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Updated by Joanna James on May 02, 2024
Headline for 5 Things to do in Kyoto at night
Joanna James Joanna James
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5 Things to do in Kyoto at night

A vibrantly atmospheric city imbued with old-world glamour and bizarre cultural experiences, Japan's historic hub is never more fascinating than after the sunsets. Here are some unconventional pastimes you can only find in this Sakura-scented dreamland.


Unwind by the Kamogawa

From featuring one of the most beautiful avenues in all of Asia with backlit cherry blossoms spilling into the Shirakawa canal and where dancing in the rain seems a rational course of action to showcasing unique handicrafts on entire streets, Kyoto offers endless scope for lovers of the uniquely beautiful and slightly eccentric. After roaming the timeless streets of the Gion district filled with bittersweet dregs of old-time Japan evident in its classic architecture and dream-like alleyways, wind down on the grassy knolls by the Kamo River, drinking in the sights and sounds there. Following your jam-packed day's itinerary, which might involve trekking up the Narabigaoka hills for an eyeful of spectacular panoramas, roaming around the Imperial Palace, or following the lush Wazuka tea trails, this is the perfect serene spot to gush about your eventful 24-hours.


Wander the dreamy alleyways

The alleys of Kyoto at dusk are whimsical as opposed to creepy, rich with the echoes of a vibrant and turbulent past, full of the character and mystery that has been preserved despite modern conveniences. Lit by the inviting glow of Japanese lanterns, the Pontocho Alley is full of nostalgic magic, hosting enchanting tea houses, tiny traditional shops, and small eateries, all cast into a romantic glow by the lingering proofs of its nuanced pre-war history.


Parade in 'Antique' Kimonos

As the formal Imperial Capital of Japan, it doesn't much to feel like royalty as you stroll down the storybook streets offering uninterrupted scenic hideaways for the avid Instagrammer. For a truly transporting experience, grab a prettily patterned second-hand kimono off the outdoor racks at Maiko Antiques on Yasaka Dori, and get your cameras flashing as you pirouette in your borrowed finery! If you are in the mood to peruse a rare traditional art form with a wicked sense of humour thrown in, stop at the Ukiyoe Small Museum just around the corner, recognizable by a woodblock painted sign likely to make you grin (and make sure it's not too late)! If you're looking for well-heeled contemporary Kyoto serviced apartments located in the heart of this bustling traditional city, venture no further than Citadines Karasuma-Gojo Kyoto.


Taste the drastically delicious

Kyoto is iconic for its guided night-time foodie tours, and if you fancy being whisked away to spend all night delighting (and sometimes befuddling) your tastebuds, this is an addictive attraction not to be missed! Whether it's contemplating the marvels of life while sipping 'cloud coffee', trying out egg-and-octopus lollipops slathered in spicily sweet sauce, or feasting on (very realistic) gem-studded dishes bearing names like 'Amethyst Pannacotta' and 'Black Meteorite Curry', your dinner plans in Kyoto will be nothing short of adventurous! Even the Kyoto Starbucks, located in a century-old wooden merchant's house (machiya) has a distinctly old-world flavour, and Nishiki Market is an essential stop for both wild and traditional delicacies, including sashimi popsicles, candied kumquats, and soy donuts.


Climb the Kyoto Station roof

Yet another offbeat allurement to be savoured in this epic hub is found atop the state-of-the-art Kyoto Station, which sports a windswept skyway affording blazing city views and a multi-coloured LED light show! Not only is this relatively non-touristy spot both peaceful and Insta-worthy, but you'll also feel the indescribable thrill of 'floating' into the city's beautiful skyline.

  • A true believer that the pen is a mighty weapon, ventures into reaching the minds of every reader with the earnest hope of leaving an indelible stream of thought.

    A travel writer who has a passion for fashion and a deep interest in admiring new and exotic attractions around the world.

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