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 use long bamboo poles for the steering. Best Ryokans in Kyoto Experience the Ultimate Japanese Hospitality at a Kyoto Ryokan.
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The whole setting feels like being transferred 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 an over 1300-year-old fishing method that 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

Local guide in Kyoto

How about exploring the beautiful Arashiyama district in Kyoto with a local guide? The personalized tour by our partner GetYourGuide can take up to 5 hours. For more details check out this page >


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 in 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. This structure has a length of 155 meters. Read more >

Matsunoo Taisha Shrine - The shrine was founded in 701. It is one of the oldest shrines in Kyoto and is well-known for the huge vermilion torii gate at the entrance. The height of the gate is 14 meters.

Iwatayama Monkey Park - You will find in the park over 120 really active monkeys:) You can feed them, but be careful these are still wild animals.

Festival & Events (dates can change without notice)

mid-June to mid-September

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


Miyako Odori (1st - 31st)
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 the Imperial Palace through the Shimogamo Shrine and ends at the Kamigamo Shrine (Kamigamo-jinja). 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 of 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 lasts 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.

Book your Japan trip and have a great time!

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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.

View on Expedia.com