Happy Gion nightlife with people who love music and you on the stage.
Text : Keiko Nakamura / Photo : Kanako Takimoto
‘Gion pick up’, which is owned by Keiko Sasaki, a travel guide at this time, is located on the basement first floor in a building of down town in Kyoto. Far into the long and narrow bar, there is a brilliant stage showing its presence. They have 15 to 20 live stages on average per month with wide range of different music genres by professionals and amateurs. If they don’t have a live music performance, then they open the stage to the customers running bar together. They only charge 500 yen for the stage including music instruments that you can use in no time limit. You are able to enjoy with your friends on the stage and you can also show your amazing ability to your girlfriend. Moreover, you can practice to play music for your recital, an after party for your wedding ceremony, or collaborate with the other people as a temporary band, session with professionals or even with amateurs together. So many options you are able to choose.
Ms. Sasaki was born and raised in Nagaoka-kyo, Kyoto Prefecture, and belonged to a folk song club in her junior high school period. She loves a western hard rock music and has become a big fan of Shogo Hamada for 30 years. She opened a shot bar in her local city when she was 28 years old and ran a business for 15 years. Meanwhile, she had been dreaming about having her own bar in Gion and she finally opened a bar with a live stage in 2005. She couldn’t fill out a live stage schedule for the first in a few years, but she said, “Since my bar is getting famous little by little and people started asking the availability of the stage schedule, we have a lot of professional musician booking our stage in a middle of their live music tour not only from Japan but also from everywhere on this planet”. Such as Eddy Henderson, Benny Green, and Paul Jackson, world famous Jazz musician visited here as well. Moreover, it is very special to say that famous musicians who play different kinds of music was born after this ‘pick up’ stage. A Two-man band, born in Kyoto, called ‘Flat♭’ was formed by encountering each other at this bar and fell in love with both voice and music.
Ms. Sasaki loves music so much and having 2 amateur bands as a vocalist and said, “It doesn’t matter if you are amateur or professional, I just simply would like to support whoever makes everyone’s life amazing by having fun with their own music”. She also holds a music event to support amateur bands such as ‘Bibanjo contest’ and ‘Oyaji band competition’ and appears on the KBS radio music show regularly. If you want to listen or even do something on the stage, please stop by ‘pick up’ to see Ms. Sasaki. I also recommend ‘Tomato sauce pasta (M)’, 1,300 yen, which she learned from Italian friend.
ADDRESS : B1 Yasaka Bldg, 370 Kiyomoto-cho Yasaka-shinchi, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto City (MAP)
PHONE : +81(0)75-525-0595
HOURS (BAR) : 8:00 p.m. ~ 4:00 a.m.
CLOSED : Sunday and holiday (Open only if there is a live)
WEBSITE : http://gion-pickup.net