Authentic Maiko (or geisha/geiko or tayuu) Kanzashi
- Ikuokaya: Without a doubt my favorite kanzashi shop in Kyoto. They also have a website (FYI: they have music that plays automatically on the homepage), and I know people who have ordered things from them. The owner and his son speak excellent English and the son also speaks German, so don’t be afraid to fax them (unfortunately the other staff members at the shop don’t speak English or any other languages but Japanese, so if you don’t speak Japanese or don’t feel confident in your Japanese skills calling might not be the best idea). You can buy full maiko kanzashi sets or just parts of the sets. They also sell other authentic maiko and geiko items, like maiko obi dome and han eri, as well as mini versions of maiko kanzashi, kanzashi for the average person and more tourist-related items. It is also the only shop I have found in Kyoto that sells tayuu items.
- Kazurasei: Another kanzashi shop in Kyoto. Like Ikuokaya, you can buy full sets of maiko kanzashi or parts of maiko kanzashi. They also sell kanzashi and other kitsuke items (like obi dome and obi jime) for regular people. Their specialty is their series of pure camellia oil products, including shampoo and conditioner.
- Kintakedo: The third kanzashi shop location on the Gion side of Shijo-dori (along with Ikuokaya and Kazurasei). They sell maiko kanzashi and also some mini version of them -- my little morning glory (asagao) is from them. You can also get kanzashi appropriate for regular people here. I don't know of a website for these folks, but if you do please feel free to share the link!
- Hannari-ya: An online shop that sells all kinds of Japanese stuff. They have a small selection of maiko kanzashi, which they apparently purchase from Kintakedo.
Non-Maiko (or geisha/geiko or tayuu) Kanzashi
- Jyuusanya: The fourth kanzashi shop on Shijo-dori, this particular one is on the non-Gion side of the Kamogawa. Their specialty is carved boxwood combs, and they provide the offering of new combs presented at the renewal of the Grand Shrine at Ise ever 20 years. Those of you who collect BJDs or other dolls might be interested to note that I have found miniature carved combs of all kinds at this shop. In addition to the boxwood combs, they sell a variety of lacquered combs, bekko pins, and tsumami kanzashi appropriate for all occasions. They don’t sell maiko goods, but if you’re just going for a maiko-like look for cosplay or something some of their items might be a good option, especially if you want something you might be able to use in other situations later.
- Maya Kanzashi: An online shop with a large variety of pretty, generic kanzashi appropriate for more formal occasions. Most purchases from this shop come with two side pieces, but some come with just one piece or one larger side piece plus two or more much smaller pins. This is another good options for people looking to do maiko cosplay without actually buying maiko goods, or who want a fancy kanzashi to wear with their yukata for a more over-the-top style.
- Department stores and kimono shops: Even small kimono shops or limited wafuku sections in department stores often have a small selection of kanzashi appropriate for some kinds of kimono, especially more formal varieties. You may even be able to get super-casual styles to wear with yukata during the summer. And speaking of yukata…
- Claire’s, Icing, and similar stores: Though in my opinion the things here aren’t substitutes for authentic kanzashi, many of the hair flowers can be a nice touch with yukata.
- eBay: You can find just about anything on eBay. That said, if something is advertised as a maiko or geisha piece, take it with a grain of salt and try to confirm that it is an authentic maiko or geisha piece before spending big bucks on it. I have found eBay to be a good source for antiques, bekko kanzashi, and wedding sets (though those might be particularly expensive). Doll hobbyists can also find some mini kanzashi for dolls on eBay with some careful looking.
- Etsy: A great place to go for unique, non-traditional kanzashi made with traditional methods. Ever thought a headband with kanzashi would rock? You can find them on Etsy. Some sellers will even do commissions. That said, use caution when dealing with sellers who claim that their pieces are authentic maiko or geiko pieces. I know of at least one seller there whose pieces strike me as way overpriced when I compare them to what I can get from places like Ikuokaya and Kazurasei. I would prefer not to name names publically though.
- Flickr’s kanzashi communities: Thought not everyone here is making pieces to sell, some people are and some even link to their Etsy or other sales pages in their profiles and/or picture captions.
- Ningyoukan: A site for doll hobbyists who want to buy kanzashi for their dolls. Pieces range from the tiny to the relatively large, so whether you’re buying for a Barbie or a Volks SD17 you can probably find what you need here. Humans, however, will be out of luck.