'Kawadoko' Dining on Kamogawa Riverside
Summers in Kyoto can be testing with heat and humidity often comfortably high. This often takes visitors by surprise who flock to the city from July to September only to discover that Kyoto can be hotbox and walking from temple-to-temple can be a challenge. Anyone looking for an escape from the heat might consider heading to the banks of Kamogawa (Kamo River) to enjoy ‘kawadoko’ dining on the long row of restaurants facing onto the river.
Extending from Nijo-dori and Gojo Ohashi Bridge (and easily accessible from Gion-Shijo Station), raised platforms are put in place from May to September on which diners can enjoy a meal and drink outside, cooled by the air moving off the river and up and around the platforms.
Most are open for both lunch and dinner with the evening being by far the most popular time to enjoy kawadoko dining. Restaurants of course serve plenty of Japanese but you’ll also find international cuisine including Thai, Italian and more. To access the platforms, walk north from Nijo-dori along the narrow Ponto-cho alleyway. You’ll be amazed the most restaurant entrances on the narrow lane take you through to the open-air dining of the river – one of Kyoto’s best summer experiences!
Operating times vary by restaurant with some opening for lunch as early as 11AM while other operate only for dinner from around 6PM. Most restaurants stay open until around midnight or as late as 2AM
Open daily from May to September
Prices vary by restaurant
From Kyoto Station, take Kyoto City Bus No.104 and disembark at the Shijo Kawaramachi bus stop - 15 minutes / JPY230. Alternatively it's a 5 minute walk from Gion-Shijo Station or 35 minute walk from Kyoto Station. The restaurants are accessed via the narrow Ponto-cho laneway running north of Shijo-dori and parallel with the river