In the beautiful fall colours we took a long boat ride down the Hozugawa river to Arashiyama.
Getting to the boat trips starting point was a bit of a mission, usually the boat trip is combined with the romantic train from Arashiyama, you take the romantic train up and the boat back. However, as it was a national holiday the romantic train had already sold out. Instead we had to take regular trains to the starting point, living in Osaka we first took two trains to Kyoto JR, then transferred to another to finally get to Kameoka station. From there it was a few minutes walk to the boarding point.
As we approroached and we could see how busy it was we got worried, advance booking isnt available for the boat, you just have to turn up and wait.
Once inside we filled out a short order form, queued and paid. It is 4100yen per adult. A sign said there was approximately an hours wait, and todays journey time was about 1hr 40mins. We got our tickets with a number, after that all we had to do was relax until our number was called over the speakers.
The starting point has a small gift shop, food counter and amenities. It was a lovely day out if a little chilly so I grabbed some atsukan (hot sake) and nikuman (meat steamed bun). J got a rice burger from the food counter too.
You could even try on the boat crews clothes and take pictures!
We sat outside on the slope and watched the boats come over the bridge on a truck and get craned back into the water, a mini bus full of crew would also appear and drop off the staff.
After exactly an hour our number was called and we could board our boat! Boats hold 30 people in total, minus 3 crew members. I couldnt believe it when I saw people with suitcases getting in the boats! The staff didnt seem to mind though and popped the cases in the back.
And then we were off!
The man sat down had a paddle, the man at the front had a long bamboo stick, which he stuck in the water and ran down the slope at the front, pushing the boat along. There was another member at the back of the boat, but Im not sure what his role was…
The guy was really funny, telling jokes and pointing out things around us. He told us about a beautiful scenic spot around the corner but when we got to it it was just a lump of concrete.
As we went along the crew members changed around.
It was very peaceful and relaxing going along the river. Occasionally there were “danger zones” and as I was on the side of the boat I had to hold up some plastic sheeting to my shoulder to protect us from spray. I did get very wet one time though, right through my shoes to my socks.
There were a few rocks that looked like something, Snoopy, a lion etc.. that were pointed out, I dont remember what this was meant to be though.
At one point we passed the romantic train and waved at everyone.
More than two thirds in we met another boat.
We docked with it and floated along the river together while we all ordered food and drinks!
Bless the couple infront of us for bending down.
Not long after the food stop we were approaching Arashiyama, and the ride was over. It took pretty much 1hour 40mins like they said.
We had a fantastic time, I thought it was a bit too long but J would have liked a longer ride. Id be interested in doing it again in another season, winter looks fantastic!
Hozugawa river tours: http://www.hozugawakudari.jp/
Watch Js awesome video!