An Insider’s Guide to the Best of Kyoto Nightlife

Kyoto is famous for its Zen Buddhist temples, gardens, and shrines, but its nightlife shouldn’t be overlooked, with karaoke, bright lights and endless options for food. Our insider, Teagan, shares her tips for a great night out.


Pontocho Alley, Kyoto Photo © iStock/repistu

Bars and Clubs in Kyoto

Pig and Whistle

If you're looking for a more relaxed evening, Pig and Whistle is the place to go. This British pub has a good selection of drinks and food, and it’s a friendly place to meet the locals and other international travellers. 

Kitsune Nightclub

If you’re up for a crazy night out, head to Kitsune nightclub. Upon arrival, you'll be welcomed with a free drink, but from then on, be prepared for some wacky Japanese entertainment and plenty of glow sticks.

The club is open every day of the week, including Sunday nights.


For a more chilled out vibe, head to Jittoku, located in an old sake brewery.

The Japanese call Jittoku a live-house; featuring many live music acts ranging from rock, blues, Japanese pop, Irish fiddle, electronica, and more.

Places to Eat in Kyoto

Sushi Train

Kyoto is home to many cheap and delicious sushi trains. Kappa Sushi offers a wide variety and great prices, but for authentic handmade sushi, Musashi Sushi is a great spot to eat. There are hundreds of cheap sushi trains to explore, so don’t be afraid to try as many as possible. 

Fire Ramen

Menbakaichidai Fire Ramen Restaurant in Kyoto is a great experience; the staff are very welcoming and will encourage tourists to come into their restaurant as you walk by.

Dinner hours can get busy for them, so it’s best to avoid the 6pm-8pm rush.

Pontocho Alley

Pontocho is a narrow alley packed with restaurants, with a wide range of options for dining – including traditional Kyoto cuisine.

The atmosphere of this area is worth checking out, whether you're looking for a proper meal or just a place to relax and have a drink. 


There are plenty of market-style stores and food venues to choose from at Shinkyogoku shopping arcade. You could spend hours exploring this area if this is your thing.

Gear Kyoto 

Gear Kyoto is a non-verbal performance, so both locals and international visitors can enjoy the show. The show involves magic, dance, comedy and mime.

If you're interested in the theatre and have a spare night in Kyoto, Gear is definitely worth checking out. 

Round 1 

Round 1 is a multi-story amusement centre. You can rent a private karaoke booth, enjoy hours of bowling, play arcade games, hop into a photo booth, and check out Las Vegas-style gambling. Even if you’re not interested in doing any of these things, it’s worth visiting the venue just to check it out. 

Going to Kyoto?

Want to discover the best outdoor activities, street food and places to go hiking?
Get our FREE Japan Survival Guide to find out how!

Related articles

Travel Insurance

Simple and flexible travel insurance

You can buy at home or while traveling, and claim online from anywhere in the world. With 150+ adventure activities covered and 24/7 emergency assistance.

Get a quote

No Comments

Add a Comment

Latest articles