The 7 Most Romantic Night Views in Kyoto
[Local College Students Introduce] Kyoto is great during the day, but at night the town overflows with a special kind of charm. So, here are some of the best night view spots in Kyoto! From famous landmarks to observatories, these nighttime spots will surely make you swoon.
Jan 10 2019 (Sep 09 2020)
1. Kamo River
The first entry on the list is the Kamo River, which flows through Kyoto from north to south and has long been a popular walking spot among locals and tourists alike. The river continues to fascinate people with its view throughout the year. The picture above is from an event called "Noryo Yuka", which is held from May to September every year. It is a street festival along the river, where people enjoy foods and drinks together. The lights of the shops along the river light up the place all year, but it is particularly beautiful during this period.
2. Kyoto Tower
Next up is Kyoto Tower, one of the iconic landmarks of Kyoto. It stands at 131m tall and is located in front of Kyoto Station. From the observatory room at 100m up in the sky, you can enjoy a stunning panoramic view of the beautiful city of Kyoto. If you want to look at the tower itself like the image above, it is recommended to go up to the skyway at 45m in the Kyoto Station Building, which you can enter for free!
3. Shogunzuka Municipal Observatory
The third entry on this list is the most famous night view spot in Kyoto, Shogunzuka Municipal Observatory. The image is from the observatory, which is located at the highest point of Higashiyama Driveway around 200m high. From there, you can have a sweeping view of Kyoto Station, Kyoto Tower, and the city itself. It is a popular spot on weekdays and is especially crowded on weekends. The recommended way to get there is to take a taxi from Keage Station.
Ponto-cho is known as an atmospheric spot of Kyoto. It is a 500m-alley full of restaurants, pubs, and bars. At night, lanterns hung outside each shop light up the whole alleyway, making for quite a romantic view. Some bar-hopping is nice, but just walking around the area can be quite enjoyable too.
5. Gion Shirakawa
Around Gion Shirakawa, which is designated as a Traditional Architecture Preservation District, you can enjoy the atmosphere of Kyoto from the olden times. The area is full of traditional townhouses and stone pavements, with the Shirakawa River flowing through nearby. The views of weeping willows swaying to the wind in the summer and the snow in the winter are sure beautiful, but nothing beats the famous sakura trees of Shirakawa in the spring. While still beautiful during the day, the view of sakura at night is a breathtaking scene that can't be beat!
6. Hanamikoji Street
Hanamikoji Street is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Kyoto. It is a stone paved street with a length of about 1km, and is in an area full of historic landmarks, traditional Japanese restaurants, and bars. You may even run into maiko (apprentice geisha) if you are lucky enough! The street is lively during the day, but it gets calm and atmospheric at night, making it an ideal time to go for a stroll.
7. The Arashiyama Station Area
The last entry on this list is the Arashiyama area, which is known especially for its picturesque scenery. The lighting up of Togetsu Bridge in spring or fall is famous, but the area around Arashiyama Station is where you should go to enjoy the great night view of Kyoto throughout the year.
There are a total of 600 glowing poles inside the station and along the railway, all of which make up a piece of art called "Kimono Forest". The poles are made of the cloth used for Yuzenzome, a traditional handcraft of Kyoto, which is covered with acrylic plates. They are set up to look like a forest and create a romantic atmosphere. They open a beer garden called "Randen Eki-Beer" at the station during summer, so it would be nice to drop by and grab a drink.
That wraps up the list! Other than the entries listed above, there are a lot of night view spots with beautiful sceneries to discover. If you are visiting Kyoto, make sure you enjoy a nighttime walk while you're there!
Title Image: Lee Yiu Tung / Shutterstock
The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.