March 21, 2004
These men who navigate through relaxing currents and white water rapids are in some cases the descendents of the original pilots dating back to 1606. In those times the boats were not used for tourist purposes, but rather for those of trade, transporting lumber and rice to the town of Arashiyama. The two hour journey follows the historical trade route through spectacular natural scenery featuring steep mountain cliffs and natural forests of bamboo, cedar, and pine. The beauty of the autumn foliage is stunning and overwhelming and is easily viewed from the boats. But take care to make a reservation early as peak travel seasons often mean long waits or sold-out seats.
The river ride ends near Arashiyama, one of Kyoto's most famous travel destinations. Individuals in Arashiyama have options of walking through peaceful bamboo groves en-route to the Torokko Romantic Train Station at Arashiyama, or taking advantage of the sights of Arashiyama. The Torokko Romantic Train can be used to go back to Kameoka or can be taken to Hozukyo Station, another Kyoto tourist location famous for its hiking trails.
Boats operate from about March 10 through November 30 (depending on weather conditions). Winter boats with heated seating are available from December 1 to March 9. There is no service from December 29-January 4. Rides are pricy at 4000 Yen per person, but they do include free crooning by the boat’s pilots. Hozugawa-Kudari can be accessed on foot. The walking journey to the boat pier will take about 20 minutes from Kameoka Station. The course is well-marked with signs translated in English.
From journal Kyoto / Osaka Peregrination #2