The Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko House web series is based on the manga series Maiko-san Chi no Makanai-san by Aiko Koyama. The plot revolves around the story of Kiyo Nozuki (Mori Nana), an aspiring maiko. She moves to Kyoto in hopes of becoming a maiko. However, she struggles with the basic skills required to be one. After struggling to become a maiko, she finds employment as a live-in cook at a maiko house. During her time there, she meets a childhood friend, Sumire Herai (Natsuki Deguchi), who becomes a maiko.
As a maiko, Sumire has to take special care with her food when she eats breakfast. She also has to avoid strong smelling foods during her day off. In addition, she also has to dress up in a costume for Setsubun, a traditional Japanese festival.
Meanwhile, Kiyo, who is also a maiko, is having a hard time deciding what to cook. When the cook of the maiko house suddenly becomes unwell, Kiyo takes the role of cook. While she prepares meals for the maiko, she is often aided by the maiko’s mother, Onii-san. Also, she has to keep an eye out for maiko who have fallen ill.
To add to the drama, the maiko at the maiko house are often sleep deprived. They start coming apart as the night goes on. This causes their training to be hampered. In addition, the maiko are rushing to prepare for their work. Having little time to sleep, they often wake up late in the morning to make their costumes.
Besides cooking for the maiko, Kiyo is also task with taking care of Sumire. Despite her lack of talent, she does her best to support her maiko friend.
At the maiko house, there are many apprentice geishas. One of them is Ryoko. This is the daughter of the Maiko House manager. Ryoko’s mother is responsible for training and maintaining her daughter. Nevertheless, Ryoko is not fond of working in the kitchen.
Another character is Kenta. He visits Kiyo at her home. Kenta remembers how Kiyo and Sumire exchanged notes in school. Although he does not know that they are friends, he notices the handwriting of Kiyo.
Despite their differences, the two friends find a way to stay close and continue their dreams. Since they have to live together, they each pursue their passions. However, Kiyo doesn’t have the right personality traits to be a maiko.
Eventually, she is expell from the maiko school. It’s not too late to get back into the maiko world. With a little help from her childhood friend, Kiyo decides to take the path of becoming a maiko.
To achieve this goal, she moves to Kyoto with her friend. During their time there, they meet two other maiko. While they become a maiko, they learn more about the maiko culture. During this time, they are able to learn more about their roles as geisha. They learn about the different dishes they can serve to their customers.