Translated by Niki Mano
Not Easy to Live as a Smoker? Smoking Rules in Kyoto
Written by Keishi Kawakami
You Need to Find a Place to Smoke.
In Japan, you can buy cigarettes basically eveywhere. Since convenience stores (small stores being open 24 hours) sell cigarettes and there are a lot of convenience stores in Kyoto, you can get cigarettes 24/7.
However, it's hard to find a place to smoke there.
In principle, you're not allowed to smoke on the street in Kyoto. If you smoke on street, the police will stop you and you'll be fined.
In certain countries or areas, smoking is prohibited inside but allowed outside. But in Kyoto, you're not even allowed to smoke outside. Kyoto is a beautiful ancient city. So let's think of this rule as a precaution to protect the beauty the city.
Then, where can we smoke?
The colored areas on these maps are the smoking prohibited areas in downtown Kyoto. As you can see, many streets are colored.
Almost all the streets in the Karasuma (烏丸) area and the Kawaramachi (河原町) area are prescribed as non-smoking area.
Then where can we smoke?
I'll show you two smoking spots in the Kawaramachi area where you can smoke.
Pictures from Kyoto City Official Website
In the Kawaramachi area, smoking is allowed in these two spots. The left one is in Shijo-nishikiyamachi (四条西木屋町) and right one is in Shinkyougoku park (新京極公園, Shinkyogoku kouen). If you want to take a break while walking downtown, you can come here for a smoke.
Or, there are some cafes and restaurants you can smoke at, too. However, you can not smoke at all restaurants. Sometimes, you will be asked whether you prefer a smoking table or a non-smoking table. When they don't ask, you should better ask before you sit.
Smoking spot Shijo-Nishikiyamachi (四条西木屋町) area
Adress：78 Shincho Shimogyo-ku Kyoto-shi Kyoto
Access：Hankyo line "Kawaramachi" station exit 1A
Smoking spot Shinkyogoku park (新京極公園, Shinkyogoku kouen)
Adress : 538 Nakanocho Nakagyo-ku Kyoto-shi Kyoto
Access：Go outside from Hankyu line "Kawaramachi" exit 9 to Shinkyogoku street and go north, turn right at the third corner