As soon as sunshine hours fall, many places change substantially its aspect. Kyoto is one of those places. Kyoto like many other cities in Japan, has the particularity of having a much lower streetlights power than what we are used to in Europe where large sidewalks, and city lights are sometimes excessive stealing the night starring in night hours.
Here, only large avenues, and the main streets of the city seems to receive attention from the authorities, but instead, it is outside of those places where streets, alleys and buildings take a lot more of japanese realism, and transmit the true spirit of the Asian countries.
Kyoto city with a population of around 1,500,000 habitants, is a city where you can walk freely and safely at any time of the night and early morning. It never seems to have nothing to fear and also the feeling of tranquility and absence of noise make us think we are the only ones left in the city.
So at this point is where the decoration of the restaurants get into action. Red classic paper lanterns, Norens (that kind of multiple curtains hunging in front of doors), and spotlights illuminating their daily menus and facilities.
In the top photo, in which we observe a downtown restaurant, surrounded by the typical city center shops. Conbini and karaoke everywhere. This is one of the main streets of city of Kyoto, Karasuma Doori. This is one of the main streets that faces north Kyoto when we stand out of the front door of Kyoto Station.
However, in these two photos, both above and below, we find other premises more neighborhood friendly, with underground aspect that impresses tourists by the fear of not knowing what will they eat and not even knowing how to communicate with the waiters. Out of the big Tokyo, Japan is not very english friendly out of the city center.
In these downtown restaurants, the most common to spot is a daily menu with not even a photo of the dishes, here kanjis are everywhere, and not even think about speaking English to any waiter. No way to find references on Trip Advisor, no reviews of other users. If it’s good or bad, tasteful or not is question you have to solve by yourself.
Although to be honest in my words, I must confess that in these places you will often not have room for more than 10 people, is here where the better you can enjoy the authentic Japanese food, beer and sake and above all, to enjoy an unforgettable japanese experience and feel the true experience of being involved the authentic Japan. On the outskirts of the city where real people live, play and sleep.