Head to a Yuka Dining During Sunset! (5-7 p.m.)
From May to September it may be tempting to have lunch at a yuka, but we would like to again recommend you make your reservation for dinner. The sunset is usually between 5 and 7 p.m. and during this special time of the day you can experience something truly out of the ordinary: the murmur of the river slowly streaming by, the glistening of the last rays of sunlight on the surface of it, and the cool air flowing from the mountains, all the while the sky changes from the orange and red of sunset to the deep blue of night.
The yuka dining is an opportunity to experience dining out in a way that is close to nature but in the beating heart of the city. Leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind you and enjoy dining out on a yuka terrace!
The name yuka (床) is used in Kyoto when talking of riverside dining by the Kamo River, but sometimes the names nouryouyuka (納涼床) and kawayuka (川床) are also used. In the north Kyoto, in the Kibune and Takao areas, yuka is called kawadoko (川床). In northern Kyoto people often enjoy their kawadoko (yuka) surrounded by natural green scenery.
Already in the time of Tokugawa Ieyasu in the Edo period, there were around 400 tea houses that had yuka terrace seating for their patrons. The yuka terraces began to become a normal part of spending the summer around the area of Kyoto.
During this period, the time for yuka was normally from July to August, and the high-above-ground style that is prevalent now became popular. As you can see the picture, not all yuka were like this, and in this picture, you can see a yuka under the Sanjo Ohashi Bridge.
The culture of yuka disappeared once due to the events of World War II, but thanks to the ingenuity and hard work of the people of Kyoto, yuka was revived after the war. Now there are many kinds of yuka restaurants, from izakaya bars to restaurants serving kaiseki cuisine. Yuka is the most refreshing of the summer traditions of Kyoto.
Yuka has been through many generations of changes, but it still has managed to keep its traditional facade. In the heart of yuka you can find the heartfelt hospitality of Japanese people, “omotenashi.” If you continue with us to the next part, you may find a list of restaurants we think are great for experiencing yuka in Kyoto.