Ponto-cho (location,opening hours,history)


The information about Ponto-cho is presented here. Ponto-cho is located northeast of Kyoto Station, and its landmark is the Shijo Ohashi Bridge over the Kamo-gawa River. Ponto-cho stretches from north to south between the west bank of Kamo-gawa River and Kiyamachi-dori. Ponto-cho is Kyoto’s representative Hanamachi (Kagai) district and is home to Ponto-cho Kabukai, to which maiko and geiko (geisha) belong. Ponto-cho Kabukai holds Kamogawa Odori dance every May. Ponto-cho together with Kamishichiken, Gion-Koubu, Gion-Higashi, and Miyagawa-cho, are known as the “Go-Kagai (Five Hanamachi)”.

【Ponto-cho Location Map & Directions】

Address: Ponto-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan
Access (How to get there): Kawaramachi Sanijo bus stop (about 5 minutes on foot), Keihan Gion Shijo Station (about 3 minutes on foot), Keihan Gion Sanijo Station (about 5 minutes on foot), Subway Sanjo Keihan Station (about 7 minutes on foot), Hankyu Kyoto Kawaramachi Station (about 8 minutes on foot)

【Opening Hours & Closed (confirmation required)】

Opening Hours: 24 hours (Shops have different opening hours depending on the type of business.)
Closed: open year round (Shops are closed differently depending on the shop.)

【Entrance Fees & Tickets (confirmation required)】

Street is free

【Ponto-cho Brief Overview】

Ponto-cho (先斗町) is an area surrounded by the west bank of the Kamo-gawa River to the east, Kiyamachi-dori to the west, Sanjo-dori to the north, and Shijo-dori to the south. Ponto-cho is long and narrow from north to south. The place name of Ponto-cho is said to be derived from the Portuguese words “ponto (ahead)”, “ponte (bridge)”, and “ponto (point)”. It is also said that Ponto-cho is sandwiched between two rivers, the Kamo-gawa River and the Takase-gawa River, and is compared to a tsuzumi (hand drum) sandwiched between two skins, and it is said to have been hung on the sound of a tsuzumi (hand drum), “pon”. It is also said to have originated from the sendosyuu (boatmen) of takase-bune (small flat-bottomed boat) that went to and from Takase-gawa River. (There are various theories.) It is said that Ponto-cho was once called “Sakibakari”. Ponto-cho used to be the riverbed of the Kamo-gawa River, which originates from Mt. Sajigatake, 896 meters high, in Kita-ku, Kyoto. Incidentally, Kawaramachi-dori, which runs north-south on the east side of Ponto-cho, takes its name from the riverbed of the Kamo-gawa River. During the Aduchi Momoyama period (1573-1600), Toyotomi Hideyoshi replaced the Sanjo Bridge and Gojo Bridge over the Kamo-gawa River, and the Kamo-gawa River became crowded with shows and vendors, and merchants set up stalls for shows and opened chamise (tea shop). In 1611, Suminokura Ryoi and his son Suminokura Soan dug the Takase-gawa River, a canal connecting central Kyoto to Fushimi. Kiyamachi-dori is lined with shops selling wood and charcoal from the Takase-gawa River.
In 1670, the riverbed of the Kamo-gawa River was reclaimed for riverbank protection work, and the street became known as Shin kawaramachi-dori. After that, it is said that hatago (hotel) and mizujaya (teahouse) began to operate for sendosyuu (boatmen) and travelers of takase-bune (boat) sailing on the Takase-gawa River. It is said that the first mizujaya (teahouse) was established around 1712, and the chatate-onna (girls) were placed there. It is said that chatate-onna (girls) is the origin of maiko and geiko (geisha) in Pontocho. After that, there were frequent crackdowns, but it is said that the shops were allowed to open in Nijo Shinchi in Kawabata Nijo. Ponto-cho was allowed to have geisha in 1859, and its history as a hanamachi (kagai) district began, becoming independent from Nijo Shinmachi in 1870. In 1872, as part of the efforts to attract tourists to the first Kyoto Exposition, Kamogawa Odori dance) began along with the Miyako Odori(Gion Koubu). In the “Kyoto Bomokushi” published in 1915, it is written that houses were built only on the east side and not on the west side. The construction of the Ponto-cho Kaburenjo began in 1925 and was completed in 1927. The removal of utility poles was completed in 2021. Today, Ponto-cho is a popular downtown and entertainment district with ocha-ya, ryo-tei, bars, and restaurants. Every year from May to September, Ponto-cho hosts Kamogawa Noryoyuka, where visitors can enjoy eating and drinking outdoors while taking in the scenery at ryo-tei and restaurant on the west bank of the Kamo-gawa River. Kamogawa Noryoyuka is a stilt-type space built on top of the Misogi-gawa River, which runs parallel to the Kamo-gawa River.
*reference・・・Ponto-cho website


★Kamogawa Odori dance (鴨川をどり) is held every year in May. In Kamogawa Odori dance, maiko and geiko (geish) perform their dances. Kamogawa Odori has been held together with Miyako Odori (Gion-Kobu) since 1872. Ponto-cho also holds a Suimei-kai around October every year.

【Telephone (Please refrain from making phone calls.)】

Tel: +81-75-213-1717(Kyoto City Tourism Association)

【Recommended Walking Route】

The recommended walking route from Ponto-cho is across the Kamo-gawa River to Yasaka Shrine via Gion. Gion, like Ponto-cho, is a Hanamachi (Kagai) district popular with both domestic and foreign tourists. Yasaka Shrine, like Gion, is also popular with both domestic and foreign tourists, and offers many benefits, such as protection against bad luck. From Ponto-cho, it is also recommended to head west to Nishiki Market.

【Remarks(access, parking, disclaimer, etc)】

If you plan to visit Ponto-cho, be sure to check the latest information.
Be aware of the etiquette of maiko and geiko.


  1. 錦市場(Nishiki Market)
  2. 竹林の道(Bamboo Forest Path)
  3. 嵐山