They were born into the trade or forced to join it to survive.
The first difference is in their makeup, with set ways that maiko and geisha are allowed to apply it to reveal their status.
The only time geishas perform in public is when maikos do dances during the annual Cherry Blossom Dances in Kyoto.
After graduating, a successful geisha may decide to live in her own home within the hanamachi outside of the okiya, although some may choose to remain.
It seems that a little of that was prevalent in Japan with the Geisha tradition.
It takes long hair to achieve the elaborate hair styles.
Many modern geisha also want to retain the option of leaving the profession if they so desire.
The former are usually the younger girls and the latter older more established geisha.