Pontocho Food Guide: Where and What to Eat in Pontocho Alley, Kyoto
Wondering where and what to eat in Pontocho Alley? In this post, we highlighted the Top 5 Best Eats in Pontocho Alley and where you can eat them.
Pontocho is a historic narrow alley located in the heart of Kyoto. It is one of Kyoto's most well-preserved traditional entertainment districts. Pontocho runs parallel to the Kamo River, stretching between the Sanjo and Shijo Streets in the city's central Nakagyo Ward.
Dining Scene in Pontocho
The dining scene in Pontocho Alley is renowned for its traditional Japanese cuisine, particularly kaiseki dining. Kaiseki is a multi-course meal that showcases the seasonality and artistry of Japanese culinary traditions. Many restaurants in Pontocho specialize in serving this exquisite dining experience.
Aside from kaiseki, Pontocho Alley also offers a range of other dining options. You can find izakayas, which are traditional Japanese pubs serving a variety of small dishes and drinks. These establishments often have a lively and convivial atmosphere, making them ideal for casual gatherings with friends or coworkers.
Additionally, there are several restaurants specializing in specific types of cuisine, such as sushi, tempura, or yakiniku (Japanese barbecue). These establishments allow you to indulge in specific culinary delights and savor the expertise of the chefs in their respective fields.
Restaurants in Pontocho Alley often have intimate and cozy settings, with traditional interiors featuring tatami mats, low tables, and sliding doors. These establishments provide a serene atmosphere where you can enjoy a leisurely meal while appreciating the ambiance and attention to detail.
Many of the restaurants in Pontocho are relatively small and exclusive, with limited seating. As a result, it is advisable to make reservations in advance, especially for popular establishments or during peak tourist seasons.
5 Best Eats in Pontocho Alley
Exploring the dining scene in Pontocho Alley provides an opportunity to savor the flavors of traditional Japanese cuisine in a historic and atmospheric setting. Whether you choose to indulge in kaiseki or try other specialties, Pontocho offers a culinary journey that showcases the best of Kyoto's gastronomic heritage. Here are the Top 5 Best Eats in Pontocho Alley:
1. Wagyu Beef at Kyo-no-Yakiniku-Dokoro Hiro Pontocho
This yakiniku restaurant serves one of the best Waygu beef in town. Ran by a popular beef shop in Kyoto, Hiro has several branches across Kyoto.
Price: From 5,000 yen
Hours: 5:00 pm to 12 midnight
Location: 176, Zaimoku-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
ALSO READ: 5 Best Buffet Restaurants in Kyoto
2. Oden (Hotpot) at Yamatomi
Serving more than 100 kinds of dishes for 500 yen, from fresh vegetables to sausages to seafood and red meat, Yamatomi makes for one of the best eats in Pontocho. Oden is a must-try here.
Price: From 500 yen
Hours: 12:00 noon to 11:00 pm
Location: 226 Nabeya-cho, Nakagyo-ku Kyoto
ALSO READ: 5 Best Michelin Restaurants in Kyoto
3. Kamameshi at Yoshiya
One of Kyoto’s most famous kappo (a traditional way of dining where you see the chefs prepare your food), Yoshiya serves a wide variety of dishes such as sashimi, tempura, and stewed dishes. But one of their specialties is kamameshi, a rice pilaf seasoned with many ingredients like mushrooms and oysters.
Price: From 8,000 yen
Hours: 5:00 pm to 11:00 pm
Location: 188, Zaimoku-cho Pontochodori Sanjo-Sagaru, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto
4. Seafood at Robin
Set in a renovated 150-year-old machiya (a traditional wooden townhouse), open-air dining at Robin facing Kamogawa River is one of a kind. This restaurant serves a variety of seafood dishes, from grilled fish and stewed red snapper to sashimi and tempura.
Price: From 3,000 yen
Hours: 5:00 pm to 11:30 pm
Location: 137-4 Wakamatsucho, Pontocho-dori, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto
5. Soba at Ukiya Pontocho
For anything soba (buckwheat noodles), Ukiya is the first name that comes to mind. They serve soba noodles freshly made by hand every morning! Try their Uki Soba, which is served with whipped raw egg and natto.
Price: From 1,000 yen
Hours: 11:30 am to 5:30 pm (closed on Monday)
Location: Ponto-cho Sanjo sagaru ishiyamachi 125, nakagyo-ku, Kyoto
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