Kyoto might not look like a great spot for partying compared to a big city like Tokyo. But there are other attractive ways to enjoy the nightlife there! In this article, we will introduce how to enjoy Kyoto at night. Let’s discover some different aspects of the city from daytime.
- Kyoto Night Sightseeing Spots
- Kyoto Night Activities
- Kyoto Night Shows
- Kyoto Night Clubs and Bars
- Map of the night spots
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Kyoto Night Sightseeing Spots
Arashiyama Kimono Forest
Arashiyama is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Kyoto with a bamboo forest, mountains and the beautiful Togetsu bridge across the Katsura River.
Here you can see 600 pillars that are made of traditional Yuzen dyeing textile lining up on the street. During the night time, the pillars are illuminated and you can enjoy a beautiful and dreamy atmosphere. With its instagramable scenery, it’s one of the best places to take a great picture at night!
Pontocho and Gion (Geisha District)
In Kyoto, there are currently five active Geisha districts. Pontocho and Gion districts are the two most popular ones and if you are lucky, you might be able to see some Geisha walking on the street! Enjoy strolling around lovely narrow streets among the small restaurants and shops. It almost feels like getting lost in the old times.
Recommended: The History of Geisha: What are Geisha and where are they today
During the summer season, you can see many people sitting along the riverbank and spending some time just relaxing. Fun fact: this is known as a popular date spot for the local couples and they always sit a certain distance apart. It is very interesting to look at as it comes to the Japanese culture of respecting other people’s space! It is also a good place to enjoy some beer with a good breeze.
In summer, the riverside becomes extra busy because of kawadoko, which is commonly referred to as yuka in Kyoto. Kawadoko are decks set up along the Kamo river as well as other rivers in Kyoto. They are set up with the purpose of cooling down in the hot summers, thanks to the cooling breeze and passing river below. These kawadoko are symbolic features of Kyoto. Every year, the opening ceremony is held on May 25th,and it is a popular event with the maiko and geiko (In Kyoto, geisha is preferably called geiko) attending to celebrate.
Kyoto Night Activities
Tea Ceremony Experience
If you are interested in tea ceremonies, you can learn how to make matcha green tea in the traditional way at the tea ceremony experience. Also you can learn Japanese culture and manners for the ceremony. Spend some Zen time at night through this experience!
En Tea Ceremony Kyoto
¥2,500 per person
Join Local Bar Hopping Tour
Pontocho is the best drinking area in Kyoto where you can find some unique and cultural places. But many of them are hidden, and sometimes it’s difficult to tell if you can enter or not and feel left out among the regulars. To be sure that you can get a satisfying experience at bars and get mingled with locals, how about taking a guided tour? In our bar hopping tours, a friendly guide will tell you some tips to enjoy the night time in Kyoto and will take you to their favorite places that you will never find otherwise. You can learn about Japanese sake and drinking culture as well as the history of the area itself.
Kyoto Pontocho Backstreet Food and Bar Hopping tour
5.45pm – 8.45pm
¥13,000 per person
Kyoto Night Shows
First of its kind in Japan, GEAR is a unique non-verbal performance. Their performance will touch all of your senses! Stage set is a great mixture of the latest and traditional technologies used in kabuki plays. It will be an unforgettable theatrical experience!
¥4,200 yen per person, reservation recommended.
Kyoto Dinner with Maiko Performance
This Ryokan Hatanaka, a Japanese traditional style hotel, has dinner events with Maiko performances at night. You can play some games with Maiko and get to see their traditional dance. Usually most of the places where you can see their performance have strict rules and are hard to get in, especially for tourists. But this place conveniently offers tourists to enjoy Maiko performances during your stay! If you are interested in some unique and traditional Japanese drinking culture, we highly recommend you to get tickets for the show beforehand.
Maiko dinner show (currently unavailable)
¥19,000 yen (including drinks), reservation recommended.
Kyoto Night Clubs and Bars
Kyoto Tower Sky Lounge (Bar)
It is rare to find tall buildings in Kyoto because there is a height restriction for buildings.
But at this sky bar, you can enjoy the beautiful night view with drinks!
Sky lounge at Kyoto Tower Hotel
3pm – 11pm
in the Moon (Bar)
It’s a rooftop bar that is located in the central Kyoto area. This is a great spot for watching the sunset as well, so head to this bar in the late afternoon to catch the stunning view!
in the Moon
5pm – 11.30pm
World Kyoto (Night Club)
This is the biggest night club in Tokyo that invites DJs from all over the world. It is mainly focused on techno, house and electronica and the four story building can be divided into several rooms focusing on different genres.
Even if the music is not your thing, it is a great place for grabbing some drinks on the weekend and you can party with locals!
Mon-Thu, Sun from 9pm – 3am, Fri-Sat 9pm – 5am
Kitsune (Night Club)
Opened in 2015, Kitsune Kyoto has the 800 pax capacity, boosts a festival atmosphere with a top-notch sound system and dazzling lights. They have two themed floors; “land” and “sea”. They often have some famous DJ or artist for the weekend.
Mon-Thu, Sun from 10pm – 4am, Fri-Sat 10pm – 5am
Kyoto’s club culture arguably began here in Marutamachi venue in 1990. Metro always has international DJs on the list and they occasionally host some live concerts. Their capacity is around 250 people, so you can also experience some more intimate performances.
Map of the night spots
We hope this article helped you find some fun things to do at night in Kyoto!