Sep. 06, 2023 UPDATE

Cool summer model plan to enjoy luxurious Kyoto cuisine on a terrace right above the river!

Refresh yourself from the heat with forest bathing! Here are some cool "Kawadoko" riverbed plans that can be enjoyed in the Kibune area, "the backroom" of Kyoto. Utako, a Kyoto native and gourmet former shrine maiden, will introduce with confidence her recommended course!
Kibune Kawadoko

This time I would like to introduce a plan to enjoy the "Kawadoko" riverbed, a tatami room specially prepared only during this time of the year. Kawadoko are outdoor terrace seats set directly above the river. Kyoto's summers are humid and very hot. That's why this plan is a great way to cool off.

The babbling of the river and the breeze in the lush foliage will surely refresh your body and mind as you savor your meal!
* This plan requires concierge attendance. If you would like to participate in this plan, please sign up for our Premium Membership Service or apply for a customized tour.

It is recommended for those:

・ Who want to visit parts of Kyoto that are still unknown to most tourists.
・ Who wish to enjoy seasonal Kyoto cuisine.
・ Who want to refresh yourself in a cool place to escape Kyoto's summer heat.

Request a Private & Custom tour like this from Sharing Kyoto Local Guide

11:30 Take the Eizan Train to Kibune

Meet the concierge at Demachiyanagi Station on the Eizan Railway.

First, take the Eizan Train to Kibune. It takes about 30 minutes to reach Kibuneguchi Station. Gradually, you will feel the scenery change from the hustle and bustle of the city to the woodlands and then the mountains. Along the way, there is a spot called "Momiji (Maple)Tunnel" where you can see many maple trees through the windows. Make sure you don't miss it!

The restaurant will pick you up at the station, so switch to a car and head to the restaurant.

12:50 Visit Kifune Shrine

After getting out of the car, let's greet the gods of this land by visiting Kifune Shrine!  The large torii gate that stands out against the lush foliage is a landmark.

Go up the stairs to visit the main shrine. Enshrined at Kifune Shrine is the god of water. It is responsible for calling the clouds to make it rain, and for making the rain that has fallen store up in the ground and spring out little by little. It is also said to bring good luck in matchmaking.

In honor of this, you can draw a special "Omikuji" fortune slip called "Mizuuramikuji" at Kifune Shrine. When you float a seemingly blank Omikuji in the water, letters will appear on it. Please give it a try!

From July 1 to August 15, visitors can also experience the summer tradition of writing "Tanzaku" strips of paper. It is said that if you write your wishes on colorful strips of paper and tie them to the bamboo branches, your wishes will come true. At night, the area is illuminated, creating a fantastic atmosphere.

When you are reasonably hungry, head upstream along the Kibune River!

13:20 Now it's time to go to the Kawadoko riverbed!

This time, we will introduce a ryokan called "Okukifune Hyoue".

There are many restaurants along the Kibune River, but Hyoue is located upstream from the river, making it even cooler.

Go down the stairs leading to the river and head to the long-awaited Kawadoko.

Kawadoko riverbeds are available only from May to around September. Because the floor is stretched just above the river, it is significantly cooler than on the ground. The murmuring of the river and the rustling of the trees will soothe your body and soul. Even if you are sweating after walking around the shrine, you will be able to enjoy the cool air flowing through the river.

*The Kawadoko riverbed does not have a roof to shelter from rain, so if it rains, you will eat inside the restaurant.

There are several courses available on the riverbed, including river fish dishes, pike conger eel shabu-shabu, beef shabu-shabu, and more. Make your choice at the time of reservation!

Recommended is the "River Fish Cuisine - Ayu", a course meal featuring fresh river fish such as Ayu sweetfish, carp, and Amago trout. For people in Kyoto, which is far from the sea, "river fish" is the fish that comes to mind. Among them, Ayu sweetfish is a very important fish for Kyoto people. Fresh Ayu sweetfish, which is said to have a refreshing aroma reminiscent of cucumbers and watermelons, is an essential part of Kyoto's summer. This course is recommended for those who want to enjoy the Ayu sweetfish!

“Salt-grilled Ayu sweetfish”, which is made by grilling Ayu caught in Kibune with bamboo grass, is not only fragrant, but also bright and appetizing. It is served on bamboo very tastefully.

This is "Himuro Somen", in a bowl made with real ice. The firm, cold noodles will make you forget the heat. The Shiso flower ears on top can be eaten, and together with the "Sudachi" citrus, they add a refreshing touch.

The final dish is "Ayu Hitsumabushi" (sweetfish stew). Hitsumabushi is a dish of broiled eel on rice. However, at Hyoue, you can enjoy "Ayu sweetfish Hitumabushi", which can only be found here! Try the luxurious experience of having hot Hitsumabushi on a cool riverbed.

We said that the Kawadoko are set up directly above the river, but in fact, you can put your bare feet directly on the river from your tatami room. After you finish your meal, why not cool off by dipping your feet in the cool river water?

At "Hyoue" that we introduced this time, in addition to Kawadoko cuisine in the summer, you can enjoy seasonal dishes such as mountain wild vegetable dishes in the spring, handmade sweets and cafes in the fall, and "Botan nabe" (boar meat hot pot) in the winter. It is also a ryokan, so if you stay overnight, you will be able to fully enjoy the beauty of Kibune.

15:30 Dismissal

Say goodbye to the concierge here! You may return to town by train or visit Okumiya, the innermost shrine of Kifune Shrine. A short distance away, you can also visit Mt. Kurama, where it is said that Tengu (long-nosed goblins) come out. There is a splendid temple, so it is very pleasant to stroll around there.

How was it? Our concierges, who know how to enjoy Kyoto to the fullest, can offer you the best Kyoto experience. If you want to fully enjoy your trip to Kyoto, please use our concierge service!

Request a Private & Custom tour like this from Sharing Kyoto Local Guide
If you are interested in our concierge service, please click here for more information.

Utako[ Sharing Kyoto Staff ]
If you would like to experience this plan or would like us to arrange it more to your liking, please contact our concierge! We also offer many plans that allow you to enjoy Kyoto summer in a different way from the Kawadoko. We look forward to hearing from you!
Related keywords
Cultural Experience See Temples & Shrines Traditional Japanese Food Kaiseki / Kyo Ryori (Kyoto Cuisine) Summer Kyoto Cuisine Kibune Kawadoko Kurama & Kibune Other Kyoto Area Kurama & Kibune

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