Katsura River in Kyoto

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  • Boats on Katsura River in Arashiyama Kyoto

    Katsura River In Kyoto

  • Boats on Katsura River in Arashiyama Kyoto

    Katsura River In Kyoto

  • Katsura River in Arashiyama Kyoto

    Katsura River In Arashiyama Kyoto

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Facts & Figures

The Katsura River (Katsuragawa) gets its name after passing the Togetsukyo Bridge (Moon Crossing Bridge) in Arashiyama. The Hozu and Oi river are the origin of the Katsura River. A boat ride is the perfect way to explore this wonderful area. The boatmen using long bamboo poles for the steering. Best Ryokans in Kyoto Explore Ryokans in Kyoto >
Ryokans are the perfect way to discover old Japanese culture and traditions.
The whole setting feels like being transfered back in time. During the cherry blossom season in spring and the autumn leaves season the scenery is especially beautiful. The river joins later after many kilometers the Uji and Kamo rivers. During summer time you have the chance to see Ukai on the Katsura River. Ukai is a over 1300 years old fishing method which uses trained cormorants to catch river fish like ayu (sweetfish). Besides seeing Ukai you can start a nice hiking tour along the River. The trail along the northern bank of the Katsuro River starts near Togetsukyo Bridge and will lead you to the Kameyama-koen (park). Btw the park is full of monkeys:)

My tips for local activities

I recommend you to book a trip along the scenic Katsura River by train and a tour by boat. Check out this page > for more details.


The Arashiyama district and the Katsura River were in the past, especially during the Heian Period from 794-1185, a very popular destination for the rich and famous of Kyoto. The beauty of the area was praised in literature.


Map of Japan

Katsura River runs through the Arashiyama district on the western part of Kyoto.

How to get to Katsura River?

  • 15min from Kyoto Station to Saga-Arashiyama Station by JR Sagano Line and
  • 10min from Saga-Arashiyama Station to Togetsu-kyo

Sightseeing spots

along the river:

Togetsukyo Bridge - the first bridge at this place was built in 836

Matsuo Shrine - one of the oldest shrines in Kyoto

Iwatayama Monkey Park - you will find there over 170 quite active monkeys:)

Festival & Events (dates can change without notice)

mid-June to mid-September

Ukai (traditional fishing method)
Fishermens on long wooden boats using trained Cormorants for fishing. Trust me you will never forget this experience.


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.


Hanatoro (10 days in Dec)
This illumination festival is held for 10 days in December. Absolute highlight: Do not miss the illumination of the Togetsukyo Bridge over the Katsuro River and the surrounding mountains.

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