2011/06/30

KYO: Hozugawa River Cruising & Sagano Romantic Train

Hozugawa River Cruising & Sagano Romantic Train


Sagano Romantic Train

This year, it was so hot all over Japan and Kyoto was not exceptional. Basically, people say summer in Kyoto is one of the severest because of its humidity. For me, it is also one of the favorite things of Kyoto in the meaning of having fun of beautiful four seasons. So, when I feel hot, it seems the best to go out, looking for the place to cool myself in nature. This time, I decided to experience the river cruising in Hozugawa River. First, I took a train to Saga Arashiyama station to take a tram. It is called Sagano Romantic Train. The train is for enjoying the scenery and the nature around that area, so one of the cars is open-air. Since I had some time before the train leaves, I walked to Arashiyama station through the Chikurin-no Komichi (bamboo path). On the way, I could stop at Nonomiya Jinja Shrine, and Okochi Sanso Villa. The path was cool enough, and I could feel the beauty of Japan from the humble color of those bamboo trees. From Arashiyama station, I took a train to Kameoka station. On the way, I enjoyed the cool wind and the scenery of the gorge. Upon arrival at Kameoka station, I took the shuttle bus to the pier. Honestly speaking, this shuttle bus is just a normal local bus, so it was not fun to take this bus. If you think it would be boring or too much of a bother, you can skip this tram, and just take a taxi or chartered car to this pier. Or, it is possible to book a taxi in advance from Kameoka station to the pier. The boat allows 30 people at maximum, and it was almost full at that time. (It is also possible to privatize if you need it, especially for VIP clients.) The river cruising took around 1.5 hours on that day, and the river was not so rapid as I expected. Also, I felt it just a little bit touristic. Of course, the scenery was beautiful, and it was cool, but I was wondering if it was worth paying the cost of JPY3,900 per person. Actually, I really enjoyed and laughed a lot during the cruising, but that was because the boatman was very funny. They tried to entertain us, with many jokes. However, the point is, it was in Japanese so that I am wondering if it was interesting for foreigners. So, when you would like to recommend this cruising to your clients, it might be a bit tough. If it was privatized, probably, people can enjoy the scenery, talking with their friends/family, drinking & eating. I hope this would be a good advice for you. Also, let me tell you that each season has its own beauty, so if you tried in Spring, it would be wonderful to see the cherry blossoms, or in Autumn for colored leaves. If I had another chance, I would be happy to try again.

The boat and the boatman
<Overview>Even though I wrote as the above, I was moved to hear that this river cruising had 400 years history. It was started in 1606, as a boat for transporting lumbers to the city center of Kyoto from the northern area. After they go down the stream, and left those lumbers, the boatmen dragged the boat to upstream. One man was on the boat, doing steering, and another man dragged the rope attached to the boat. You can see the small path that the boatman walked, along the river. Nowadays, the boats are transported to upstream by a car.

<High Spots>
When you try it, I would like to suggest these;
-   To look at the small path that the boatman walked.
-   To buy beers or other drinks, and snacks during the cruising. There is another boat, approaching your boat to sell those. You do not have to buy, but it is a kind of joy for cruising.