12 Things To Do In Kyoto, Japan At Night - Updated 2021

things to do in kyoto at night

Formally Japan’s capital city, Kyoto is best known for its beautiful Buddhist temples. This unique city is located on Honshu island. Almost all temples in this majestic city feature mesmerizing views that will always make a memorable impression on you. It is also home to the golden colored Kinkaku-ij temple, the Shinto shrine which has framed gates, the Arashiyama bamboo forest that is home to various monkey species, and the historic Kiyomizi temple blessed with captivating views. If you are looking to learn more about Japanese culture, then Kyoto is the place to be. Come and get to know about these amazing and recommended things to do while visiting Kyoto, Japan at night.

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1. Enjoy the night view at the Kyoto Tower

Kyoto Tower at dusk, from railway station
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Rwendland used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Located near the JR Kyoto stadium, Kyoto Tower is a popular landmark for local and international tourists. If you are not afraid of heights and want to experience an exhilarating and spectacular view of the city, then this is the place to be. Enjoy a spectacular bird’s view from the observation deck. Apart from the magnificent view, the Kyoto tower also hosts the SANDO which is a commercial center complete with a number of shops and restaurants you can visit to sample the flavorsome local cuisines. Enjoy sipping your drinks in the evening and watch how the city gradually lights up one region after the other.

2. Wander through the Gion District

gion district
Source: Photo by Flickr user David Offf used under CC BY 2.0

As daylight fades away, watch as Kyoto nightlife becomes even more and more lively. Wander through the Gion district as you explore the wonderful spots that come to life. Stretching from the Kamo-gawa river all the way to Yasaka-juja shrine, this popular entertainment district has a number of restaurants, pubs and traditional teahouses. The best time to visit Gion is during the evening hours, for this is when you will get to see the beauty of this amazing district blossom. As the sunset and the beautiful lanterns are lit, the district ushers in an exciting and vibrant nightlife.

Go on a Gion Night Walk, Kyoto

Take a walk through the famous Gion district. Learn about the world of the geisha, visit places with a special nighttime atmosphere and learn about the customs of nightlife in Japan in days new and old.

3. View illuminated cherry blossoms at Kyomizu Shrine

Spring Lightup Of Cherry Blossoms At Kiyomizu Temple
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Mark Bucayan used under CC BY 3.0

Enjoy the spectacular view of the city as it glows up to a breathtaking light show that creates an illusion of a lake of lights twinkling from the horizon. The best time to visit this amazing temple are during summer, spring, and autumn seasons when the night viewing events are held. This is also when the temple is illuminated by a burst of blue light that can be seen from miles away. The Temple’s main hall is lit up with gentle light emanating the perfect and relaxing ambiance. In autumn, the orange leaves are illuminated giving you a spectacular heavenly view.

4. Go bar-hopping in Pontocho

Pontocho by night
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ilpo's Sojourn used under CC BY 2.0

If you are a party animal and love the nightlife, then you have to experience an amazing time bar-hopping in Pontocho. As you sample the drinks and snacks in each restaurant you visit, blend in with the locals enjoying the amazing and hyped up atmosphere and music. Visit the popular bars around and make new friends. Sample the services and cuisines served in each bar you happen to find as you explore the exciting nightlife of Kyoto.

5. Enjoy a Geisha performance at Yasaka Hall in Gion

Yasaka Main Hall
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user MShades used under CC BY 2.0

There is nothing more spectacular than watching a captivating Geisha performance while in Gion. This traditional Japanese traditional dance is done by performers who have trained and perfected this ancient art over a long period of time. As you watch the enchanting dance performance, you will find your eyes glued to the performance. There around seven dance performances that you can choose from, so go and lose yourself in a captivating dance show.

6. Stroll along Kamogawa River

Kamogawa River
Source: Photo by Flickr user lensonjapan used under CC BY 2.0

Enjoy a calm and relaxing stroll along the Kamanga river as you enjoy the breathtaking view. The fresh air and relaxing sound of the river as it flows is the perfect spot for you to go for a quiet and peaceful time. If you happen to feel thirsty or hungry, there are a number of restaurants close by where you can enjoy dining as you feel the cool breeze. There are traditional lamps and street lights that light up the area, making it safe for you to enjoy your time without any worries.

