Kamogawa River in Kyoto

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  • Kamogawa River Cherry Blossom Season in Kyoto

    Kamogawa River Cherry Blossom Season in Kyoto

  • Kamogawa River in Kyoto

    Kamogawa River in Kyoto

  • Kamogawa River in Kyoto

    Kamogawa River in Kyoto

  • Kamogawa River with Sanjo Bridge in Kyoto

    Sanjo Bridge over Kamogawa River in Kyoto

  • Kamogawa River with Sanjo Bridge in Kyoto

    Sanjo Bridge over Kamogawa River in Kyoto

  • Kamogawa River Crossing in Kyoto

    Kamogawa River Crossing in Kyoto

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Facts & Figures

The Kamogawa River, also called Wild Duck River, is running through downtown Kyoto. The riverbanks are a popular area for locals and tourists alike. Every season has something special to offer. I stayed there during the cherry blossom season and the scenery was just beautiful. The cherry trees can be found in the northern part beyond Demachiyanagi. At certain spots you can cross the river via some stepping stones, which is great fun. And do not worry the river is less than one meter deep. Best Ryokans in Kyoto Experience the Ultimate Japanese Hospitality at a Kyoto Ryokan.
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In the summertime restaurants along the Kamogawa River open up nice terraces and balconies overlooking the stream. You will find these special restaurants along the Pontocho Alley. It is one of the best places in Kyoto for an amazing dinning experience. If you are lucky you will be able to see a geisha or maiko taking a walk along the riverbanks. My tips: Make a stroll at night when the illumination creates a really romantic atmosphere. Also a great way to explore the area is via bicycle. You can rent one in the Gion district.

My tips for local activities

Local guide in Kyoto

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In ancient Kyoto the Kamogawa River was an important source of drinking water for its population. The water was also used for the famous Kyo-Yuzen dyeing technique. The technique was invented by Miyazaki Yuzensai (1654 – 1736) and used for fans, kimonos and yukatas. The process is extremely complex and involves many steps. Another interesting fact is that stones from the river are used as a glaze ingredient in the traditional Japanese rake pottery. In 1603 Izumo no Okuni (1578 - 1613) and her group started performing a new art form on a small stage in the dry riverbed of the Kamogawa River. It was the birthplace of kabuki.


Map of Japan

Kamogawa River is running from north to south through downtown Kyoto.

How to get to Kamogawa River?

  • 10min from Kyoto Station to Shijo Kawaramachi stop by bus 4, 5, 17, or 205 or
  • 10min walk from Kyoto Station

Sightseeing spots nearby Kamogawa in downtown Kyoto


Kaburenjo Theatre - Geisha and Maiko come here to practice their art form. The performance theatre was founded in 1873. The most important event there is the annual Miyako Odori in April, where Geisha perform their traditional dances.

Gion District - The Gion district in Kyoto is the most famous geisha district in Japan. Walk along the old traditional wooden machiya merchant houses and enjoy the Edo times atmosphere. Read more >

Pontocho Alley - If your are looking for an amazing dining experience this is the place to be. Read more >

Shimogamo Shrine - The shrine, also called Kamomioya-jinja, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the oldest and most important Shinto Shrines in Japan. Read more >

Festival & Events in Kyoto (dates can change without notice)


Miyako Odori (1st - 31th)
The traditional annual spring dance of the Kyoto district Gion Kobu performed by Geiko and Maiko is a must-see on your Kyoto visit. Don't miss the most popular dances the Miyako Odori "Cherry Blossom Dances" or "Dances of the Old Capital" at the Gion Kobu Kaburenjo Theater (located close to Gion Corner).


Aoi Matsuri (15th)
The highlight of this festival is a large parade from Imperial Palace through Shimogamo Shrine to the Kamo Shrines. More than 500 people wearing aristocratic costumes from the Heian Period (794 - 1185). The Aoi Matsuri belongs with the Gion Matsuri and Jidai Matsuri to the three most famous festivals in Kyoto.


Gion Matsuri (whole month)
The month July is full of different events like the Yoiyama - Kyoto's Magical Night (locals in kimonos look at the giant Gion floats the day before the parade) or the famous Yamaboko Junko (float procession on the 17th of July).


Jidai Matsuri ("Festival of Ages") (22nd)
People celebrate with a large parade between Imperial Palace to Heian Shrine the anniversary of the foundation of Kyoto. App. 2000 participants wearing historical costumes from different time periods. Enjoy this great festival which last around 2 hours.

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My 100 Best Moments in Japan

Yokohama Street Scene

I have visited Japan nearly every year since 2004. This is my collection of the 100 best moments in my favorite country. Enjoy the pictures and I hope you will start your own journey soon.
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Books about Japan

My recommended books about Japan

Reading books is a great source of inspiration for me. Check out my recommended list of books about the fascinating country Japan.
My Book recommendations >

Top rated - Best Machiya Houses in Kyoto

THE MACHIYA Ebisuya, 192 Ebisuya-cho Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto 600-8062

This 3-star guesthouse got an excellent rating. All 30 individually furnished rooms offer free WiFi, air conditioning, bathrooms incl. toilets, fridges, 40-inch flat-screen TVs, and more. THE MACHIYA Ebisuya is located in central Kyoto.

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The Machiya Kazahaya, 570-6 Kazahayacho, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto, 600-8475

The Machiya Kazahaya offers for all guest rooms free WiFi, air conditioning, safes, bathrooms with toilets, refrigerators, and much more. Enjoy also the beautiful Japanese Garden. Guests gave this property the rating - Exceptional.

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Kyomachiya Ryokan Sakura Urushitei, 425 Kichimonjicho, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, 600-8069

This beautiful 3-star guesthouse offers 32 rooms with free WiFi, air conditioning, bathrooms incl. showers and toilets, refrigerators, and much more. Enjoy also the relaxing indoor public bath (no minerals). Guests gave this property the rating - Wonderful.

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