Jun. 30, 2016 UPDATE
Feature
Yuka - Outdoor Riverside Dining in Sunset and Night of Kiyamachi
Part 3

7pm-9pm/A Pleasant Walk Through Ponto-cho and Kiyamachi

7pm-9pm/A Pleasant Walk Through Ponto-cho and Kiyamachi
After about 3-minute of walking from Kawaramachi Station, you will reach Ponto-cho. Both sides of this narrow alleyway are lined with restaurants of Kaiseki dining to French dining, bars, and more. The amount of people gathered in Ponto-cho is no less than of the nearby busy area of Kawaramachi Street. Although Ponto-cho is tightly spaced, it doesn’t make you feel suffocated at all, thanks to the red lanterns and the orange light from the restaurants gently illuminating the street.

While walking down Ponto-cho, you will see a glimpse of dark and narrow alleyways. The alleyways will leads to the west side of Ponto-cho to another area called Kiyamachi. There are buildings in the area that are over 200 years old and some are registered as cultural assets. In contrast, there are modern and stylish bars that opened just few years ago to many classic bars that locals are familiar with. . It’s an area full with varieties of places to drink. There probably is not a place elsewhere in Kyoto that will satisfy those who love to drink as much as this place does. First, walk through Ponto-cho to see and feel the illuminating night of Kyoto full of traditional Japanese feel, and then let’s head over to Kiyamachi area that is full of izakaya and bars.
Let’s Get Lost Into Ponto-cho
Pontocho
Ponto-cho is located near downtown Kyoto, and it consists of a street that stretches 500 meters in north-south direction. The area can be entered from Shijo Street, one of the main streets of Kyoto.

The start of Ponto-cho was during Edo period (1603 - 1868). Same with the culture of yuka, or riverside dinning, the root of the culture of Ponto-cho is “omotenashi”.

Ponto-cho had been developed as shops continued to pop upfor travelers to take a break from their journey on the boat that ran up and down the Takase River located right beside. The first shop in the area was established in 1712. Ponto-cho has been a place for travelers to take a break during a tiring journey since 300 years ago.

(Some eateries would have the motto of “jyoren kyaku wa tabibito no anata” meaning “The regulars are you, the travelers”. It expresses the fact that Ponto-cho is a place where travelers are warmly welcomed. )
Pontocho
Ponto-cho is narrow and often times very crowded. Plus, if youare visiting for the first time, you may get lost deep into its atmosphere. It’s fine even if you get lost, that’s part of the fun. We hope for you to enjoy the feeling of getting lost. As you walk down Pont-cho, you will be approaching a variety of eateries, lights from the lanterns, maiko and geiko who are exiting from restaurants, and people walking with smiles on their faces. We hope that you experience this part of Kyoto that you won’t see anywhere else.

(Please be considerate of people walking through when crowded. Also please be cautious of not stopping in the middle of the path to take pictures.)

It may be because of the hot summer temperature, people often feel thirsty when walking down Ponto-cho. The feeling of wanting to drink comes in precedence.The area where you would want to go in order to eliminate your thirst is Kiyamachi. Although there are many drinking places in Ponto-cho, we recommend Kiyamachi because it’s an area whereyou will find restaurants and bars that are loved by locals where they serve delicious foods and drinks.. The area is filled with a variety of types of restaurants and bars like classic izakaya, as well as stylish bistros and modern bars. Out of abundant amount of eateries, we recommend you ones that we love. There are things you can enjoy in Kiyamachi that is not possible to do so by just walking down Ponto-cho.. We will now introduce you to the charms of Kyoto one step in depth.Night out in Kyoto will not end so fast.
In Kyoto, Drinkers Gathers in Kiyamachi
Renkon-ya
Renkon-ya
Renkon-ya is a retro izakaya offering home-style cooking of Kyoto prepared by the owner chef. Renkon-ya opened in 1950 by renovating an old machiya house (traditional houses in Kyoto). The interior is decorated with classic items that can be considered antique now, like rotary dial-style phones and old-school Japanese tables. This charming ambience will make you feel like slipping back in the old days. The dishes are cooked simply and the taste goes very well with Japanese sake.
Tako Nyudo
Tako Nyudo
Takonyudo’s specialty, akashi-yaki, looks like takoyaki, but it’s not exactly takoyaki. Boiled octopus pieces are in each ball of fluffy outer layer made with batter using plenty of eggs. You will eat them by dipping them in broth with great flavors of dashi and ginger. The sweet taste of egg batter and octopus with a nice bite to it makes them a fascinating dish. Other menu items include traditional Japanese dishes that have been eaten since the older days. We hope that you will enjoy some beer or Japanese sake along with many local customers who often stops by after their work.
Standing BAR Kyasa
Standing BAR Kyasa
Standing BAR Kyasa is a bar located deep inside the first floor of a building. The bar is always crowded with people although the space only holds about 15 individuals. Because the distance between each seat is close, we hope that you will get a chance to communicate with other cusomers. The main drink at the bar is sho-chu, but there are other drinks available such as Japanese sakes, beers, wines, and fruit wines. The items are reasonable; price for the drinks starts at 300 while the price for food items start at 100. They use pay when ordering system, so please order and pay cash at the counter.
Rock Bar ING
Rock Bar ING
The bar is owned by an advit fan of the rock band, Rolling Stones. Rock music is playing inside the bar with walls filled with music-related posters. It’s a popular spot among many people from abroad for the ambiance immersed in the world of rock n roll. The drink choices are excecllent with Japanese beers, sake, plum wines, wiskeys, and coctails. They have food items to snack on like edamame. We definitely want you to check this place out.
ONZE
ONZE
Onze is a place where you can enjoy delicious French dishes in a very relaxing atmosphere. Food items include sausages, beef steaks, and traditional dishes using seafood like mussels. The choices for wines are excellent too and offered at resonable prices from 500 per glass. It seems that many people from France living in Kyoto often visit ONZE. Their business hours are quite long which is from 3pm to 1am. We recommed ONZE for dinner as well as making a quick stop in middle of touring the city for a nice drink.
With the above recommended places to go in the historical Ponto-cho area and Kiyamachi area where you can have some satisfying drinks, we are sure that you can enjoy a unique atmosphere in the historical Ponto-cho as well as have some satisfying drinks in the Kiyamachi area. Many of you may think that is enough, but actually there is one more place where you will find some deep hidden-charm.. It’s located in the narrow alleyways that connect Ponto-cho and Kiyamachi with many bars the locals love to go to. Let’s finish the night out in Kyoto before going back to the hotel by jumping into these alleyways between Ponto-cho and Kiyamachi (in part 4).

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