Photos studio in the historical Arashiyama neighborhood offers a makeover/photo package you won’t find anywhere else.

Like many photo studios in Kyoto, Studio Kokoro offers plans in which customers can don the kimono of a maiko (apprentice geisha) and have their hair and makeup done in the style of the traditional cultural entertainers. But Kokoro also gives clients the opportunity for a makeover/photo service unlike what you’ll find at any of its rivals, in the form of its fox bride, or kitsune no yomeiri, package.

Kokoro wanted to offer a service that clients can’t get anywhere else, and turned to Japanese folktales of fox spirit bridal processions for inspiration. But while maiko makeovers are a tried-and-true line of business for Kyoto photo studios, no one was sure how well a fox bride variant would go over, and so initially the package was offered for only a limited time.

The response from customers was overwhelmingly positive, though, and Kokoro has now made the fox bride package a permanent part of its service lineup. Some customers have been so satisfied that they’ve even come back for repeat fox makeovers.

For the fox bride package, Kokoro’s makeup artists use lighter makeup than for the pure-white faces of geisha. Another key difference is the bold red accents around the eyes, which help to create an alluringly mysterious aura.

Also of note is the fox bride makeover wardrobe. Instead of the colorful kimono used for the maiko photo shoots, the fox bride is dressed in a snowy white wedding kimono, complete with a wataboshi headdress.

Striking as the finished look may be, transforming into a fox bride doesn’t take all that terribly long. First, Kokoro’s staff needs about an hour to style your hair, apply your makeup, and dress you in the kimono. After that you’ll spend time with the photographer taking the pictures and choosing which you’d like prints of, with the entire process taking about two and a half hours.

▼ And if neither the magical fox bride nor demure maiko packagers are quite what you’re looking for, Kokoro offers sultry oiran (courtesan) makeovers as well.

The fox bride packages start at 19,500 yen (US$180), and couple photo shoots are also an option. Specific pricing plans can be found here on Kokoro’s Japanese website, and although the information hasn’t been transferred over to its English site yet, found here, the studio is extremely welcoming of overseas visitors.

Studio information
Studio Kokoro / スタジオ心
Address: Kyoto-shi, Ukyo-ku, Sagatenryuji Susukinobabacho 3-18, basement level 1
Open 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Related: Studio Kokoro English website, Fox Bride Plan
Images: Studio Kokoro
[ Read in Japanese ]