Hozu River Rafting

Rafting down the Hozu River is a thrilling experience with the beauty of the valley

The Hozu River (Katsura River) flows through the Hozu Gorge, which is designated as a nature park, and a boat ride down the river from Kameoka to Arashiyama in Kyoto, a distance of about 16 km, takes two hours.

The river is lined with giant rocks and boulders, and the varied scenery can be enjoyed from the water, as the river flows gently and quietly in one area and splashes down steep rapids in the other, creating a dynamic atmosphere.

The river offers beautiful seasonal scenery such as mountain cherry blossoms, Japanese azaleas, and dazzling fresh greenery in spring, cool air in summer, autumn leaves in fall, and snowy scenery in winter, attracting many tourists to enjoy the boat ride throughout the four seasons. 

Dynamic scenery of each season

A skilled boatman controls the boat with a pole, rudder, and oars, and the shallow-bottomed riverboat slips over huge rocks with superb oar skills and glides down the Hozu River, splashing in the water.

The entire journey, which starts in Kameoka and ends at Wataratsuki Bridge in Arashiyama, a famous sightseeing spot, is about 16 kilometers and takes about two hours, making it an exciting experience.

The river cruise is available throughout the year, and the scenery of the Hozu Gorge, with its cherry blossoms, azaleas, fresh greenery, autumn leaves, and snow, offers a unique experience in any season.

The gorge is lined with rapids and pools rich in huge rocks and boulders, and features such sights as Ootakase, Futamata-no-se, Tono no fisheries, Onna-fuchi, Eboshi-iwa, Armor-iwa, Kaeru-iwa, Shomo-iwa, Lion-iwa, and others.

Boat Rafting Since the Edo Period

The Hozu River was built as a waterway in 1606 by Ryoto Kadokura, a merchant, in order to transport products from the Tamba region to Kyoto.

He obtained permission from the Edo shogunate for river improvement work and the right to collect passage fees, and began construction.
After five months of work, rocks in the water were crushed with a mallet, rocks above the water were burned and crushed, shallows were filled with stones to make them deeper, and waterfalls were drilled upstream to level them out so that Takaseboats could pass through.

In the past, once loaded down the river, the Takase-bune was towed upstream by a person who spent about four hours pulling the boat on the river. On the right bank of the Hozu River, there was a path to take the boats back to Kameoka.

From Luggage Boats to Sightseeing Boats

With the development of land transportation, such as the opening of the railroad, transportation switched to land transportation, and by around 1948, the Hozu River was no longer used for boat transportation. However, because of its proximity to Arashiyama and Sagano, Kyoto's representative sightseeing spots, sightseeing boats began to take tourists down the river in 1885.

This elegant cruise down the Hozu River has appeared in several literary works, including Natsume Soseki's "Agubincho" (The Field of Poppies), as well as works by such authors as Ben Mizukami, Usueda Crying Violet, Omachi Keigetsu, and Mishima Yukio.

Kameoka and Arashiyama, the departure and arrival points

Kameoka, where the boat terminal is located, is the site where Mitsuhide Akechi built the castle and castle town of Kameyama in Tanba in 1578.

The landing place down the river is Arashiyama and Sagano, one of the most famous sightseeing spots in Kansai.
The Wataratsuki Bridge is right in front of you, and nearby are the World Heritage Site Tenryuji Temple, Nison-in Temple, Gion-ji Temple, Nomiya Shrine, Daikaku-ji Temple, and Okochi-Sanso Villa.

Returning from Arashiyama

If you are using a car, free parking is available at the boarding area, and you can return to the boarding area by JR.

Landing→15 min. walk→JR Saga-Arashiyama Station→North Exit of JR Kameoka Station→6 min. walk→Boarding area

Skilled craftsmanship and dynamic boat paths

The boat for river cruising is a shallow-bottomed river boat with a capacity of 16 passengers.
Three boatmen, or two more depending on the wind and water volume, control the boat in unison as it travels down the river, which is dotted with rapids and huge rocks.

At the bow of the boat, the "pole holder" controls the long pole and adjusts the direction of the boat, while behind him the "oar puller" rows the wooden oars and acts as the engine, and behind him the "helmsman" determines the course of the boat.

The Hozu River, which serves as the route, is a complex course, with a 7.3-km straight line that meanders 11.5 km.

The direction of the course undulates and there are numerous sharp turns, and the skill with which the boat is maneuvered and the distance between the boat and the splashing water make for an exciting experience.

Specialty: The concession boat

As the landing site approaches and the river slows down, a boat with lanterns approaches and lays on the boat.

This boat is a teahouse along the river, the Kotogase teahouse boat, where you can buy refreshments and enjoy the hot taste while on the boat.

At the teahouse, which was established in 1919 and has a tradition of operating with a pole in the days when there were no engines,
The teahouse offers a full lineup of oden, mitarashi dumplings, ikayaki, juice, beer, and more.

Hozu River Rafting

Since about 20 years ago, rafting down the Hozu River has been offered in rubber rafts.

Rafting is a popular activity, as you can enjoy the thrill of paddling yourself through large rocks and down rapids.
Trolley Train

Along with the Hozugawa River rafting, the Sagano Kanko Line's trolley trains are also famous in Hozukyo. The train runs along the valley of Hozu Gorge, so you can enjoy the scenery of the four seasons from the open-air carriages with no windows.


Hozu River Rafting
Official Site
1 Shimonakajima, Hozu-cho, Kameoka City, Kyoto Prefecture
Telephone number
Hours of operation

9:00 - 15:00 (boarding time)
*Operates irregularly on Saturdays, Sundays, and national holidays.
In case of rain, tents are set up on the boats and the boats operate as usual.
In case of rain, a tent will be put on the boat and the boat will sail as usual.


New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day
In case of stormy weather or rising water, the boat will not be in operation.

Admission fee

Regular ferry service (in winter, a heated boat is available)
Adults 4,100 yen
Children 2,700 yen (4 years old to elementary school students)

Parking lot
Free 100 cars

10 minutes on foot from Kameoka Station on the JR Sagano Line

Kyoto Kameoka, Tamba, Fukuchiyama Arashiyama, Takao Kansai
Sightseeing trains, Sightseeing boats, Cruise ships Autumn leaves Mountains, Mountain passes, Plateaus, Wetlands, Valleys Experience


Arashiyama, Takao