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Sanjo Bridge

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.

Sanjo bridge

Photo by: Nils Ferry Cherry blossoms at Sanjo Bridge in Kyoto.

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.

How To Get There


Sanjo Dori, Kyōto-shi, Kyōto-fu, Japan

By train

Take the Keihan Line to Sanjo Station, or the Tozai Subway line to Sanjo Keihan station. Exit at street level and walk across the river, taking a left before the Lawson convenience store and walking down to the river.


By bus

Take one of the many buses to Kawaramachi Sanjo or Sanjo Keihan Mae. Get off and walk toward the river, taking a right at the Lawson convenience store and walking down to the river.


By foot

A 1-minute walk from Sanjo Station, or if you’re up for a stroll, it’s about a 40-minute walk from Kyoto Station.

Where To Stay

Cafetel Kyoto Sanjo for Ladies
  • 173 Shingokencho, Kyoto-shi Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, 605-0006 Japan
  • ¥3,250 - ¥35,880
  • 4.33/5 (23 reviews)
  • 0.2 km
Hotel Aru Kyoto Sanjo Kiyamachi-dori
  • 48 Daikokuchodaikokucho, Kyoto-shi Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, 604-8031 Japan
  • ¥15,250 - ¥68,000
  • 4.17/5 (108 reviews)
  • 0.2 km
Solaria Nishitetsu Hotel Kyoto Premier
  • 509 Kamiosakacho, Kyoto-shi Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, 604-8001 Japan
  • ¥27,500 - ¥162,400
  • 4.35/5 (421 reviews)
  • 0.2 km
Dhawa Yura Kyoto by Banyan Group
  • 84 Ohashicho, Kyoto-shi Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, 605-0009 Japan
  • ¥34,000 - ¥158,000
  • 5/5 (149 reviews)
  • 0.2 km
Cross Hotel Kyoto (Orix Hotels & Resorts)
  • 71-1 Daikokuchodaikokucho, Kyoto-shi Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, 604-8031 Japan
  • ¥19,380 - ¥103,200
  • 4.42/5 (356 reviews)
  • 0.2 km

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