Kyoto is a major stop on the typical tour most take on in Japan. The city is rich in beauty, contradictions and traditions, and also has its origins based on religious and a diverse array of arts. The current population is about 1.5 million. But every season, Kyoto embraces foreigners all over the world, whether they be tourists, workers and students. And together with Kyoto denizens, they crowded the street every day. Despite the frequent commotion, the residents have their tricks to enjoy the city as much as any visitors. After a stressful week, they go to Kamogawa to relax.
Kamo means “wild duck” and gawa is “river”. The combination means “wild duck river”, which might not be a fair title for a river which has plenty of bird species, for example, the crowned crane. The river is 31km and its source is in the mountains in the area of Mount Sajikigatake. It flows from north to south, just like an artery that carries nutrients and energy, the Kamo river carries joy and pleasure to the people throughout the city. As the inhabitants believe this river is a gift from the gods, it makes Kamo River one of the real natural treasures.
The beauty of Kamogawa differs by season but nevertheless is breathtakingly gorgeous.
The main activities are picnics, strolling, fishing, tennis, soccer, cycling, martial arts and practicing music. Frequently, musicians like to go there to play their instruments and it can sound quite magical. Lying down on the ground and listening to the sounds of silence, nature and music.
Maybe, the harmonic combination of nature and urban landscape turns the riverside of Kamo as well as the area from Sanjo to Shijo (Street) the most romantic spot in the city.
Although these previously listed activities can be done during the whole year, there are some which are restricted to spring and autumn. Both sides of Kamo River have cherry trees (sakura) and maple trees (momiji), producing a delightful complete with these shining colors. It is a great joy to drink a cup of sake beneath the cherry trees looking out over the water flowing in the Kamo River.
During the summer, restaurants and o-chayas (japanese tea house) take advantage of their proximity to the river and set up the verandas known as Yuka.
If you come to Kyoto, take time to renew your energy in Kamogawa. It is safe, free and beautiful!