Due to COVID-19, some information contained in articles may be out of date. Please check with establishments directly or see their websites for up to date info.
May. 11, 2020 UPDATE
Kamo River - 鴨川 -
Traveler Friendly
A place where you can enjoy a sense of unity with nature. It's also a good place to visit after temples close.
Information
Some Information boards are available in English.
Languages spoken
No staff at location
Downtown Scenery Popular
8754 149 9.4 3 reviews
May. 11, 2020 UPDATE

Kamo River

- 鴨川 -
Traveler Friendly
A place where you can enjoy a sense of unity with nature. It's also a good place to visit after temples close.
Information
Some Information boards are available in English.
Languages spoken
No staff at location
Downtown Scenery Popular
8754 149 9.4 3 reviews
Story & Recommendation
Kamo River – Exceptional Cherry Blossoms, Kabuki and Riverside Chats
In Kyoto, the Kamo River is one of, if not the most popular hang out spot in the entire city.
Walking along its banks, you’ll see joggers, bike riders, couples and families.
In spring, the river also becomes one of the best places to admire Japan’s beautiful cherry blossoms as the riverbanks fill with the dainty pink petals.
While it’s a rather subdued, peaceful place today,, the Kamo River has been overseeing Kyoto for over 1,200 years, so has seen quite a bit in its day.
Sitting slightly lower down on the river on downtown Kyoto’s largest shopping street, the Shijo Bridge connects the Gion district in the east and Shijo-dori in the west.
You’ll more than likely cross this bridge at some point during your time in Kyoto as the Gion district, known for the famous Minamiza Kabuki Theater, the birthplace of Kabuki, is one of the city’s central most sightseeing spots.
North of the Gion and the Shijo Bridge is the Sanjo Bridge whose rails have a sword mark said to have been inflicted during a fight between the Shinsengumi special police force and ronin samurai in the 1864 Ikedaya Incident.
Walking along the river, you’ll often spot fish swimming in the river and birds flying above – however, watch out if you plan on having a picnic by the river as hawk-like black kites are known to try swoop in on whatever you’re eating.
The Kamo River is more than anything a wonderful place to feel both the history of this ancient city and take a load off after a long day of sightseeing in the east or shopping in the west.
1Highlight
The Shijo bridge
The Shijo bridge
The Shijo Bridge connects the Gion district with downtown Kawaramachi. When you cross the bridge, pass the birthplace of kabuki theatre, the Minamiza Theater, and continue down the street, you’ll end up at the Yasaka Shrine. The riverbanks below this bridge are loved by locals and tourists alike and you’ll be sure to catch joggers, people out for walks and couples chatting by the river. If you’re here with family or friends, we highly recommending doing it like the locals and grabbing a spot along the river to sit back and just chill out.
2Highlight
The Sanjo bridge
The Sanjo bridge
Walking north of Shijo Bridge, you’ll come across the aptly named Sanjo Bridge. When you reach the bridge, watch out for the black mark that looks like a squinted eye on the bridge’s railing across the road from the Starbucks. It’s said that this mark was made by a samurai sword during a famous clash between the special government police force known as the Shinsengumi and masterless ronin samurai of the Choshu and Tosa clans in 1864 known as the Ikedaya Incident. This right here is just one of the countless marks that history has left on this ancient and storied city.
3Good Experiences
The Kamo River and Takano River Junction
The Kamo River and Takano River Junction
About 3 km north of the Shijo Bridge is a confluence between the Kamo River coming from the northwest and the Takano River from the northeast. The area sits just below the Shimogamo Shrine and has a number of park benches. On sunny days, the area is usually abuzz with people having picnics, playing in the river and hopping between the stepping stones – one of the much-loved attractions of the Kamo River enjoyed by people of all ages. Among the stones you’ll even see some animal shaped ones too! Including turtles and cute wee plover birds – so you’ll definitely be sure to stop and snap a picture of two!
4Good Experiences
Enjoy a Riverside Kawayuka Terrace in Summer
Enjoy a Riverside Kawayuka Terrace in Summer
During summer (May 1 to end of September), the restaurants along the Kamo River begin offering outdoor dining on riverside kawayuka terraces. First begun in the Edo period (1603–1868), these terrace dining experiences are now well and truly a Kyoto summer tradition. Between the 2 km stretch of river between Nijo-dori/the Kyoto Imperial Palace and Gojo-dori, there are more than 90 kawayuka. You may also notice that all of the terraces are uniform in both height and appearance. This is because the city has standardized them in order to give the river a consistent look.
- Manner & Tips -
While eating and drinking (inc. alcohol) is permitted along the banks of the Kamo River, you are expected to take your rubbish home with you. 
Please respect this and don’t ruin others’ memories or experience of this beautiful natural space.

Share
Page Top