7. Explore Yasaka Shrine

Kyoto Yasaka Shrine
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Zairon used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Get blown away when you visit the Yasaka Shrine during night hours. This amazing temple is not only beautiful during the day, but at night, when the shrine lights up to a spectacular paradise. The shrine is popular for the Gion Matsuri festival celebrated every year in the month of July. When the cherry blossoms bloom in early April, the Yasaka shrines become an amazing and breathtaking piece of paradise, and at night the beauty is further enhanced by the amazing lantern light.

8. Enjoy a drink at the Soradoko Rooftop Garden

Rooftop Restaurant
Source: Photo by Flickr user LincolnSquareInsider used under CC BY 2.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Visit the Soradoko rooftop garden and sample one of the amazing drinks they serve. As you enjoy your selected drink, feel free to take in the captivating city life view. Feel the breeze slowly blow, cooling you down as the ambiance creates the perfect relaxing atmosphere. This can be an awesome place to go out with friends or a loved one. Enjoy your time together as you sample the exciting drink selections offered at this amazing rooftop garden.

9. Participate in the Kyoto Higashiyama Hanatouro

Kyoto Higashiyama Hanatouro
Source: Photo by Flickr user Chad Kainz used under CC BY 2.0

Take part in an amazing walk to the Higashiyama mountain during the nighttime as you join a large group of Kyoto’s locals through the Shores park, passing the Murayama park as you head towards the Yasaka shrine, until you reach the final destination. The stretch is lit up by lanterns and street lights. The group set-up will make you feel safe as you indulge in this amazing adventure. As you make your way to and from the mountain, if you are lucky, you get to see a number of performances.

10. Hang out at the JR Kyoto Station

JR Kyoto Station
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Staka used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Spend your time at the Japan railways Kyoto station and witness the buzzing life of Kyoto. Get to see locals and tourist arrive and depart the area on the Tokaido Shinkansen bullet train. This amazing station also has a number of restaurants lined up at the Cube Gourmet Street, as well as as Kyoto Ramen Koji situated the 10th floor of the station, and the Eat Paradise at Isetan where you can sample the flavorsome gourmet cuisines.

11. Enjoy the view at Roof Top Bar & View

View from the rooftop bar
Source: Photo by Flickr user Buster Benson used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

What better way to enjoy Kyoto at night than to have unobstructed views of the town while enjoying good food and drinks? In the Moon. offers just that plus more. It’s the classic rooftop bar that will make you want to come back for more not just for the ambiance but also for the food and drinks offered. With a decent drink selection, rustic vibe, and a million-dollar view, the place is a popular hangout place for locals and international travelers alike. So the next time you’re looking for a place to grab some drinks, level up and grab drinks at a bar with a view instead!

in the Moon

Address: 200 RF 鴨川ビル, 200 RF 鴨川ビル, Nakanocho, Higashiyama Ward, 〒605-0075 Kyoto, Japan

Website: in the Moon.

Opening hours: 6pm - 1am (daily) /closed on Sundays

12. Satisfy the foodie in you in this night food tour (from USD 119.0)

Lasting for a three and a half hour, this night tour is definitely a foodie’s dream! On this small-group tour, you’ll be treated to not only one but seven delectable Kyoto-style food tastings, equivalent to a full dinner! Your guide will take you on a food tour around locally-owned restaurants as you stroll along with the diverse nightlife and scenes of Nishiki Market, Pontocho, and Kiyamachi. Best thing about this tour is you don’t only get to try highly recommended local food but also get to try drinks together with your meals suck as sake or other non-alcoholic drink should you prefer it. Explore Kyoto as you discover local dishes and visit hidden gems with your local guide only on this night foodie tour!

Kyoto Foodie Night Tour

Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes

3 reviews

An exciting night out in Japan

Japan at Night
Source: Pixabay

You don’t have to get bored in your room after the sun sets. Explore the other side of Japan–Japan at night–by visiting and spending your time in one of these amazing spots and taking part in the amazing activities you can do in Kyoto, Japan at night.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Linda Is a free spirit writer, I do love exploring, visiting new places experience, new things, and most of all learn. Bringing all these experiences together i have managed to acquire a sixth...Read more

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