Pontocho dining

Pontocho is a testament to Kyoto’s ability to preserve tradition while embracing modernity. It offers a unique glimpse into Japan’s past and present. Whether you are interested in history, dining, or entertainment, Pontocho has something to offer.


Pontocho, Kyoto, stands as a captivating alleyway, rich in culture and history. This narrow street runs parallel to the Kamo River. It is famous for its traditional dining and entertainment options. Pontocho is a must-visit for anyone exploring Kyoto.

History and Charm

Pontocho’s origins trace back to the Edo period. It has always been a geisha district. Today, it beautifully preserves its historical ambiance. The area is known for its well-preserved wooden machiya houses. These houses add to the area’s traditional charm.

Dining Experience

Pontocho is renowned for its dining scene. Visitors can find a wide range of eateries. These range from traditional tea houses to modern restaurants. Many places offer dining with views of the Kamo River. This is especially popular during the summer months. Diners can enjoy meals on platforms built over the river.

Geisha Culture

Pontocho remains one of Kyoto’s active geisha districts. Visitors might catch a glimpse of a geiko or maiko. They often move between engagements in the evenings. Experiencing a dinner with geisha entertainment is possible. However, it usually requires a prior arrangement through a concierge.

Nightlife and Activities

After sunset, Pontocho transforms. It becomes a lively spot for nightlife. Bars and pubs open their doors to both locals and tourists. The area offers a mix of traditional and modern entertainment. Live jazz performances and modern clubs can be found alongside traditional tea houses.

Access and Best Times to Visit

Pontocho is easily accessible from Kyoto’s city center. The closest subway station is Kawaramachi Station. The best times to visit are in the spring and autumn. These seasons offer pleasant weather and beautiful scenery. Summer evenings are also popular for riverside dining.


  • Try kaiseki dining: Experience traditional multi-course Japanese dining.
  • Visit in the evening: Enjoy the atmospheric lighting and vibrant nightlife.
  • Explore side alleys: Discover hidden gems away from the main path.

Pontocho tours

If you are in the Pontocho area and don’t know where to visit or which restaurant or bar to go into, I suggest you take a tour. For example, Kyoto Night Foodie Tour gives you an opportunity to visit Gion and Pontocho area. You can taste Japanese foods and sake. Price is reasonable considering that it includes the dinner.