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The Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko House (2023) Review

Based on the popular manga Kiyo in Kyoto, The Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko House is a heartwarming coming-of-age story that tackles themes like friendship, trust, passion, and a delightful meal.

A short 9-episode series on Netflix that can be enjoyed like a warm soup on a cold day.

Plot Overview

This series follows the story of two best friends, Kiyo and Sumire. They move from the rural countryside of Aomori to the bustling Gion District in Kyoto to live in an all-female house of geiko and maiko. They both dream of becoming successful geikos. They undergo rigorous training to adapt to the ways and customs of one of the Japanese's integral parts of their culture.

During their training, we discover Sumire's natural talent as a Geiko while Kiyo struggles to follow the routines. As Kiyo is deemed unfit to become a maiko, she understands that she can still support her best friend and the others by being a cook at their place.


The Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko House is like a time-traveling series that feels like you are going back in time by understanding the importance of these cultures to the Japanese.

Like the anime rendition, Each episode features a dish or cuisine Kiyo prepares. It also represents the mood of the episode. It feels like the dishes she prepares are meant to convey feelings, like when we are eating a nice meal or sharing a good laugh.

There are a couple of characters in this short series, but the main focus is Sumire as she strives to become a maiko and Kiyo, who supports everyone by preparing the perfect meals. The other side characters are a fun bunch of people with different personalities that give color to the story.

The Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko House is a hidden gem. Netflix may have some big-shot series like Alice in Borderland or any other popular South Korean Drama, but this one is a slow-burner tale if you want to appreciate a chill story.

A good 4 out of.5 stars.

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