On my last night in Kyoto, before heading to Osaka the following day, my and I decided to get a glimpse of the Kamo River and the nearby shopping district, along the Shijo-Dori street in Komeyacho. Komeyacho is about 2.5 kilometers northeast of Kyoto Station, which houses many outlet stores, restaurants, and bars. We started by walking along the Kamo River, then looped back to Shijo-Dori street before heading back towards our Kyoto home.
Kamo River is very beautiful location; it's no wonder many locals come here to sit along the shoreline and relax. I could only imagine how wonderful this spot would be during the day, but I can settle for nightlife here. A small trail runs parallel with the river with patios of nearby bars and restaurants built right next to it. There’s not much lighting along the path, which is adds to the relaxing atmosphere Kyoto offers.
Towards the end of our quick walk had a staircase that lead back up to the food district. Small alleys stretch towards Shijo-Dori street, accommodating bars and restaurants. While walking through one of the alleyways, a “whiskey bar” sign was set-up, so we decided to look for it. The bar is hidden within one of the main buildings, and my first impression was very surprising. The exact location I cannot determine, because it is not registered on any online Maps, so instead I tried to provide a picture and a general address to find it: 178-1 Zaimokuchō, Nakagyō-ku, Kyōto-shi, Kyōto-fu 604-8017, Japan. It may be called "HDUPONT Whiskey," but I cannot confirm it as it's not registered in Google Maps.
Whiskey-bar may be an understatement here, with the entire bar decorated by various whiskey bottles from all over the world. If you can think of a brand that you like, this bar will certainly have it. Being that I was in Japan, it was only natural to try Japanese whiskey, so I asked the bar-owner what he preferred. He ended up recommending three bottles to try, a 1999 Nikka Single Malt Whisky, Suntory 12 year aged Pure Malt Whiskey, and 1991 Suntory Pure Malt Whiskey.
All great spirits in their own respect, they’re full bodied, with hints of caramel, peach, and spices in all three whiskeys, with the 1999 single malt being the most evident, and all finished very smoothly. A must-try if you are a fan of whiskey. The owner is a nice man, and had a surprised look on his face when we told him our age. My guess is that generally young Japanese people don’t drink spirits and prefer beer, as the owner was surprised how young (mid-20s) we were. If you want to enjoy Japanese whiskey, and you're in the Kyoto area, definitely check out this hidden bar!
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