10 Best Restaurants in Pontocho Alley Kyoto

Pontocho Kyoto Food & Drinks in Kyoto

In Kyoto, it’s quite difficult to choose a restaurant because there are many good restaurants.This time we would like to introduce Pontocho Alley, one of the best areas to eat out in Kyoto.

What’s so special about Pontocho?

Pontocho is located within Hanamachi district in Kyoto, known for being a home to many geiko houses and traditional tea houses. Geiko and Maiko are probably more known together as Geisha, but in Kyoto dialect they are called Geiko and Maiko.

Like Gion district, Pontocho is also famous for the well-preserved traditional architecture and entertainment. The name Pontocho is said to be a portmanteau of the Portuguese word ponte (bridge) and the Japanese word cho meaning town, block or street.

Pontocho Alley is one of the 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 lined with restaurants on both sides offering a wide range of dining options from inexpensive yakitori (chicken skewer) to traditional and modern Kyoto cuisine, international cuisine and highly exclusive establishments that require the right connections and a fat wallet. Most of the restaurants along the eastern side of the alley overlook Kamogawa River.

From May to the end of September, most of them have temporary platforms over the flowing water where people can dine out in the open air which is known as kawayuka.

Below, we are sharing our picks of 10 best restaurants in Pontocho Alley to have the most wonderful food experience.

10 Best Restaurants in Pontocho

1. Kyo no Yakinikudokoro “Hiro” Pontocho

Hiro is a Yakiniku restaurant serving only the best selected Wagyu beef. The restaurant is run by the famous beef shop in Kyoto and has several branches in central Kyoto including in Pontocho Alley. Chefs and waiters can speak English. You can enjoy authentic Japanese beef in here.

2. Yamatomi

Yamatomi is an authentic Kyoto cuisine restaurant, offering 100 or more kinds of a-la-carte dish from 500yen. The ingredients are fresh with many varieties such as seafood, shrimp, beef, vegetables, sausages. Yamatomi is the restaurant where tourists can also drop in casually.
This long-established restaurant have been serving locals and tourists for over 50 years. The specialties of this restaurant are Tetsu-pin-age (spitted cutlet),Yuba (soy milk skin), Tofu, Namafu (Raw wheat gluten) and Oden (Japanese pot).

  • Price : ¥2,000 ~ ¥5,000 per person
  • Open : 12pm – 2pm & 4pm – 11.30pm
  • Tel : 075-221-3268
  • Address : 226 Nabeyacho, Nakagyo-ku Kyoto
  • Website : http://www.kyoto-yamatomi.com/

3. Kushiemon

Kushiemon is one of the best located restaurants in the Pontocho area. It’s located on the second floor, so guests can see Kyoto’s main river Kamogawa while having a meal. You can enjoy kushikatu (deep fried seasonal food) and some side dishes.

  • Dinner : ¥3,000 ~ ¥5,000 per person
  • Open : Weekdays 3pm – 11pm
    Weekends & holidays 12pm – 11pm
  • Tel : 075-221-6477
  • Address : 227 Nabeya-cho, Pontocho-dori Shijo-agaru Higashi-gawa , Kyoto

4. Uryu Pontocho Hana

Uryu Pontocho Hana serves authentic Kyoto cuisine with finely selected ingredients. You can enjoy Hamo (dagger tooth pike conger) and puffer fish here. Hamo is Kyoto specialty and it’s a typical dish of Kyoto cuisine. Enjoy Kaiseki meal which is the Japanese course dishes in the elegant and historic dining space.

  • Lunch : ¥2,000 ~ ¥3,000 per person
  • Dinner : ¥6,000 ~ ¥12,000 per person
  • Open : 11am – 3pm & 4pm – 10pm
  • Tel : 075-252-1144
  • Address : 141 Wakamatsucho Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto
  • Website : http://c-and-d.net/uryu/

5. Ukiya pontocho

Ukiya is second to none for soba noodles which is the famed buckwheat noodles from Japan. Ukiya’s soba is freshly made by hand (teuchi) every morning. The signature dish at the restaurant is Uki Soba, a unique and original Soba dish which is served with whipped raw egg (namatamago) and natto! For another option, try Ukiten Soba, which is served with Tempura (‘ten’ in Ukiten means tempura). There are also Tempura dishes served with a bowl of rice, and Soba noodles with many other toppings! You can enjoy Kyoto’s specialty noodle here!

  • Lunch & dinner : ¥1,000 ~ ¥2,000 per person
  • Open : 11.30am – 4pm & 5pm – 8.30pm, closed on Mondays
  • Tel : 075-221-2978
  • Address : Ponto-cho Sanjo sagaru ishiyamachi 125, nakagyo-ku, Kyoto
  • Website : http://www.ukiya.co.jp/shop/ponto/

6. Pontocho Robin

Robin is a Japanese restaurant serving a la carte dishes and multi-course meals. The chefs use seasonal ingredients, and diners enjoy painstakingly prepared cuisine and Kyoto-brewed sake. Highly recommended dishes are the multi-course meals filled with the delicious and alluring Japanese cuisine including sashimi and grilled fish using fresh seafood, and assortments of beautifully colorful small dishes. A la carte items include meat dishes prepared with Japanese beef. This restaurant provides an atmosphere worthy of the city of Kyoto, with genuine Japanese cuisine. Diners in search of such a traditional place should definitely check out Pontocho Robin.

