The Kamogawa is a nice river that runs north-south through central Kyoto. Along the banks the city has created an excellent cycling/pedestrian path that provides a great, tree-lined way of traversing the city by bicycle.
On the west bank of the river as you near central Kyoto you notice a long line of multi-story, older looking buildings facing the river:This is the Pontocho area, an alley running next to the river which houses many of the most exclusive entertainment establishments in town. At night they light up and you can see the goings on within from a bridge crossing the river:
These places are way more than our budget would allow for, so we didn't venture in. If you venture a further block away from the river though you'll find one of the better cherry blossom viewing places in Kyoto along a small canal that runs parallel to Pontocho:
Some of the shops are interesting, like this one with a giant lantern (called "red mustache", note the illustration on the top):
There are some quirky shops and restaurants along this street which are much less upscale than the ones on neighboring Pontocho.
For reasons which are not entirely clear to me, a lot of Kyoto's pornography stores also line this street, a fact that we found amusing as the tourist brochures carefully crop them out of the photos.
Kyoto's Kabuki theatre is also nearby, albeit on the opposite bank of the Kamo river:
Its got a bit of class to it, though unless you are planning on seeing a Kabuki play I wouldn't recommend tracking it down just for the sake of seeing the building.
To be continued...
- Kyoto the Trip! Part 1 - Tofukuji and Sanjusangendo
- Kyoto the Trip! Part 2 - Kiyomizu Temple and Maruyama Koen
- Kyoto the Trip! Part 3 - Ryoanji and Ninnaji
- Kyoto the Trip! Part 4 - Shopping Arcades by Night
- Kyoto the Trip! Part 5 - Antiquing Kyoto Style
- Kyoto the Trip! Part 6 - Cute Buddhist Statues
- Kyoto the Trip! Part 7 - Ohara and the Wrath of Mount Hiei
- Kyoto the Trip! Part 8 - Kyoto Station vs. Kyoto Tower
- Kyoto the Trip! Part 9 - Japanese Tourism and the Earthquake