Filmmaker: Matt Allard

For centuries the mysterious world of Japan's geishas was reserved for the elite, with wealthy men paying thousands of dollars for the privilege of a geisha's company.

Times in Japan have changed and the modern geisha has had to adapt to survive. With the financial crisis that has swept across the world, the number of clients has greatly declined. Geishas or Maiko (the trainees) have now had to look for other sources of income.

In Kyoto, beer gardens are now using them to mingle with customers and dance on a small stage. This is a far cry from the exclusivity the culture thrived on for generations. It has brought them out of teahouses and into the world of the common person.

Geisha can be seen from Wednesday, January 25, at 2055GMT.

Source: Al Jazeera