Jan. 18, 2019 UPDATE

Dark Kyoto: Three “deep spots” where you can enjoy authentic Kyoto nightlife

There are three legendary “drinking halls” in Kyoto that offer an authentic look into the everyday life of the salarymen of this ancient capital.
lido kaikan

It is no surprise to most of us that Kyoto is home to some of the best restaurants in Japan, but also because of this many people tend to think of Kyoto as expensive. But there are actually interesting drinking halls, pub complexes, called “kaikan” in Japanese, which offer a chance to get to talk to the locals and taste some exceptional food cheaply, not forgetting the beer and other alcoholic refreshments.

So, here we have the three best “deep spots” in Kyoto!

*As a word of warning, these places are pretty much off the beaten path, so most people here won’t be able to speak English, but many of them are still very welcoming, especially if you go with someone who can speak Japanese. Also, many of them have the Japanese “otoshi” system where you pay a cover fee to enter the pub but get a small dish for it. Usually the “otoshi” fee is around 400 yen.

Lido Inshokugai

Right by the Kyoto Tower, you can find this depilated building that contains a pub that has been chosen in the list of top 10 restaurants in Kyoto. 


This is the way the “Inshokugai,” restaurant street, looks inside. It takes some courage to go into the restaurants, as they are very small and cozy, but you can definitely have a night you won’t forget here. 


chili oil avocado


To start off, I recommend you have a chili oil avocado at Jijibaba. The rich, creamy taste of the avocado goes perfectly with Jijibaba’s handmade chili oil. 

Jijibaba DOS

lamb carpaccio

2Jijibaba DOS

Next door from Jijibaba you find this pub: Jijibaba DOS, the second Jijibaba. They offer some exceptional lamb carpaccio likes of which you rarely see in Japan.


bubbling pot of beef offal


Before you leave Lido Inshokugai behind, remember to have this bubbling pot of beef offal at Mon. We recommend you get the red and white horumon beef offal sets and a Heineken to go with it. 

If you want to read more about Lido Inshokugai, click here:



If you click on the map, it will take you to Google Maps. 

Lido Inshokugai is easily accessible from Kyoto Station, so it is the easiest one of these three pub complexes to go to. It also has the trendiest, although not the cheapest, food. 

Sampo[ Sharing Kyoto Staff ]
All in all, these pub complexes in Kyoto are the most fun I have had at night in Kyoto. The cheapest one is Orizuru Kaikan, the most expensive one Lido Inshokugai; the one that is easiest to go if you don’t know Japanese would probably be Lido Inshokugai. As an experience, Yontomi Kaikan was the most diverse, and they had the best place that can be also counted as a restaurant, Teshima. But saying which one is the best is really hard; they all have their good sides. No matter which one you go, I’m sure you’ll have a lot of fun! Though if you go on some other day than Friday and Saturday all of the pubs may not be open, as some of them take days off irregularly.
Related keywords
All Restaurants All Kyoto Area

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