Action & Adventure
Hozu River Boat Cruises 保津川下り
A riverboat ride through the wild hills of west Kyoto
The Hozu River passes through Kyoto and the city of Kameoka, which lies to the west. Splendid mountains line the riverbanks, forming a landscape straight out of a painting. Delightful throughout the year, the mountains turn bright red in autumn, a landscape best enjoyed from a boat. The Hozugawa river cruise will help you take in that view.
Eagles, kingfishers and cormorants are abundant
Boats depart hourly, although during busy periods they will depart as soon as they are full
You can buy food and snacks during the journey from a boat that pulls alongside
How to Get There
You can reach the cruise jump-off spot by JR train then shuttle bus.
The departure point for the boats is a 10-minute walk from JR Kameoka Station. There are shuttle buses from Torokko Kameoka Station for those combining the boat ride with the Sagano Scenic Train.
Taking the current back in time
During the “Kawakudari” riverboat ride, guests enjoy the two-hour, 16-kilometer ride from Kameoka to Arashiyama, as three boatmen steer the traditional, flat-bottomed boats with oars and bamboo poles.
The ride alternates between thrilling sections with strong currents and deeper stretches that are calm. Along the way, the boat's 20 passengers can enjoy birds, wildlife and the Hozu River Gorge's unusual rock formations.
A trade artery into Kyoto and Osaka
The Hozu River was first used to transport logs from the wooded Tanba region needed to build Tenryu-ji Temple , Rinsen-ji Temple, Osaka Castle and Fushimi Castle. Later, during the Edo period (1603-1867), a private merchant named Ryoi Suminokura cleared the river to make it easier to ship rice, grain and charcoal.
Popular for over 100 years
Trains and trucks of the modern period eventually made river transport obsolete, with operations ceasing completely in 1945. However, the boats took on new life as a sightseeing attraction as early as 1895, drawing over 300,000 visitors a year, including a large number of celebrities and members of royalty.