Japan Guide: Top AMAZING Things To Do In Kyoto At Night

Have you ever heard about a book titled “Eat, pray, love” by Elizabeth Gilbert, a New York Times Bestselling author? If yes, you must be aware of how hard it is for our main character, a divorced woman, to complete her journey of finding herself through three different countries: eating in Italy, praying in India and loving in Indonesia. But in this article, we will show you a place where you can finish your journey in just one place, which is Kyoto, Japan. Eating, praying and loving can be the perfect activities for tourists to experience during the day but we want to show you another Kyoto, a Kyoto in the shine of lights from skyscrapers instead of the Sun, a face of Kyoto that sometimes is underrated. You can still eat and love when the Sun goes down, but instead of praying why don’t we go sightseeing? So now we will recommend some things to do in Kyoto at night to help you fulfill your “Eat, sightseeing, love” journey in Japan.

Things To Do In Kyoto At Night

At the list of things to do in Kyoto at night, we will start from things to eat, places to visit to some bars to talk or maybe find your lover.

1. Things To Eat In Kyoto At Night.

Traditional food: It is believed that “A hungry belly has no ears”, so before exploring this beautiful city you really need to find some food first. If you are looking for a fancy restaurant serving Japanese traditional dish, 10-course Kaiseki is a perfect choice for you. Here you will have a chance to try the traditional 10-course dinner including the world’s smoothest sashimi, tofu, mocha, dashi, tamagoyaki, and fresh seafood. After that, you can get a deeper understanding of Japanese culture by attending a tea ceremony, where you learn about the way of tea and how to greet or move in a traditional tea room.

things to do in kyoto at night

10 course Kaiseki is a perfect choice for your dinner in Kyoto.

Street food: If you are not the type of old-fashion tourist, you are looking for some street food and mingle with the crowd in heated air, then let’s head to Nishiki Market. It’s a Kyoto night market and the main street is where all food stalls and trinkets gather together. The market is usually crowded with people to create a lively atmosphere and one thing you would love for sure is that many nipples are given out as free samples. Of course, they don’t forget drinks either! From wine to beer, you’ll get a perfect Kyoto night with alcohol.

Let’s take a tour around Nishiki Market by watching the video below:

2. Places To Visit At Night In Kyoto

Night view: Now hope that you’re ready caused your journey is just about to start. It’s a mistake if we leave out of Kyoto Tower, the tallest structure and the landmark of this city. From here you can enjoy the 360-degree night view of Kyoto, which will never make you disappointed. Another favorite spot of mine to contemplate Kyoto after dark is the roof of Kyoto station and the good news is it’s free. But be careful because this place is for lovers so if you travel alone, we don’t think you should come here.

things to do in kyoto at night

Kyoto Tower is a must-see place in this city at night.

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Gion and the surroundings: After dinner, some of you might want to find a place to wander around with friends or just feel the atmosphere but still learning something about Japan, so congratulations, Gion and the surroundings are the places for you. Then what exactly should you expect to meet in Gion? Imagine you are immersing yourself in the magic of Kyoto after dark while walking the lantern-lit wooden street and you spot a geisha? Geishas are companion ladies and their services are typically reserved for the Japanese Elite, now geishas are well-respected women but their number has dropped dramatically. The modern geishas still swear by the traditional standards and art forms and are remarkable appearances in the picturesque streets of the Gion District. It’s rather easy to catch sight of a geisha on Gion street at night and taking a photo with them and show it off with your friends is not a bad idea, right?

Shrines and temples: There are still many things to do at night in Kyoto but admiring the illuminated Shrines and temples in Kyoto should be on top of this list. Kyoto is literally packed with Shrines and temples.  Several of them change in fairy-tale scenes after sunset.  Wooden and paper lanterns will illuminate the whole temple compounds and the surrounding gardens. When you visit these Shrines and temples after sunset you will have a completely different experience than during the day. Here’s a list of all the Illuminated Shrines and Temples that we’re aware of.  Enough to spend several joyful evenings.

– Yasaka Shrine

– The Hokanji Temple also called Yasaka Pagoda

– Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine

3. Finding Love In Kyoto.

If you wonder what to do in Kyoto at night next, we will lead you to a place where you can find love or just some companions. We know it sounds impossible but if you don’t give it a try, how can you know? Due to its large student population, Kyoto has the 4th best nightlife in Japan (after Tokyo, Osaka, and Sapporo). Clubs and bars here run rather late any night of the week (5-6 am). If you are interested in live music, Kyoto has so many live houses, which are what the Japanese call bars with live music, often with paid entry. While enjoying the music, you can have a try at the best cocktail served here although they are a bit pricey, the experience worth it. One bar we can recommend you is L’Escamoteur. You may wonder about the name because it doesn’t sound like Japanese, it’s French and it means “Magic”, the thing that always happens in Kyoto. When you order certain drinks, they actually perform magic tricks for you. Another tricky element of the place is trying to find the secret toilet, a fun, and playful touch. The fun point is it’s not about what you drink or what you listen, but it’s who you meet. You can meet many people here and who knows someone in the crowd can be your companion tonight. So don’t hesitate, just go out there having fun, sharing your stories and enjoy the moment Kyoto spend for you I’m sure it will never let you down.

what to do in kyoto at night

Kyoto’s L’Escamoteur is where you can find love or just some companions at night.

Kyoto’s sometimes sparkling, sometimes subtly shining beauty only becomes clear after sundown, so head on out after dark – you won’t regret it. There’s definitely something for everyone to enjoy here in Kyoto so when the sun’s setting, don’t head back to your hotel room just yet, the journey is just beginning.

Want to discover more special places in Kyoto? Check out the video below:


So now you’ve known some special things to do in Kyoto at night. Hopefully, this list will help you a lot in your journey to Japan, especially to Kyoto. In case you have any question to ask, feel free to leave a comment and we will discuss further.

Bye bye and have a nice trip to Japan.

About Yuu Sato

Yuu Hiasa has been working in hospitality industry since 2003. In the past, he used to work as a tour guide and now he is running his business of supplying comfortable accommodations in Japan. Thanks to this experience and his passion for writing blog, the articles by him provides awesome tips and things to do when you are traveling in the country of cherry blossoms.