Apr. 20, 2020 UPDATE
Story & Recommendation
Experience a mixture of traditional Kyoto, modern Japan, and neon signs in Ponto-cho geisha district
Ponto-cho is a famous Hanamachi geisha district in Kyoto, and continues from Shijo-dori to Sanjo-dori. There are really many small alleys even narrower than the main alley at Ponto-cho, some of them leading to the other side while others are dead ends. There are many good restaurants by the alley, some of them cheap yakitori places while others offer fine dining kaiseki experiences, while yet others offer karaoke and drinks served by attractive women.
Cute little lanterns
Ponto-cho is like going back in time to the Edo period at some places, but some places in the alley are almost futuristic in feel, or at least have a steampunk feel to them. Keep your eyes open when walking in the alley, since there are many small things like this cute little all around the place. There are even some Matryoshka dolls!
Ponto-cho at night
The alleys of Ponto-cho look completely different day and night. The neon sights light up and make the somewhat traditional atmosphere turn into a night when you wonder whether you have stumbled into the world of Blade Runner.
Go down an alley
When walking in Ponto-cho, you will notice there are many narrow alleys. So, of course those who want an adventure need to go down one! If you walk down an alley, you may find a great Japanese restaurant, a smoky bar, or a “snack-bar”, a kind of a nightclub for middle-aged and over gentlemen. And by the way, number 24 in the picture is a dead end.
Have a yuka dinner
Dining on a yuka wooden terrace at sunset is something every Kyoto fan needs to experience. The great food, good beer, and great atmosphere form a combination like no other. So go on, don a kimono or a yukata and enjoy some great food on a yukata! Or if you would so like, there is also a Starbucks with their own yuka where you can enjoy yuka on the cheap. Read more about yuka dining here: http://sharing-kyoto.com/Feature/yuka/