This boat tour is definitely a must-do when you go to Kyoto.
Hozugawa River Cruises (保津川下り, Hozugawa Kudari) are sightseeing boat rides down the Hozugawa River from Kameoka to Arashiyama. The cruises feature traditional style, flat bottomed boats piloted by boatmen who guide the craft with oars and bamboo poles. The boats take about two hours to leisurely wind their way down the river. You can also combine this with the Sagano scenic railway to come back if you like.
Watch my video of the boat ride
The nice little snack boat sidling up alongside us was a great surprise and that they sold beer was even more amazing on the summery hot day, we needed refreshment. Highly recommend this as a day trip if you ever go to Kyoto. It’s not as crowded or popular with western tourists as many of the other Kyoto sights and is pretty tranquil overall.
About the Hozugawa River
The Hozugawa River was originally used to transport logs that were used to build many of Kyoto and Osaka’s famous temples and castles. During the Edo Period the river was cleared of obstructions so that boats carrying grain, firewood and other cargo could safely navigate it. Trains and trucks eventually made river transport obsolete. However the picturesque nature of the river has made it great for sightseeing cruises.