Best time to visit Kyoto

Hozu-Gawa River Boat Ride in Kyoto

The perfect activity for a nature lover with plenty to see and explore

Best time: March–May | September–November (all year round)

Hozu-Gawa River Boat Ride
Hozu-Gawa River Boat Ride

Kyoto is an ancient city with astonishing shrines and temples, but it is also very proud of its beautiful nature. One of the best ways to discover this natural environment is to go on a 16 km boat ride along the Hozu River or Hozu-gawa (also known as Katsura River or Oi River depending on the area). The 2-hour cruise runs between Kameoka (a city in the Kyoto Prefecture) and the Arashiyama district. The sceneries overlooking Mt. Atago are just impressive.

If you get hungry during your boat trip, there are special houseboats that sell food and snacks along the way. It's the perfect opportunity for relaxation and enjoyment—just don't forget to prepare your camera to snap the best shots while boating.

Boat rides run all year round with longer operating hours in mid-March to November and a bit shorter in December to early March. All seasons have something special in store for you—from the cherry blossoms in spring to the greenery of summer, the fall foliage of autumn and the snowy mountains of winter. In the cold season, you'll be riding a heated boat, so no need to worry. However, warm season, especially spring and autumn, are the favourites. A few day closures for safety inspections occur in late December and early January, in February, and September. Service may also be cancelled during heavy rains and high water.

Practical info

When should you go for the Hozu-Gawa River boat ride in Kyoto?

The Hozu-Gawa River boat ride in Kyoto is available throughout the year, but it is best to go during the pleasant spring and autumn seasons. The ideal time for a boat ride is from March to May and September to November. This way, you can witness the beautiful scenery when trees are in full bloom. Show more

What is the route of the Hozu-Gawa boat ride?

The Hozu-Gawa boat ride is a 16 km journey that commences from Kameoka and concludes in Arashiyama district, Kyoto Prefecture. The ride takes you through some of the most delightful landscapes, including Mount Atago and other natural sceneries of the Hozu River. Visitors will also see some ancient shrines and bridges during their journey. Show more

What are the tourist attractions along the Hozu-Gawa River?

The Hozu-Gawa River offers stunning natural scenery that is dotted with amazing treasures along the way. These include ancient bridges, shrines, the magnificent Mt. Atago, exquisite cherry blossoms during the spring, lush greenery during the summer, colorful autumn foliage, and snowy mountain peaks during winter. Additionally, visitors can witness various aquatic creatures, birds, and insects that call the river home. Show more

Will there be food choices during the Hozu-Gawa boat ride?

Houseboats are available along the Hozu River that sell traditional Japanese snacks and drinks. The boat ride takes two hours, so the snacks provide an excellent opportunity to replenish your energy while enjoying the gorgeous scenery. Therefore, part of the attraction of the Hozu-Gawa River is the chance to relax and eat delicious food during the boat ride. Show more

What is the duration of the boat ride?

The Hozu-Gawa River boat ride takes about two hours from Kameoka to the Arashiyama district in Kyoto Prefecture. The boat ride is slow-paced, which ensures visitors enjoy the scenic views and take pictures. There are houseboats that take longer than two hours to complete the journey, and shorter options are available for those that prefer not to go the full 16km length of the river. Show more

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