Ponto-cho is a long, narrow and pedestrian lane which runs parallel to the west bank of the Kamogawa river and north from Shijo avenue, famous for its well preserved traditional architecture and its long established nightlife. It is lined with dozens of restaurants, pubs and teahouses (usually only open in evenings) set in old wooden houses and decorated with paper lanterns, which retain a unique and historic atmosphere.
Most of the restaurants located on the riverside open large balconies during the warmer months (May to October), where customers can dine enjoying the breeze and views of the Kamogawa river. Prices however can be quite steep, so it is recommended to check the menu prices before sitting down.While bigger restaurants tend to have English menus, there's a quite a number of establishments in Pontocho and the surrounding alleys which are exclusively oriented to Japanese costumers.
Together with Gion, Pontocho is one of the places in Kyoto where one may run into a geisha, or geiko in Kyoto dialect, or maiko, an apprentice geisha, during evenings.
Shijo and Karasuma stations are located within a short walk from Nishiki's west entrance, whereas Ponto-cho is located in a short walk from the east entrance of the market. On the other hand, Kawaramachi station is located between the east entrance of Nishiki and Ponto-cho.
Both the Nishiki market and Ponto-cho street are best explored on foot.