Attractions

Hozu River Cruise

Hozu River Cruise

Travel Guide

Introduction

Based on the Hozu River, the Hozu River Cruise, Hozugawa Kuradi in Japanese, is a world famous sightseeing experience whose travel distance is 16 kilometers-long, traveling from JR Kameoka Station to Togetsukyo Bridge which is located in Arashiyama.

The trip takes about 2 hours to complete. In the trip, visitors can see the valley features rocks of fantastic shapes including Kagami-iwa (Mirror Rock), Kaeru-iwa (Frog Rock), Byobu-iwa (Screen Rock) and Raion-iwa (Lion Rock), mountains, cliffs, gorges, wildlife such as birds and monkeys, charming flowers and trees, and intriguing geologic formations. There are some rapid areas, but nothing dangerous and passengers are not tossed around by the water action. With the cherry blossoms in the spring, the rock azaleas and green leaves in the summer, colorful leaves in autumn and the snowy landscape in the winter, the beauty of this river valley is something to behold all year around.

The origin of Kawakudari (boat ride down the river)

The expression “Kawakudari,” a boat ride down the river, was started to be used when the history of using the Hozu River for transport began. It is a water transport whose history started when the capital was in Nagaokakyo City, even before there was a capital in Kyoto City. To help build the new capital lots of logs from Tanba, bound together into rafts, were transported down the Hozu River to Kyoto. Later the Tanba logs were in great demand and sent down the river by for the construction of Tenryuji Temple, Rinsenji Temple, Osaka Castle, and Fushimi Castle. Not only logs, but also rice, wheat, firewood, and charcoal were transported after Ryoi Suminokura, a wealthy merchant called the “River Lord” in Kyoto, opened the ravine up for boat transports in 1606. Transporting abundant and high quality of timber, grain, and firewood and charcoal was a thriving business but this vital role the river played was overtaken by rail transport with the opening of the current JR Sanin line in 1895, and later by road transport, such as trucks. From around 1945 rafting logs downriver stopped.

In Literature

The magnificnet scenery of the Hozugawa-kyo Gorge was known for a long time and the commercial cruise service started at 1885. In 1991, a great writer by the name of Soseki Natsume published his book,”Gubijinso”. In his story, he describes the various scenes along the Hozu River such as the beautiful rock formations and the incredible skills of the boatmen. The cruise is also described in the literary works written by Tsutomu Mizukami, Kyukin Susukida, Keigetsu Omach, Yukio Mishima and many other famous writers.

Ijin Kaido (the foreigner road)

The Hozugawa-kudari became quite popular among many people because of Gujijinso, especially during the Taisho Period (1912-1926) and the beginning of Showa (1926-1989). It was said to have been frequented by many foreign visitors who crossed Oino-saka from Kyoto City on a rickshaw powered by two men. People often referred to this road as “IJIN KAIDO”. This was the highway which led foreign travelers to their boarding places after the cruise on Yamamoto Beach.

Hozu River Cruise - Hozukyo Gorge and Hozu River Hozu River Cruise - Frog rock Hozu River Cruise - Torokko scenic train
Hozukyo Gorge and Hozu River Frog rock Torokko scenic train
 
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Travel Advice

Sightseeing

- The speed of the boat depends on the water level. The boat moves fast at high water level and lower water level makes the boat slower. If you want to experience the thrilling journey, don't forget to check the water level. Generally, the water level will be high after the rain and it is a good chance for riding the boat.

- The boat ride is nice, but actually, the best part is at the end of the boat ride when you get off in Arashiyama. Here you can walk up the bank and there are some great photo opportunities as you can see below. In addition if you do not want to go to Kameoka, there are a few boat rides you can take from the Arashiyama end, but they just stay in the area and do not go up the whole river.

- You can bring your own snacks; otherwise a food boat comes alongside towards Arashiyama during the peak tourist seasons.

- When Suminokura Ryoi (1554-1614) was 51, he decided to launch his long-cherished plan – to excavate Hozu River for the waterway from Tanba to transport abundant goods to Kyoto. In 1606, he started out on the development of the Hozu River water route, where there were lots of difficult and dangerous parts to open in the mountains – many huge rocks blocking the water route and rapids. And the major waterway connection between Tanba and Kyoto had been completed at the cost of many lives and an enormous amount of money. Not only did he open the waterway of Hozu River, but also opened Takasegawa Canal to connect Kyoto and Osaka, and opened waterways of Tenryu River and Fuji River.

- When the boat reaches Arashiyama, close to the landing point of the ride, you can see Daihikaku Senkoji Temple. The temple was built by Ryoi to mourn for the heavy toll of lives during the excavation of Hozu River. There is a monument of Ryoi, too.

Remarks

Capacity: Approximately 24 people (16 people for a winter boat), but it is subject to change without notice. The boat departs any time when full of capacity.

Boarding time: Weekend and holiday services are irregular.

In case of rain: Even if it rains we operate our service as regularly with a tent on the boats. However, this does not apply to severe rainstorms or rise of the water level.

- Board the Hozu River Cruise boats near the JR Kameoka Station. Finding the dock can be a little tricky as there are no signs (in English anyway), but if you ask anyone about Hozu River they should be able to point you in the right direction. It is about a 8 minute walk from the station.

- The Hozu River Cruise is a one-way trip which departs from Kameyama to Arashiyama. There is no cruise from Arashiyama to Kameyama. You can take Torokko scenic train to go back to Kameyama.

- In order to enjoy the cruise, it is recommended to go to the toilet in advance, and wear the clothes which can get wet. Sitting in the first low of the boat can easily get wet.

- There will be heater and transparent cover to keep passengers warm during December 12 to March 9.

- Private charters is available but weekdays only.

- Reservations are taken only for large groups.

- Boat ride may be cancelled due to weather conditions.

 
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Visit

Address 1 Shimo-nakanoshima, Hozu-cho, Kameoka-shi, Kyoto
Phone 0771-22-5846 (Hozugawa Yusen Sightseeing Boat Association)
Admission Adult: 4,100 yen
Child: 2,700 yen
Adult: over 12
Child: 4 to 11
Groups of 40 to 99 get 5% off
Hours March 10 to November 30 9:00 / 10:00 / 11:00 / 12:00 / 13:00 / 14:00 / 15:30
December 1 to March 9 10:00 / 11:30 / 13:00 / 14:30
 
Closed December 29 to January 4
Required Time 2 hours
Getting There By Train
8 minute walk from JR Kameoka Station.

By Car
Take Kyoto-Jukan Expressway to the Shino exit and take National Highway route 9. It is approximately 5 kilometers 10 minutes from exit.
Parking Paid parking available
 
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