Japan // Kyoto & Nara //

Drinking and nightlife


Kyoto isn’t all about high culture. After you’ve finished tramping the streets, there are plenty of tea houses, coffee shops and cosy bars where you can kick back and quench your thirst. And, if your aching feet can stand it, Kyoto’s late-night scene offers a fair range of clubs, discos and live music venues. It may not compete with the likes of Ōsaka and Tokyo, but you should be able to find somewhere to party until the wee hours. The prime entertainment districts are Kiyamachi and Gion, both of which are stuffed with bars and clubs. But be warned: even fairly innocuous-looking establishments can be astronomically expensive (many have a “seating” fee of over ¥1000), so check first to make sure you know exactly what you’re letting yourself in for. Some of the more upmarket establishments used to require an introduction by a regular customer, before you could even set foot inside, but the ongoing recession has loosened the formalities to some extent.

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