In many countries summer is the perfect season for lovers; time for long walks, hanging at the beach, lakes or rivers, enjoying good food and beautiful sunsets. In Japan it is not different; you can enjoy all of these and more.
The summer in Kyoto is known to be one of the hottest and most humid in Japan (the city is located among a string of mountains) and although the high temperatures can bring some discomfort, Japanese couples find a way to enjoy the season to the full.
Downtown Kyoto, around Kawaramachi area – one of the most famous and busy area in the prefecture – couples spend the time together doing shopping and visiting delicious restaurants.
The most attractive restaurants are the ones located along Kamogawa River. Not only the place is beautiful, but the food is also delicious. The area offers various restaurants serving quality dishes; you can enjoy not only Japanese, but also French, Italian and Chinese cuisine.
Around Kamo River several restaurants offer outdoors tables (the restaurants extend their terraces towards the river – mostly wooden terraces) and after the sunset the customers can savor the dinner, find relief from the heat or enjoy the night sky. Dining at one of these terraces is a life-time experience and can give you the chance to take beautiful photos. Every year, more and more tourists want to try this fancy and romantic experience.

Classic and beautiful

In fact, more than 50 restaurants offer these outdoor areas where people can dine while watching the flowing river and its surrounding scenery. One example is the Funatsuru Kamogawa Resort. Do not be tricked by the name; the restaurant counts with a delicious French menu. The building is Japanese style, designed by a famous Japanese architect and it is considered a cultural propriety. Moreover, the “Kyoto-French” cuisine is rich in flavors and colors.

Group of workers having dinner at Funatsuru.

Group of workers having dinner at Funatsuru.©Caroline Pereira /JapanFor2

The Chinese restaurant Toka Saikan is another interesting option. In contrast to Funatsuru restaurant, the Toka Saikan restaurant impresses with its western architecture offering an extraordinary experience from the begging to the end. When you step inside the restaurant is like you are transported to the 70’s. The decoration and the vintage style furniture make the environment a unique place in Kyoto – a romantic and special place. Both restaurants are in a very accessible location, near to Shijo Brigde.

Tokai Saikan during Summer

Tokai Saikan during Summer©Caroline Pereira /JapanFor2

Mabo Tofu at Toka Saikan

Mabo Tofu at Toka Saikan©Caroline Pereira /JapanFor2

If you are craving for a delicious dessert, but also want to watch the sunset and the night view, Salon de Royal Kyoto is a perfect choice. With a long history, the store offers French desserts and chocolates. The story is full of beautiful and delicious sweets; it will be hard to decide what to eat.

On the other hand, if you want to try something simpler, but still want to appreciate the terraces along the river, you can visit the Starbucks near Keihan Sanjo Station. The store offers the Starbucks regular menu, but also a terrace with a special view from Kamo River and Sanjo Ohashi Bridge.

Enjoy the night having a good beer

Another event that is becoming more popular during summer time is the beer garden. In Kyoto, on the roof top of several department stores and restaurants the stores prepare all you can eat and drink events. Couples, friends and coworkers enjoy the food and the rooftop night view of Kamo River and Kyoto. The menu vary from shop to shop, but in general they offer light meals, such as French fries, grilled chicken, salad and so on (and of course many varieties of beer – domestic and international beer brands). However, some beer gardens can offer more elaborated dishes from Korean, Chinese and Italian cuisine – we cannot forget about the famous Japanese barbecue.
Even though this event is called beer garden, do not worry, other alcoholic beverages and soft drinks are also available; you can also choose cocktails, wine, non-alcoholic beer, and more. As beer gardens are very popular and attract a lot of people, reservation in advance is advisable.
One of the Kyoto’s traditional places for beer garden is the restaurant Kikusui. The old-style building architecture contrasts with Gion area`s scenario. Normally, the restaurant offers an international cuisine that is really appreciated by all the costumers. However, from June to September, the restaurant opens its rooftop to beer garden events. Mostly, the restaurant prepares the Japanese barbecue and some light meals. The best thing about this place is the amazing night view. Other famous beer gardens in Kyoto area are Daimaru and Takashimaya department stores rooftops.

Last but not least, during daytime, after a busy day walking around Kyoto, you can take a brake at Kamo River side; the place is always full of couples sitting and talking, families going for strolls and children playing by the river. Young people love enjoying fresh drinks while gazing at the city panorama.

Kamo River beyond its natural beauty offers romantic and delicious options for an extraordinary date. When visiting Kyoto in summer, make the restaurants around Kamo River a stopover, you will not regret.

Kamo River riverside restaurants at night

Kamo River riverside restaurants at night©Caroline Pereira /JapanFor2