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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

A visit to Minami-Za Theatre is a must for anyone who is interested in the classical Japanese arts. This is the oldest kabuki theatre in Japan, and it stages dramatic plays throughout the year. If you’re in Kyoto in December, you can head to Minami-Za Theatre to see the annual Kamiose festival, when the best kabuki actors in the country literally ‘show their faces’.

  • Opening Hours: Box office daily from 10am to 6pm
  • Address: 198 Nakano-cho, Shijo-dori, Yamato-oji nishiiru, Higashiyama, Kyoto, 605-0075, Japan
  • Tel: +81 (0)75-561-1155
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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, but it represents a good introduction to Japan’s fine arts. This whistle-stop demonstration of Japan’s traditional arts lasts 50 minutes and shows are scheduled twice a day – at 6pm and 7pm. Children under 6 get in free.

  • Opening Hours: April–November, daily performances at 6pm and 7pm. December–March open Friday–Sunday and national holidays only.
  • Address: 570−2 Gionmachi Minamigawa, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 605-0074, Japan
  • Tel: +81 (0)75-561-1119
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Kanze Kaikan Noh Theatre

This is yet another opportunity to soak up some traditional Japanese culture when in Kyoto. 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. This masked performance art is a wonderful spectacle, even if you’re not fully aware of the plot. The theatre occasionally has free shows, otherwise tickets can be upwards of ¥8000.

  • Address: 44 Enshoji-cho, Okazaki, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, 606-8344, Japan
  • Tel: +81 (0) 75-771-6114
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Pig & Whistle

The Pig & Whistle is a popular authentic English pub in Kyoto. Popular with expats, visitors and English-speaking Japanese, this bar has a friendly atmosphere. It has live music every weekend and monthly live performances of various types of artists, from jazz to country. Happy hour runs from 5pm to 7pm. The Pig & Whistle serves pub food, ranging from buffalo chicken wings to burgers, to pizzas to meat pies as well as fish and chips. They have at least 10 different types of draught beer and English-speaking staff.

  • Opening Hours: Daily from 5pm to 1am. Open until 2am on weekends
  • Location: 2F Shobi Building, 115 Sanjo-Dori, Higashiyama, Kyoto, 605-0009, Japan
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