  • Lunch : ¥3,000 ~ ¥4,000 per person
  • dinner : ¥15,000 ~ ¥20,000 per person
  • Open : 11.30am – 2pm, 4.30pm – 11pm
  • Tel : 075-222-8200
  • Address : 137-4, Wakamatsucho, Nakagyo-ku Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
  • should try : Grilled Japanese Beef with Salt / ¥3,600 (+tax)
  • Website : http://www.robin-kyoto.com/

7. Gyukatsu Kyoto-Katsugyu (temporarily closed)

Kyoto Katsugyu is a franchised restaurant specialized in Gyukatsu dish (beef cutlet), and has numbers of branches across Japan. The shop uses carefully selected beef including Wagyu Beef, which is breaded and then deep-fried to be crispy outside and juicy inside. You can also pick a part of beef from rib, sirloin, fillet and tongue. Gyukatsu dishes are served with a bowl of rice, miso soup and condiments.

  • Price : ¥1,000 ~ ¥2,000 per person
  • Open : 11am – 10pm
  • Tel : 075-251-7888
  • Address : 188 Zaimokucho, Nakagyo-ku Kyoto
  • Website : http://katsugyu-kyoto.com/

8. Nagame Pontocho Hana

At Hana, you can enjoy authentic “Kaiseki” meal of Kyoto with a pleasant view of Kamogawa River. The chef presents his reliable cooking skills as well as his originality in dishes filled with the best ingredients of the season. You can choose from both a casual lunch set or full dinner course. They also offer a large selection of Sake which you should also check out. On the list, there are various kinds of locally brewed sake from Kyoto, mainly from Fushimi, which is Kyoto’s most well-known sake production area. A combination of Nagamegawa’s dishes and a glass of sake will make your dining even more memorable.

  • Lunch : ¥3,000 ~ ¥4,000 per person
  • Dinner : ¥5,000 ~ ¥8,000 per person
  • Open : 11.30am – 2pm & 5pm – 9pm
  • Tel : 075-255-5544
  • Address : 232-8 Nabeya-cho, Pontocho-dori Shijo-agaru Higashi-gawa (8th building), Kyoto
  • Website :http://c-and-d.net/nagame/

9. Yuzugen Pontocho

Yuzu is Japanese citrus which is commonly used for Japanese dishes and beloved by Japanese people. If you are curious about how Yuzu could be incorporated into a cuisine, Yuzugen doesn’t disappoint you! Yuzugen is the restaurant specialized in Yuzu, and serves various types of dishes using Yuzu such as hot pot dish, Gyoza, Ramen, etc. Yuzu Ramen is the most recommended menu there!

  • Price : ¥2,000 ~ ¥5,000 per person
  • Opening hours : Weekdays & holidays 5pm – 11pm
  • Weekends 11.30am – 3pm
  • Tel : 075-254-0806
  • Address : 212 Nabeyacho, Nakagyo-ku Kyoto

10. Yasube pontocho (Okonomiyaki)

Okonomiyaki is a Japanese savory pancake containing a variety of ingredients. The name is derived from the word okonomi, meaning “how you like” or “what you like”, and yaki meaning “grill” (cf. yakitori and yakisoba). Okonomiyaki is mainly associated with the Kansai or Hiroshima areas of Japan, but in Yasube Pontocho, you can enjoy it with Kyoto style. We recommend here when you get hungry after drinking!

  • Price : ¥1,500 ~ ¥3,000 per person
  • Opening hours : Weekdays 4.30pm – 11.30pm
    Weekends & holidays 3pm – 11.30pm
  • Tel : 075-221-2613
  • Address : 142 Umenokicho, Nakagyo-ku Kyoto

Recommended Pontocho Tours

If you wish to have an authentic food/drink experience in Kyoto, we highly recommend you to join a food tour which is becoming extremely popular among tourists today!

You can walk with local English speaking guides and they will show you some hidden spots where only locals would go. The knowledgeable guide will tell you some histories behind Kyoto and it will help you understand the city more and enjoy some delicious foods and drinks!

So much Fun! Thank you for showing us your beautiful city and the secret local spots to enjoy local food and drinks. We had a great time thank you Elie!

by Tour De Asia (06/06/19)

Tatsuya starts off with an introduction of Kyoto culture and some basic Japanese words we can use. We were introduced to hidden markets, bars and eating establishments that you would only know of from local knowledge. We fired so many random questions to Tachi about Japanese food, culture, lifestyle and words and he answered everything in his friendly, bubbly demeanour. He is a great guide that I wish I could bring along to every other city I visit in Japan.

by Robbie (12/20/18)

If you are interested in this tour, check out the link below and find more details!

▶ Kyoto Pontocho Backstreet Food and Drink Hopping Tour

You will get to know how locals actually enjoy their nights in Kyoto.

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Happy travelling!

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