Kyoto Nightlife

Though Kyoto's nightlife is more sedate than Osaka's, the areas around the old geisha quarters downtown thrive with nightclubs and bars. The Kiyamachi area along the small canal near Ponto-cho in central Kyoto is packed full of bars, restaurants, and a few dance clubs and is as close to a consolidated nightlife area as you'll get in Kyoto. It's full of small watering holes with red lanterns (indicating

inexpensive places) or small neon signs in front. It's also fun to walk around the Gion in eastern Kyoto and Ponto-cho in central Kyoto to try to catch a glimpse of a geisha or maiko stealing down an alleyway on her way to or from an appointment.

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Kyoto Nightlife

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  • Bars/Pubs

This wood-paneled one-room izakaya pub doesn't look like much, but it regularly fills up with expats and locals. Visitors and regulars...

Bonds Rosary

  • Music Clubs

Performances almost nightly with Japanese and non-Japanese musicians. Seat charge is ¥600, but the cover charge changes with the acts.

Café Independants

  • Music Clubs

Trestle tables line the graffiti-covered walls of this basement café-bar that hosts indie rock, jazz, and blues musicians. It's a good...

Club Metro

  • Music Clubs

Popular Metro frequently hosts famous DJs from Tokyo and abroad. The range of music played—experimental dance, hip-hop, reggae, disco,...

Taku Taku

  • Music Clubs

An enduring live-music venue that generally presents rock and blues acts, Taku Taku occasionally hosts well-known Japanese performers.


  • Music Clubs

The atmosphere is very “New York experimental theater” at this multidisciplinary venue for music, dance, video, and other performances...


  • Bars/Pubs

An Israeli sake aficionado named Yoram stocks an extensive selection of the delicate rice wine, from unfiltered to aged, fruity to dry,...

Gael Irish Pub

  • Bars/Pubs

This pub entertains patrons with traditional music and sports on TV. If you want more than a drink, classic fish-and-chips, Irish stew,...


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