Japan is a heavily populated island, and because of this, there doesn’t appear to be as much nature and open space in comparison to other countries. However, one place where you can really enjoy Japan’s beautiful scenery and landscape is in Kyoto, on a beautiful boat ride!
The Hozugawa-kudari begins in Tanba-Kameoka and journeys 16 km all the way to Arashiyama. This is a great way to start your day if you want to visit Arashiyama and enjoy a traditional Japanese town, as well as visit the monkey park and bamboo forest. The journey takes around two hours, but it never gets boring as you are surrounded by beautiful scenery of cliffs, mountains, trees, and wildlife throughout the entire journey.
With all the trees and foliage surrounding the river, this is a great place to come back to every season. The landscape changes drastically with each season. You can float by beautiful cherry blossom trees in the spring, lush greenery in the summer, stunning fall leaves during autumn, and snow capped hills in the winter!
The boat is a traditional style Japanese long boat and is driven by 3 people. The first is your tour guide, and will explain the beautiful scenery you are seeing, pointing out wildlife, and interesting natural spots. The second is at the back of the boat, controlling the steering and guiding you over rapids and through rock formations. The third has the exhausting job of powering the boat. He stands at the front of the boat and uses a long bamboo pole which he drives into the water and pushes off the river floor to drive the boat forward.
It’s amazing to watch as he runs up and down the front of the boat, trying to gain enough power to push you down the river. Throughout the two-hour journey, the three men rotate roles, so that they all get to have a bit of a rest!
Lastly, don’t worry if you get hungry or thirsty during the journey, as part way through, you actually get the chance to stop at a river convenience store (konbini)! There are a number of boats that travel through the river, selling snacks, and drinks to visitors on the river cruise. It’s a very interesting and unusual part of the trip but it’s a great opportunity to purchase delicious seafood snacks for the journey!
The cruise runs throughout the year, so check out their website for more information.