Ponto-cho

A district where you can experience an elegance only found in Kyoto
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Ponto-cho is located in the center of Kyoto. In the teahouses that occupy the townhouses there, you can see maiko and geisha. A highlight is the Kamogawa Odori performed by the geisha twice a year in spring and autumn.
Address
Pontocho, Kashiwayacho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto

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Ponto-cho where you can experience the Kyoto aesthetic

There is an unusual attraction which charms the hearts of people visiting Kyoto. When it comes to Kyoto, the many historical buildings which include the temples and shrines, and the local cuisine of Kyoto which is at the center of Japanese cooking are famous. On top of that, there is the attraction of the machiya townhouses with their calm and sophisticated atmosphere. Kyoto machiya are wooden houses of traditional construction which serve as residential/commercial space only found in this city. There have been various efforts in preserving this distinctly Kyoto scenery throughout the area, and Ponto-cho is that commercial district lined with Kyoto machiya. Ponto-cho, which is located in Nakagyo Ward of Kyoto, consists of very narrow stone-paved streets with restaurants, bars and establishments of long standing for geisha entertainment. The area goes alongside the Kamo River and there are machiya on both sides of the river which gives the entertainment quarter a quiet and graceful elegance. It can be enjoyed even during the day, but Ponto-cho is recommended especially at night. The scene of the machiya warmly illuminated by the soft lighting is quite the Kyoto-esque view. You may even meet up with maiko or geisha in their beautiful kimono. There are a lot of establishments which are hard to enter but since there are also very approachable restaurants and bars, please experience the atmosphere of Ponto-cho. In summer, the noryo yuka (a place to have a meal while enjoying the evening cool along a river) alongside the Kamo River is especially recommended.

The Kamogawa Odori held twice in spring and autumn

There is a huge building that stands out at the northern edge of Ponto-cho. This is the Ponto-cho Kaburen-jo Theater which was built in 1927. It is there that dancing performances are held, and you can enjoy the beautiful and brilliant dancing of the Kamogawa Odori which first began as a prayer for the prosperity of Kyoto. In addition, you can also attend a tea ceremony although prior reservations are necessary.

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Reviews

8 months ago
Great Night spot
Filled with bars and restaurants along a small river, a nice spot to explore the nightlife of Kyoto and spot a geisha.
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