The Ki Bar is one of the newer bars opened along Pontocho street and a great place for a drink and a chance to have a friendly chat with one of the two owners who are from Canada and the US and have both lived in Japan for a long time and have lots of things to share about the city.
Pop in and sit at the bar which spills out to the famous Pontocho for a pre (or post) dinner drink or if in a group make use of the big comfy lounge on the second floor. In an extra fun seeking mood? Check out the third floor private karaoke room. You would be surprised that it’s such a big bar once you climb the stairs and discover more.
For a place to experience the Pontocho scene without a cover charge, and with a friendly local expat behind the bar this is definitely a go to choice.
The RAN theatre is a fun and upbeat way to experience live traditional music.
I have been to traditional music concerts in the past and although the music is beautiful it can get a little tiresome after a while. This was different from every previous experience I had in Japan and was a lot of fun!
This show combines all the different traditional instruments and lets them showcase their individual talents and then they all come together for some contemporary classics and get the crowd involved too.
I arrived at the theatre attending as a favor to a friend and not expecting too much. Upon taking my seat my first pleasant surprise was that they served local sake and beer. I had a sake sampler set and took a few sips while I waited for the show to start.
It started with the heavy beat of the taiko drum. This is one of the cooler instruments and the drummers were really into it. Later the drummers even gave a mini lesson to some members of the crowd.
After that the shamisen duo (Japanese guitar) came out and really banged out some great songs both slow and upbeat.
After that we were treated to a softer and sweeter melody with the shakuhachi (bamboo flute) and the koto (Japanese harp) This was one of my favorite tunes, when they played “Favorite Things” from sound of music.
Then the Okinawa musician came out and blew us all away with her emotive and melodic songs. Everyone in the band then got together to play some more familiar tracks from famous animation movies and they got the crowd up on their feet swaying back and forth too.
As I said, I came to the show not expecting too much but I was absolutely blown away with the energy and craft of the performers. I think this show could be fun for all ages and for both those living in Japan and those just visiting. Plus the place is a smoke free environment. A real rare find in Kyoto!
The show runs:
MONDAYS, WEDNESDAYS AND FRIDAYS 6pm or 8pm start.
www.rankyoto.com for more details
Shakuhachi and koto
Getting the crowd into it!