A riverboat ride through the wild hills of west Kyoto offers a unique and breathtaking experience for visitors. The Hozu River, which passes through Kyoto and the city of Kameoka, is surrounded by splendid mountains that create a picturesque landscape reminiscent of a painting. Throughout the year, these mountains showcase different colors, with autumn being the most vibrant as they turn bright red. To fully appreciate this stunning scenery, taking a boat ride along the Hozu River is highly recommended.
The Hozugawa river cruise is a popular activity that allows visitors to immerse themselves in the beauty of the surrounding nature. One of the highlights of this cruise is the abundance of wildlife that can be spotted along the way. Eagles, kingfishers, and cormorants are just a few examples of the diverse bird species that inhabit the area. As the boats depart hourly, visitors have the flexibility to choose a convenient time for their river adventure. However, during busy periods, the boats may depart as soon as they are full, so it is advisable to plan accordingly.
During the journey, passengers have the opportunity to purchase food and snacks from a boat that pulls alongside. This adds to the overall enjoyment of the experience, as visitors can indulge in delicious treats while admiring the breathtaking scenery. The combination of delectable food and stunning views creates a truly unforgettable experience.
Getting to the jump-off spot for the river cruise is relatively easy. Travelers can reach the departure point by taking a JR train followed by a shuttle bus. From JR Kameoka Station, it is just a short 10-minute walk to the boats. For those who wish to combine the river ride with the Sagano Scenic Train, there are shuttle buses available from Torokko Kameoka Station.
Once aboard the riverboat, guests are transported back in time as they embark on the “Kawakudari” riverboat ride. This two-hour, 16-kilometer journey takes passengers from Kameoka to Arashiyama. The boats used for this ride are traditional, flat-bottomed boats that are steered by three boatmen using oars and bamboo poles. The ride itself offers a mix of thrilling sections with strong currents and calmer stretches, allowing passengers to experience both excitement and tranquility. Along the way, the boat’s 20 passengers can enjoy the sight of various bird species, wildlife, and the unique rock formations of the Hozu River Gorge.
The Hozu River has a rich history and was initially used as a trade artery to transport logs from the Tanba region for the construction of important temples and castles, such as Tenryu-ji Temple, Rinsen-ji Temple, Osaka Castle, and Fushimi Castle. During the Edo period, a private merchant named Ryoi Suminokura cleared the river to facilitate the transportation of rice, grain, and charcoal. This further solidified the river’s role as an essential route for trade between Kyoto and Osaka.
Although river transport became obsolete with the advent of modern transportation, the boats on the Hozu River found a new purpose as a sightseeing attraction as early as 1895. Even today, the river cruise continues to attract over 300,000 visitors annually, including many celebrities and members of royalty. This long-standing popularity is a testament to the unique and captivating experience that the Hozugawa river cruise offers.
In conclusion, a riverboat ride through the wild hills of west Kyoto is a must-do activity for anyone visiting the area. The Hozu River boasts stunning mountain scenery that changes with the seasons, offering a breathtaking view that can be best appreciated from a boat. The abundance of wildlife, the thrill of navigating through strong currents, and the calmness of the river’s deeper stretches make this experience truly unforgettable.
Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, history buff, or simply seeking a unique adventure, the Hozugawa river cruise is sure to exceed your expectations. Take a step back in time, immerse yourself in the beauty of nature, and create memories that will last a lifetime. Don’t miss the opportunity to embark on this incredible journey through the wild hills of west Kyoto.
Address And Maps Location:
2 Shimonakajima, Hozu-cho, Kameoka-shi, Kyoto-fu