Pontocho is a historical geisha district located in Kyoto, japan. This district is known for its atmospheric entertainment, riverside dining, and vibrant nightlife. It is a place that mostly sleeps by day and comes alive at night, with an array of bars and restaurants that attract both gourmands and culture fans. Pontocho is also accessible and welcoming to foreign guests, with many establishments offering services in English and other languages.

The origins of Pontocho as an entertainment district date back to 1670. It is said that the highly stylized performance art of Kabuki originated here, although the closest theater is Minamiza. The district is a special preservation area, filled with elegant and understated traditional wooden buildings. These buildings are adorned with red lanterns bearing the district’s emblem of a white plover. As visitors wander through the narrow lanes of Pontocho, they may even spot a geisha on her way to an appointment.

One of the highlights of Pontocho is the annual Kamogawa Odori dances, which take place at the Pontocho Kaburenjo Theater every May. These dances feature the district’s geisha and maiko apprentices, who perform in lavish costumes. It is a wonderful opportunity to experience the traditional arts and culture of Kyoto.

Another attraction of Pontocho is its riverside dining experience. During the summer, platforms called yuka are built next to the Kamo River, providing a unique dining experience. Visitors can sit out on these platforms and enjoy a meal while feeling the cool breeze from the river. There are various types of cuisine available, including Kyoto kaiseki, sumibiyaki and yakitori, sushi, tempura, Italian, French, and Asian. With close to 100 of these platforms set up each summer, it is advisable to make reservations in advance due to their popularity among locals and tourists.

In terms of accessibility, Pontocho is easily reachable from Kyoto Station. Visitors can take buses 4, 5, 17, or 205 to the Shijo Kawaramachi stop and then take a short walk. The nearest train stations are Sanjo Keihan, Gion Shijo on the Keihan Line, and Kyoto Kawaramachi Station on the Hankyu Line. Whether by train or bus, getting to Pontocho is convenient for tourists.

Despite being a geisha district, Pontocho is not limited to high-end restaurants. There are many accessible and reasonably priced dining options available. Visitors can enjoy a meal at one of the traditional restaurants or try out local delicacies at the street food stalls. Pontocho offers a diverse culinary experience that caters to different tastes and budgets.

Overall, Pontocho is a must-visit destination in Kyoto for those seeking atmospheric entertainment, riverside dining, and a taste of traditional Japanese culture. With its historical charm, vibrant nightlife, and welcoming atmosphere, Pontocho offers a unique and memorable experience for both locals and tourists alike. Whether you are interested in exploring the geisha culture, indulging in delicious food, or simply enjoying the ambiance of this historical district, Pontocho has something for everyone.

Address And Maps Location:

Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto-fu

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