Each month I ask the kids what their favourite traveling experiences have been so far while travelling with Mum!
This month I asked Laura (18 years old).
What is one of the experiences you have loved so far?
I loved the Hozu -gawa River boat because it was a somewhat relaxing and it was a different experience to what people would normally do in Japan.
Why should others go?
I think others should go to be surround by a relaxing and natural atmosphere and to escape the busyness of the cities.
As we left the train station at Kameoka we were met with silence and a thick fog that encased us like a blanket. The river below us enticed us to come closer, to enjoy its beauty and take in everything it had to offer while exploring from the Hozu -gawa Riverboat Ride. Upon arriving at the departure point we were introduced to the skillful men who would take us on the two hour journey towards Arashiyama and guide us safely down through the rapids, avoiding the perilous rocks that surround the water.
We boarded the river boat filled with excited anticipation, quickly taking our assigned seats and attaching our PDF belts. Soon we took off, eerily forging our way through the fog with no other sound but the squeaking of the paddle and the quiet splashing as it hit the water. We continued along feeling like we were the only people who had ventured out today, explorers of this beautiful natural environment. Our wonderful guides enthusiastically described what we were experiencing, pointing out points of interest, and although they spoke mainly Japanese it didn’t deter from the experience as we found ourselves laughing at jokes that we didn’t quiet understand!
It wasn’t long till we hit some rapids, indicated by the guides calling “danger” in perfect English, so we prepared ourselves for a dousing of water by holding up the splash guards that surrounded the edge of the boat. I shouldn’t have worried too much as each time, we were expertly maneuvered down through the raging rapids by the skilled boat men so not a drop of water hit me. In the calm, still waters I was awestruck by the eye striking beauty of the area surrounding us. Autumn leaves surrounded the mountains on either side of us, the red and orange hues so stunning that it took my breath away, while colossal boulders were just in arms reach, some having the most unusual shapes. Wildlife was also abundant, mainly water birds who floated by cautiously watching our every move, as well as a random dear slowly making its way through the forest. There was no one to be seen for Kilometers until suddenly we came across a group of men, lounging on their boats, rafted up to enjoy a breakfast feast together, a small glimpse into life on the river.
To soon, after passing under many bridges, making our way down raging rapids and experiencing the beauty of this area up close, we came to our disembarking area at Arashiyama, our senses filled to the brim with memories we will never forget!
Where?: The Hozu-gawa River boat ride begins close by the JR Kameka train station, close to Kyoto, Japan.
How much? 4,100 yen Adult, 2,700 yen Children.
Where we stayed: Ibis Styles Kyoto Station, Kyoto.
Need to know: The river boat departs at set times each day check out their website for more, The easiest way to get to the departure point is to catch the train from Kyoto to Arashiyama then onto Kameoka (all JR lines), there is a “vintage train” that also leaves Arashiyama station but I don’t think it was worth the added expense, the river boats run in all weather (they have heated seats in Winter), don’t worry if you cant understand Japanese the riverboat men are still so entertaining!, you can either arrange to book the river boat through your hotel concierge, at Arashiyama station ( near where the vintage train leaves, just tell them you just want to catch the JR line train up instead of the vintage one) or at the departure building for the river boat, bring you camera but beware of water splashes! at the end of the ride you can explore the rest of Arashiyama including the famous bamboo grove!
Would you like to experience the Hozu-gawa River boat ride?
Have you been on a similar boat ride? Where was that?