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Restaurant entrances along Pontocho
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Pontocho (l, Pontochō) is one of Kyoto's most atmospheric dining areas. It is a narrow alley running from Shijo-dori to Sanjo-dori, one block west of Kamogawa River. The alley is packed with restaurants on both sides offering a wide range of dining options from inexpensive yakitori to traditional and modern Kyoto cuisine, foreign cuisine and highly exclusive establishments that require the right connections and a fat wallet.

Business hours and closing days of the restaurants, bars and shops along Pontocho vary by establishment, but most places are usually open from around 17:00 to 23:00. Some also open for lunch. An increasing number of establishments offer English menus.

Most of the restaurants along the eastern side of the alley overlook Kamogawa River. From May to September, many of them build temporary platforms over the flowing water where patrons can dine out in the open air. Known as kawayuka, this type of dining was developed as a way to beat the summer heat and is a great way to try some traditional Kyoto cuisine while taking in the cooling effects of the flowing water and the lively summer atmosphere. Advance reservations for kawayuka are recommended especially on Fridays and Saturdays.

Kawayuka along Kamogawa River

Get There and Around

The closest bus stop to Pontocho is Shijo Kawaramachi, which is served by numerous bus lines, including lines 17 and 205 from Kyoto Station. The closest train stations are Kawaramachi Station on the Hankyu Line and Shijo Station on the Keihan Line.

How to get to and around Kyoto

Last updated: January 24, 2014
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Hotels around Kyoto

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Ryokan Hirashin

3min walk to Shijo Karasuma Sta. Spacious Japanese-style rooms. 140 years of history. Public baths renovated in 2006.


Ryokan Wakamiya

Inexpensive, cozy inn with helpful staff. 7 min walk from JR Kyoto Sta. Free Internet PC. Communal baths on top floor.


Hotel Sanoya

3 min from north exit of JR Kyoto Sta. but in quiet area. Cozy, clean Japanese rooms with bath. Internet PC in lobby.

Japan Guide Recommends:

Backpackers Hostel Ks House Kyoto

One of Kyoto's most popular hostels. A ten minute walk from Kyoto Station.

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Hotel Granvia Kyoto

Located inside Kyoto Station, this is Kyoto's most convenient 4-star hotel.

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Hyatt Regency Kyoto Hotel

Elegant luxury hotel located near Sanjusangendo Temple.

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Khaosan Kyoto Guest House

Cheap and popular hostel located in the heart of the city near Kawaramachi Station.

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New Miyako Hotel Kyoto

Reasonably priced 3-star hotel located just across the street from Kyoto Station.

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Royal Park Hotel The Kyoto

Modern hotel along Sanjo Street close to Pontocho and other dining options.

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