An Evening in Ponto-cho
Even if you only have a short time in Kyoto you should try to visit Ponto-cho (especially in the evening). Ponto-cho is a narrow alleyway running parallel with the Kamo River (Kamogawa) from Shijo Dori in the South and almost to Sanjo Dori in the North. Ponto-cho is one of the five districts in Kyoto where Geisha Houses can be found. This alleyway contains a mix of expensive restaurants, tea houses, geisha houses, bars and clubs. During the evenings you can see many colourful traditional lanterns and more modern signs lighting the alleyway.
If you're someone who doesn't mind to spend a bit on a meal while traveling then perhaps you could even have a meal there. If you're a budget conscious traveller, then try Kiya-machi which is the next street parallel with Ponto-cho to the west for cheap eats. It doesn't cost anything to wander down the alleyway and experience a bit of Kyoto's past juxtaposed with the present. You may even spot a Geisha, although there are better Geisha spotting places in Kyoto (like Tatsumi Shrine, Yasaka Shrine or Hanamikoji Dori).
Access to Ponto-cho is pretty easy, it's just to the west of the bridge over the Kamo River on Shijo Dori on the north side of the road. The bridge is very close to the Hankyu Kawamachi and the Keihan Gion Shijo train stations.
This photo was taken with a Nikon F80 camera and an AF Nikkor 50f/1.8D lens on Fujicolor PRO400 film (my favourite nighttime film). Compared to the original scan I got back from the development shop, this version is cropped to 5:7 ratio. I've also adjusted the highlights down and the shadows up a bit.