Pontocho

Kyoto Things to See

Kyoto, Japan Apr. 13 Sat 9:22PM

16.4 / 61.5

Kyoto's Most Scenic Alley

Pontocho Alley has a lot of old-style Kyoto traditional flavor, both in atmosphere and in food. 

Pontocho is an alleyway that runs down Shijo Dori (4th Street) to Sanjo Dori (Third Street) along Kyoto's major downtown area by the Kamogawa River. The alleyway leads through Gion and some of Kyoto's most traditional establishments. It is considered by locals and travelers alike to be one of the most beautiful spots in the city. It is lined with traditional eateries and shops, and no cars, obstructions, or modern signage are allowed by zoning laws. For many, Pontocho is how they imagined Kyoto Japan would look, and it doesn't disappoint. 

Pontocho Alley 

In the early evening, it is not uncommon to see geisha heading to appointments for the evening. After dark, the alleyway is transformed into pure magic. Red lanterns and twinkling lights illuminate the alley, making the cobbled streets and traditional geisha houses look even more enchanting. Traditional eateries and pubs are Pontocho's claim to fame, and while many can seem intimidating, many also welcome foreigners and have English speaking staff and menus. 

Kawayuka along the Kamogawa

On the river side of the alley, restaurants overlooking the Kamogawa have outdoor dining during the warmer months, called kawayuka. The combination of traditional Kyoto cuisine, the sounds of the river, and the breeze are an unforgettable experience. 

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