Crack open a beer, and chat up the locals.
Under the night lights of Kyoto’s terrace restaurants, one of the best places to meet locals is along the Kamogawa River. It can be hard to strike up a conversation when rushing through tourist sites and waiting for transportation. Luckily, Sanjo Bridge, where everyone is welcome and willing to chat, is easily accessible to travelers.
The scene underneath Sanjo Bridge becomes a festival-like party at night, with hundreds of people all gathering to enjoy Kyoto’s vibrant nightlife. There’s no better way to gain insight into Japanese culture than heading over to this popular hangout spot during your trip.
On the weekends, live musicians and performance artists delight onlookers with free entertainment that can gather huge crowds. This is easily your best opportunity to meet those who call Kyoto home. In this kind of environment, often-apprehensive Kyoto-ites relax and open up. People of all ages will try their best to practice their English, especially after a few drinks.
It’s also a lovely spot to take a stroll along the river, as walking paths line its banks. Or, have a seat and just take in the view of changing fall leaves or cherry blossoms in the spring. The spot is also frequented by couples looking for a romantic way to pass the time.
The best part about going to Sanjo Bridge? It’s completely free. Grab a cheap local beer at one of the many convenience stores close to the bridge for a drink.
But, if you’re in the mood for a proper meal, check out the nearby Kamogawa Noryo Yuka (Kamogawa Riverside Summer Terrace), filled with restaurants to fit any appetite. The terrace generally runs from May through September.
Visit this area to experience local culture and food after hitting up the usual tourist spots in Kyoto.