Sep. 04, 2019 UPDATE
Drinking and Walking through Kyoto Summer Nights
Part 1

Kiyamachi – A staple of any night out in Kyoto!

In this part, we’ll introduce you Kyoto’s most popular bar and club district, Kiyamachi.
Kiyamachi has got to be the most lively and most popular area to grab a drink in Japan’s ancient capital. This unsuspecting street of bars and clubs follows the Takasegawa River down from Nijo-dori Street to the south. The area between the streets of Shijo-dori and Sanjo-dori is always particularly hopping off and is packed to the brim with cafes, bars, snack bars, and restaurants serving food from all corners of the globe. During the day, Kiyamachi is just another quiet Kyoto street, but at night time, the shop signs and street lights turn on and wrap the area in a dream-like atmosphere.
Kiyamachi is fun even just for a stroll, so no matter what your plans are, head out and get a glimpse at a very different side of Kyoto!
Kiyamachi’s Atmosphere
Kiyamachi’s Atmosphere
The popping streets
Split straight down the middle by the Takasegawa River, the tree-lined streets of Kiyamachi come alive at night. Home to a huge variety of eaters, particularly bars, these streets seem like they are always popping off.
Clubs: Kitsune
Clubs: Kitsune
Club Kitsune is frequented by not only young Japanese locals but people from overseas too, making this a fun place to mix and mingle with people from all parts of the world.
Line up here before it’s opened and get a glimpse at the lively streets of Kiyamachi.
Chic Restaurants: Amore
Chic Restaurants: Amore
Along the Kamogawa and Takasegawa rivers, there are a plethora of Italian and Japanese restaurants. Among them there are even those that offer views of the rivers as well.
With a view of the beautiful cherry blossoms, Amore is beloved by both locals and those from overseas and is sure to be packed over the Spring.
Deep dives: Momiji
Deep dives: Momiji
Deep in the heart of Kiyamachi, Momiji is a drinking hole beloved by locals. Frequented by cool locals, Momiji offer cheap food and drinks served by friendly staff; truly an experience you’re not going to find at many hotels or high-class restaurants.
Sketchy Streets: 13 Ban Roji (Alleyway 13)
Sketchy Streets: 13 Ban Roji (Alleyway 13)
The alleyways that connect Kiyamachi and Pontocho are all numbered, but the one we recommend the most is alleyway thirteen, 13 Ban Roji.
When you first step foot down this sketchy alleyway, it might feel a little unsettlingly, but the restaurants and bars down here are all extremely unique and definitely worth the adventure.
Grabbing a drink in Kiyamachi!
Summer in Kyoto is plagued with humid and hot days; and what’s more perfect on an uncomfortably hot day than a nice cold beer?
Here is a list of our recommended spots to grab a pint!
Munchen
Munchen
The first place we stopped at on our round of Kiyamachi is Kyoto’s oldest “beer hole,” Muchen.
In addition to your standard beers, they also serve a range of different craft beers as well.
Muchen also serve their beers in different kinds of ice-cold steins, including thick glass steins, clay steins, and copper steins.
homemade seasoning
Made with homemade seasoning, the crunchy, juicy chicken breast Karaage fried chicken is one of the most popular items on the menu here. The potato chips made with homegrown potatoes and are crunchy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside.
Both go perfectly with the beer at Munchen, so are a definite must order.
Kokoro
Kokoro
Only a minutes’ walk from Munchen, our next stop is the local favorite and retro, Kokoro. Tachinomiya standing bars are usually quite cramped, but Kokoro is open and clean. They even have tables near the back too.
日本酒和燒酎吧
We had beer at Munchen, so at Kokoro, we went for Japanese sake and Shochu.
Kokoro stock a range of sake from both within Kyoto and around Japan. They offer a menu including stew, teppanyaki, and fried skewers, but they’re mainly known for their egg dishes!
BAR STAND
BAR STAND
At this point, we were officially sick of eating, but drinks, that was another story.
Back down 13 Ban Roji, we headed to BAR STAND.
With only nine seats
With only nine seats, this is a relatively small bar, but it has a wonderful chilled out and quiet vibe. The gin and tonic we got from the pro bartender was refreshing and just what we needed on a hot summer’s night!
Kyasa
Kyasa
Our final destination was Kyasa, a Tachinomiya standing bar packed to the brim with **the strong Japanese alcohol known as Shōchū**, tucked away down a little alleyway.
This bar also serves Obanzai side dishes and canned foods to go along with your drinks too.
The way you order
The way you order is by putting some cash in the little bowl in front of you and just saying what you want. Any change will be returned to the bowl, which lets you at a glance see how much you’re spending; a totally neat idea!
After making our way around four of Kiyamachi’s drinking holes on a hot summer’s night, we were officially feeling good and refreshed. Next time you’re in Kyoto, make sure to grab a friend, head out to lively Kiyamachi, and enjoy chatting with some locals over some nice and refreshing drinks
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