Though small by comparison, Pontocho is one of Kyoto's most spirited and memorable neighborhoods. A narrow street straddling the Kamogawa River, it is Kyoto's busiest nightlife spot. When darkness falls, Pontocho's many signs and lanterns bolt to life, making the area glow with invitations to passers-by to come inside and pull up a chair. Its restaurants and bars sprawl onto the riverbank, providing a friendly atmosphere and delicious food. Verandas are always filled with people young and old crowding tables, biting into hot yakitori or sipping cold beers. It is a culinary heart of Kyoto as much as one of its most laid-back, clamorous, and entertaining evening hotspots. Pontocho has more of an amiable vibrancy to it than an elegant one, attracting newcomers, local veterans, and everyone in between, in casual attire like sneakers and jeans.