room in the pleasure quarters.

▼ The result


▼ Goodbye Nakazawa, hello sexy courtesan!


Before the photo shoot began, the studio staff asked for some directives. Our reporter said he wanted to feel beautiful. Sexy images would be good, exposed skin shots were okay, and he’d like a stunning, over-the-top look.

▼ He got everything he asked for.


▼ There are also a number of gorgeous props to help you get into character, like long pipes which were commonly used by courtesans back in the day…


▼ …adorable fox masks…


▼ …lacy, gold-flecked fans…


▼ …and traditional Japanese umbrellas. You can add a smile too if you like, but Nakazawa preferred to channel a more stern seductress.


▼ It’s hard to imagine that underneath the courtesan’s clothes and makeup lies this less glamorous yet equally loveable character!


▼ We have seen this pose in the office, although it’s decidedly less alluring when he’s wearing jeans and a t-shirt.


Nakazawa was blown away by the experience and the photos he received at the end. He said he couldn’t even recognise himself and felt like an absolute princess with the team of professional staff fussing over him.


He’d never worn false eyelashes before and he loved the effect it had, elongating and opening up his eyes. He was also surprised by the tightness of the obi sash and the heaviness of the elaborate kimono and haori. It’s not easy work being a sought-after courtesan!


The whole experience took about 3 hours and cost a total of 25,000 yen (US$204), which included 24 photos from the day. The staff was excellent, guiding Nakazawa through the process from beginning to end so efficiently that the time flew by without him even noticing.


There are a variety of packages to choose from, so if you’re interested in transporting yourself to a different era of Japan, be sure to check out their website for more details.

Studio Information
Studio Nanairo / 浅草変身写真館  スタジオ七色
Address: Tokyo-to Taito-ku, Kaminarimon 2-17-8

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