If You Go to Kyoto, You Must Try the Hozugawa River River Boat Ride!
When people usually talk about sightseeing in Kyoto, they talk about shrines, temples, and food, but actually Kyoto is also full of nature and you can ride a riverboat. Here is some information about the Hozugawa River River Boat Ride.
What is the Hozugawa River Kudari (Hozugawa River River Boat Ride)?
The Hozugawa River Kudari is a 16km riverboat ride from Kameoka-shi to Kyoto's famous Arashiyama that flows down the Hozugawa River River that runs through a canyon. The hand-pushed boat takes about 2 hours to go through the course, and it's a thrilling one! The riverboats were originally used to transport products to the city by way of the river, so the Hozugawa River Kudari has more than 400 years of history. It's now famous as a Kyoto specialty, and every year 300,000 tourists enjoy this activity. Definitely try it! By the way, even famous people like England's Princess Margaret have ridden it. The best part about the ride is being surrounded by the nature of mountains like Mt. Atago and the dynamic feeling of the river. If you ride down the river once, you'll definitely want to ride it again!
First, follow the formalities of riding the boat!
To experience the Hozugawa River Kudari, first head to Kameoka Station on the JR Sagano Line. After a 10 minute walk from the station you'll reach the port. There are signs leading you there from the station so you won't get lost. Depending on the season, it can be a little chilly, so make sure to bring a cover-up! Also, don't forget to use the restroom beforehand so you won't get stuck needing to use one during the 2 hour boat ride. Follow the line for tickets, and you can ride the boat once they call your number.*In the winter (early December to March 9th) it's very cold so getting on the boat changes a little bit. The boat comes equipped with an oil heater, a vinyl roof, and a glass window to see the scenery with.*It costs 4,100 JPY (incl. tax) for adults and 2,700 JPY (incl. tax) for children.*Departure time changes on the time of year and the day, so please double-check beforehand on the website.
Time for departure!
It's finally departure time! There are about 20 people riding the boat. Depending on the river's swells and the weather, the number of boatmen (from 3-5) changes. It takes about 2 hours to ride from Kameoka to Arashiyama. The experienced boatmen cleverly use rods, rudders, and paddles to guide the boat through the strong currents and around the rocks. Every so often splashes of water come flying and the boat rocks strongly for a thrilling ride! While the river ride sounds like it takes a while, the beautiful scenery around the river changes as you go and you'll be impressed by the great teamwork of the boatmen. The ride will end before you know it! Please enjoy the full thrill of this activity!
Bring your camera to photograph all the nature!
The fun of the river ride isn't just being on the boat! The river is surrounded by mountains like Mt. Atago on all sides, and the scenery around the Hozugawa River is so lovely it seems like it's been cut out of a painting. While it may be impossible to take photos in areas where the river is extremely rough, in spots where the current calms down definitely take some beautiful shots to remember your trip by!You'll have a great view of the different sights of the season, such as cherry blossoms, the green trees in summer, the autumn foliage, and the winter snow, as well as sightings of wild birds and turtles basking in the sun. There are waterfalls and interesting rocks shaped like lions and fur seals, and there's also a great sight of a bridge against the sky. Definitely enjoy not just the river ride but the feeling of being a cameraman!
You can enjoy shopping while being on the water!
If you get hungry halfway through your riverboat ride, have no fear. A houseboat selling food and soft drinks will get close to the river boat and you can buy some snacks while still on the river! During the winter, oden (hot stewed dishes) is popular. In the warm months beer and grilled squid sounds great, doesn't it?Once you get here, there's only a little bit left to your trip. When you see the Togetsukyo Bridge, that means your ride is over. Enjoy it to the last minute!
Enjoy a walk around Arashiyama!
After you've safely arrived from the Hozugawa River Kudari, have a walk around Arashiyama where the arrival port is. Arashiyama is full of famous sightseeing spots. The nearby UNESCO World Cultural Sight Tenryuji Temple has a Japanese garden that uses the surrounding nature in ways so beautiful that you'll believe that there is no equal. Also, the Chikurin no Michi is a tunnel made of bamboo reaching to the sky, and when the weather is nice the light shining through the shadows of the trees makes for an enchanting sight, so that's definitely a place you should check out. Near the Togetsukyo Bridge there's many souvenir shops, so you can enjoy shopping there too!
Even though it sounds like it's just a boat ride, there are many ways to enjoy it. Definitely try it if you get the chance, but don't forget your sunscreen if you go in the summer!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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