Do you know where the Pontocho alley is?
Poncocho alley is running between Shijo-dori and Sanjo-dori near Kamogawa River in Gion area.
This narrow alley is lined with many traditional restaurants and bars.
I love walking around this alley especially at night.The red lanterns lit creates nostalgic atmosphere.
It is picturesque alley along the river that worth the trip itself.
There are many good restaurants where you can enjoy great dishes in a traditional Japanese atmosphere.
I’m happy to share with you Top 5 best restaurants around Pontocho alley in Kyoto.
Local tells Top 5 best restaurants around Pontocho in Kyoto!
1.Yoshiya/余志屋Yoshiya is one of the most popular kappo(a traditional Japanese cuisine)restaurants which is located on ponto alley in Kyoto.
This restaurant is a hidden gem among locals.
The chef and his wife will be happy to welcome you with a smile.Their personality is one of the reason to attract regular customers.
They offer a wide variety of dishes including sashimi,tempura,stewed dishes.
There are dinner courses from 8,000 yen and each item is beautifully presented one by one.
One of their specialty is “kamameshi” which is Japanese rice pilaf using plenty of seasonable ingredients such as mushrooms or oysters.
It tastes amazing with a full of flavor.
This restaurant is very popular among locals, so you have to make a reservation at least one month before in advance.
I highly recommend this restaurant for those who want to have great dishes in a relaxed atmosphere.
2.Pontocho Fujita/先斗町 ふじ田Pontocho Fujita is a family run Kyo-kaiseki restaurant which is conveniently located in front of Pontocho Kaburenjo.
They offer authentic Kyo-kaiseki cuisine using seasonable ingredients such as hamo dish(pike conger) in summer, fugu dish(puffer fish) in winter.
The ingredients are carefully selected by chef,and each item is beautifully decorated like an art.
It is not only delicious but also beautiful to the eye.
The chef present the dishes one by one and explain each dish in English.
The recommended item is “a duck breast”.
They prepare hot stone for the customers so that they can cook their meal exactly as they like,then you can wrap them in yuba(tofu skin) with a shiso leaf and enjoy every last bite as hot and delicious!
As it is located in front of Pontocho Kaburenjo Theater,You might see Maiko-san(apprentice geisha) during the Kamogawa odori season in May.
3.Izumoya Ponto-cho/いづもやEstablished in 1916, Izumoya is an esteemed unagi and kaiseki (seasonal set course meals) restaurant located in the prime location of Ponto-cho, which is a small alley that runs along Kamogawa-river.
Unadon which starts at ¥1,800 and unajyu which starts at ¥1,800 are some of their popular items.
During summer (from May 1 to September 30), the restaurant sets up a wooden platform overlooking Kamogawa-river, called Nouryou-yuka.
On the platform, you can enjoy a beautiful lunch set or a dinner kaiseki, which include unagi.
It cannot really get more “Japanese summer” than this!
You can experience the cool breeze from the river, and enjoy beautiful dishes.
This place is also extremely popular for foreign tourists given its location and setting.
Izumoya is located on the Ponto-cho ally just off the Shijo-ohashi bridge.
You won’t miss it.
4.Robin/魯ビンRobin is a Japanese restaurant renovated 150-year-old town house called “machiya” in Kyoto.
They offer a wide variety of dishes including sashimi and grilled fish,seared wagyu beef,tempura,and stewed red snapper etc.
The ingredients are carefully selected by chef.
There are Kawayuka terrace seats on the first floor,and table seats on the second floor.
Kawayuka is a open-air dining areas created on the river surface which is available during summer from May to September.
Since it is created on the river, it is cool even in summer,and you can enjoy the beautiful view of Kamogawa river while eating your meal.
English menu is available.
5.Yoshina/四季 よしなYoshina is a traditional Kyoto kaiseki restaurant which was converted from one of the tea houses in Kyoto.
Yoshina was introduced on TV and magazine many times.
They offer a wide variety dishes including sashimi,wagyu beef steak,mackerel sushi,and there are some unique dishes that you can only eat here.
The menu changes every month with the season.
In summer you can enjoy hamo dishes(pike conger),salt-grilled sweet fish and in winter, you can enjoy fugu(puffer fish),and crab dishes.
The recommended dish is “Omakase course” consisting of 8 items using seasonable ingredients on the chef’s selection of the day at 5,650 yen(including tax)
The price is reasonable compare to the other restaurants above.
They also offer Kawayuka between May and September, you can enjoy delicious meal overlooking the Kamo river.
There is also Maiko plan(apprentice of Geisha)available for 4 people or more.
The price and the time are different depending on the date, so please call the in advance for more details.
I hope you enjoy the dishes in a traditional Japanese atmosphere!
If you want to explore the back-streets of Gion and Ponto-cho, Try Kyoto Bar Hopping Food Tour with MagicalTrip.
They will help you navigate through hidden izakaya bars in the backstreets that hard to find and enjoy various types of Kyoto local food and drinks!
If you’re looking for unique activities and experiences in Kyoto,you can find them here:
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Top 5 best Kaiseki in Kyoto!Enjoy Japan’s traditional meal!