Hozu River Boat Cruise

Kyoto Guides: Hozu River Boat Cruise

Hozu River Boat Cruise 保津川下り

If you have traveled to Kameoka, west of Kyoto on the Sagano Scenic Railway through the Saga/Arashiyama area, the train journey can be combined with a trip back from Kameoka to the Togetsukyo Bridge in Arashiyama on a river boat.

A Hozu River Boat Cruise with spectacular autumn leaves in Arashiyama
A Hozu River Boat Cruise with spectacular autumn leaves in Arashiyama
Hozu River Boat, Arashiyama, Kyoto, Japan.
Shooting some mild rapids on the Hozu River Boat Trip, Arashiyama, Kyoto

The hozugawa kudari, the Japanese name for the boat ride on the Hozugawa River lasts about two hours and refreshments (beer, sake, soft drinks, snacks) can be bought on board.

The channel of this river was opened by Suminokura Ryoi 400 years ago during the Edo Period in 1606 to transport wood for Kyoto's many temples, rice and other foodstuffs from Kameoka and further afield to Kyoto. In fact, the river had been used even earlier when the capital was at Nagaoka-kyo.

In 1895, pleasure boats began making the trip and a number of foreign princes and princesses have since taken the cruise along with the Showa Emperor in the 1920's. Today, more than 300,000 tourists travel down the river each year. Each boat seats about 15 people and is equipped with a roof should it rain. Each boat is navigated by two boatmen using oars and long, bamboo poles.

Highlights of the trip are the views of the beautiful, forested river banks of the Hozu Valley, some amazingly shaped rocks and gliding through some small rapids on the river.

The 16km Hozu River Boat Trip is particularly popular in spring to see the cherry blossoms and in autumn to view Arashiyama's spectacular autumn leaves.

Boats run from Kameoka on the hour from 9am to 2pm and at 3.30pm and the fare is 4,100 yen for adults and 2,700 yen for 4 year olds to elementary school age. Times change in the winter season with departures at 10am, 11am, 1pm and 2.30pm. Departures on weekends and public holidays are irregular, with increased sailings. The departure point for the boats is a 10 minute walk from JR Kameoka Station.

Hozu River trip from Kameoka to Arashiyama.
A Hozu River Boat Cruise from Kameoka to Arashiyama
Hozu River Boat, Arashiyama, Kyoto, Japan.
Hozu River Boat Cruise, Arashiyama, Kyoto

Kameoka Access

Kameoka Station is just 18-30 minutes from Kyoto Station depending whether you take the Limited Express to Toyooka in Hyogo or a local train on the JR Sagano Line to Sonobe. The journey costs 410 yen. The departure point for the boats is a quick bus ride (160 yen) or a 10-minute walk from Kameoka Station. Alternatively, from the last stop on the Sagano Scenic Railway, Torokko Kameoka Station, the departure pier is a 15 minute bus journey (310 yen).

Hozu River Cruise
Shimo-Nakajima, Hozu-cho
Kameoka, Kyoto 621-0005
Tel: 0771 22 5846

Arashiyama Access

San-in Line from Kyoto Station and Nijo Station to Saga Arashiyama Station, the journey takes 12 minutes. Or take the Keifuku Arashiyama (Randen) Line from Shijo Omiya Station to Keifuku-Arashiyama Station.

There are also city buses from Kyoto Station - take bus #28. Alternatively bus #11 runs from Sanjo Keihan Station to Arashiyama and bus #71 from Daikakuji Temple in north west Kyoto to Arashiyama.

Hozu River trip and Sagano Romantic Train.
A Hozu River Boat with the Sagano Romantic Train in the background

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