Aug. 06, 2019 UPDATE
Drinking and Walking through Kyoto Summer Nights
Part 4

Late Night Walks Through Hanami-koji – A beauty only seen at night!

In the final part of our Kyoto Nomi-aruki Feature we introduce the highlights and most photogenic spots of one of the best places for late night walks, Hanami-koji.
After dinner, enjoy taking photos as you stroll through the beautiful and traditional street of Hanami-koji.
Firstly, what is Hanami-koji?
Firstly, what is Hanami-koji?
Hanami-koji Street is a road that runs north to south and is one of the most popular tourist spots in Kyoto. Split in the middle by Shijo-dori, the northern side of the street is home to multi-tenant buildings and is relatively modern. However, as you make your way south, the road turns to cobblestone and begins to be lined with wonderfully Kyoto-esque Machiya townhouses. Although both sides of the street are called “Hanami-koji,” they feature completely different atmospheres. For those wanting to enjoy the traditional streets of Japan’s ancient capital, we suggest checking out the south side of the street.
Why Hanami-koji is so popular
Why Hanami-koji is so popular
So, why is Hanami-koji so popular? The reason lies in Hanami-koji’s Kyoto-esque and ancient Japanese atmosphere. This Kyoto-esque appearance is all thanks to the rows of traditional Kyoto Machiya townhouses that line both sides of the street. The townhouses often become the target of people’s praise, however, the real uniquely Japanese beauty of the street is found in the Komayose small fences that sit below the windows to keep people and horses from damaging the walls, and the Inuyarai, short arched bamboo fences that protect the walls from fouling or damage.
It’s in these rows of traditional town houses that we feel a true sense of Kyoto-esque beauty.

In addition, another unique point of this place is that all the electric poles are buried underground so the town-scape is kept beautiful and clear. Since they are invisible, the scenery encourages you to imagine the traditional atmosphere of Japan in the old days.
The Charm of Late Night Hanami-koji
The Charm of Late Night Hanami-koji
During the day, Hanami-koji is overrun by hordes of tourists, but at night time, the street takes on a completely different atmosphere. At this hour, there are practically no people walking the streets and the entire area is wrapped in a quiet, calm atmosphere.

The lights from the lanterns hung at the front of stores and that stream out from the restaurants reflect off the pavement, creating a magical and beautiful scenery.
Recommended photo spots for a photogenic snap
If you’ve made it here at this hour, then why not take a few photos of the beautiful scenery you can only get a glimpse of at night.
Below we will introduce some spots perfect for night time photos!
A deserted Hanami-koji
Usually after 11 PM people will gradually begin thinning out. Once they’ve all gone home, you will be able to capture a beautiful shot of the quiet, deserted street.
Especially after it’s rained, the beautifully paved cobblestones wet with rain will reflect the gentle lights of the paper lanterns, giving you even more atmospheric photos.
 Store-front Lanters
Store-front Lanters
The store-front lanterns are the trademark of Hanami-koji. At night time, these evenly spaced lights will begin to shine, beckoning you to take a photo of them all lined up down the street.
Also, during the month of July, there are also limited time only paper lanterns displayed at the stores for the Gion Matsuri Festival. These special lanterns feature unique Kanji designs, so if you see any of them, definitely take the opportunity to snap a picture.
The Zushi backstreets
The Zushi backstreets
If you take a step away from the main streets of Hanami-koji, you will be met by an even more charming traditional atmosphere. These small, twisting streets are called “Zushi” are feature a different charm from the regular alleyways you see.
How did you like this street? Hanami Koji Street in the night is a place where you can enjoy the town scape with traditional atmosphere, which cannot be seen in the daylight. Have a nice walk around here after enjoying the drink in Kyoto at night to cool down your tipsiness.

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