Pontocho is a delightful neighborhood in Kyoto (Japan), a city absolutely packed with charming districts and corners. In actuality Pontocho is little more than a long, narrow street west of River Kamogawa and a few alleys that criss-cross it at different points.
The place is renowned for being one of the handful of districts in Kyoto were geisha live and can be seen walking around in full attire as they go about their daily tasks. Because my visit to Kyoto was a little over 48 hours, I could only visit Pontocho for about two hours overall, one in the daytime and one in the evening.
I found both times of the day interesting and well worth experiencing, but nighttime would be my choice for the soothing, evocative atmosphere created by dozens of lanterns and signs at the entrance of the numerous restaurants in the area. If you find Japanese characters and symbols as mesmerizing as I do, you’ll be taking pictures every few steps.
Many of the restaurants with an entrance on the east side of the street have nice terraces overlooking River Kamogawa, so it’s a great place to chill and grab a bite in the evening. Otherwise, there is a promenade that runs down by the river where people go for a walk to enjoy the fresh air of the evening.
The restaurant in the photo caught my eye because of its many lamps and large windows that provided a glimpse of the kitchen, at bottom left, and the dining room, on the first floor. It is a complex image with many details, and you probably won’t be able to make them out on a small screen, but I still think the photo kind of works at this size, atmosphere-wise. It’s almost like capturing a slice of life in that resturant at that particular moment.
What do you think? As ever, don’t hesitate to leave your comments or questions!