Higashiyama Nightlife

What to Do at Night in Higashiyama - Kyoto

The most historically preserved of all eleven Kyoto wards Higashiyama is the place to see traditional Japanese dance, drama and musical performances. There are three major venues for the classical performances plus a few smaller venues which have performances during the Gion festivals.

Scattered throughout the scenic cobble stone streets are also a number of izakayas and small whiskey and sake bars offering intimate watering holes. But there is much more to Higashiyama nightlife than ancient culture, there is a good taste of the contemporary with live houses and venues featuring upcoming bands and others playing hot dance music that attracts Kyoto’s youth.

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Minami-Za Theatre

The Minami-Za Theatre is a must for anyone who is interested in the classical Japanese arts. The oldest kabuki theater in Japan, it stages a major festival annually during the month of December called the Kamiose festival in which the best kabuki actors in the country literally “show their faces”. Check with the Kyoto Tourist Information Centre for details of current performances.

  • Opening Hours: Box office open daily: 10:00 – 18:00
  • Location: Shijo-Ohashi, Shinbashi
  • Tel: +81 (0)75 561 0160
  • How to get there: Keihan line Shijo Station
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Gion Corner

The directors and producers at Gion Corner have taken the best of all the classical Japanese arts and combined them into a show that features everything from tea ceremony and flower arrangement to puppetry and dance. Aimed at the tourist market the show is a little costly however it represents a good introduction to Japan’s fine arts.

  • Opening Hours: Daily Performances 1 Mar-30 Nov 19:00 & 20:00
  • Location: Yasaka Hall, Gion-Hanamikoji-dori, Gion
  • Tel: +81 (0)75 561 1119
  • How to get there: Keihan line Shijo Station
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Kanze Kaikan Noh Theatre

This is yet another opportunity to soak up some traditional Japanese culture. The Kanze Kaikan Noh Theatre stages regular performances of classical Noh drama, a form of musical stage drama that dates back to the 14th century. The theatre occasionally has free shows, otherwise tickets can be upwards of ¥8000.

  • Opening Hours: Box Office Tue – Sun 09:00 - 17:00
  • Location: Sakyo-ku-Okazaki, Higashiyama-ku
  • Tel: +81 (0)75 771 6114
  • How to get there: Tozai line, Higashiyama Station
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Pig & Whistle

he Pig & Whistle is another popular authentic English pub in Kyoto with live piano music every weekend and monthly live performances of various types of music including jazz and country. Happy hour runs from 17:00-19:00. Check out their very reasonably priced dinner sets; the Pig & Whistle serves pub food, ranging from buffalo chicken wings to burgers, to pizzas to meat pies as well as fish n’ chips. They have at least 10 different types of draught beer. English-speaking staff. No credit cards.

  • Opening Hours: Daily from 17:00 - 02:00, Fri and Sat from 17:00 - 05:00
  • Location: 2F Shobi Building on Sanjo-Dori Street
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Gael Irish Pub

The Gael Irish Pub and Restaurant is located on the second floor of the Oto Building on Nawate Dori across from the Minamiza Theatre and is a popular place to hang out and meet people. It features live music including traditional Irish music and sports fans will enjoy catching all major events on their six screens. Gael’s kitchen features seafood chowder, cream of mushroom soup, Irish lamb stew, traditional beef & Guinness stew, cured ham salad with honey mustard dressing, beef and onion pie with gravy sauce, B.L.T sandwich, fresh ham and cheddar sandwich and the good old fish ‘n’ chips and more. All this with a great range of beers.

  • Opening Hours: Thu - Sun 07:00 - 01:00
  • Location: On the second floor of the Oto building, across from the Minamiza Theatre.
  • Type: Irish Pub
  • Tel: +81 (0)75 525 0680
  • How to get there: Come out of exit 8 of Shijo Keihan station and turn right and right again up the north side of the underground car park. Look for the Irish flag and Guinness sign on the building at the end of the road.
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Hoards of young music lovers flock to Whoopee’s every Friday and Saturday night to see live bands and to dance to hot club music. The live bands come in all shapes and sizes, occasionally there is a well known name but mostly the acts are trying to make it and Whoopee’s might be their launching pad which means you may just be witness to the next big thing!

  • Opening Hours: Daily 10:00 – 05:00
  • Location: B1 Hotel U's, Yasakatoriimae Sagaru 493-1 Kiyoi-cho, Higashiyama-ku
  • Tel: +81 (0)75 551 2331
  • How to get there: Tozai line, Higashiyama Station
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Malt’s Club

Set on Kyoto’s historic tree-lined cobble stone streets Malt’s Club is a wonderfully scenic place to stop in for a drink. Owned by Japan’s Suntory Breweries the three-storey building presents a colourful Mongolian yurt on the basement level, a Japanese style tatami bar on street level and an Edwardian English jazz lounge and British bar on the top floor.

  • Location: Nexus Building Hanamikoji Shinbashi Higashi Iru
  • Tel: +81 (0)75 551 5678
  • How to get there: Tozai line, Higashiyama Station
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