Ponto-cho   先斗町

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The Ponto-cho alley neighborhood.

Open at night

To the west of the Kamo River on one side and the Takasegawa canal on the other, this area of recklessness, of misty wanderings awakens at the end of the day and lingers on to the other side of midnight. Along the edge of the river, the terraces of restaurants, lit with lanterns, are crowded on sunny days. An open-air café thrives along the shore.  Where cuisine is concerned, here you will find the best and the worst. A spot not to be missed.

A rival of Gion , Ponto-cho was long known in the archipelago for its ochaya (teahouses) where geiko (geisha in Kyoto) and maïko (apprentice geisha) exercised their talents. Ponto-cho dori, the street of wooden houses, has crystallized the memory of this "floating world," as it is called in Japanese. Today, behind shoji (sliding paper doors or windows), the elegance of yesteryear has been replaced by bar owners, stalls and izakaya (tapas bistros in a Japanese style) to the delight of nightowls looking for the perfect escape.

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