Kyoto's Hozugawa River and Kameyama Koen

A little bit away from the rest of the tourist destinations in Kyoto, Hozugawa flows through a mostly-undeveloped ravine. At the point where it exits the ravine to the relatively flat land around Kyoto, it widens and a small park exists at that transition.
 The approach from the station is relatively unimpressive. The water looks refreshing, at least. That's Togetsukyo Bridge in the background, a famous bridge most recently rebuilt in the 1930s.
 Crossing the bridge seen in the prior picture, you can see that the small lake formed by a dam is full of people in rental boats and a few tourist boats as well.
 Across the water is a small hill with several walking paths. These give a good view of the river and the ravine.
 It's a nice hike which, even when the surrounding area was fairly busy, wasn't overrun with tourists. I did pass several people on the trails and paths but I also had plenty of time to myself to relax and enjoy the view.

 The trail system is fairly complex for its size so you have a lot of options. It focuses on nature, though there is a statue somewhere around the middle.
 Some paths are more accessible than others. Make no mistake, this is a good-sized hill. But going toward the back side of the park will provide you with some great views. I don't have a picture here, but there are bamboo groves to walk through as well, which are pretty attractive.
 This is Hozugawa River as it flows through the ravine. The water is pretty calm and the mountains are relatively undeveloped.
 Look closely in the picture and you can see some boats. These boats carry tourists down the river from Kameoka to Arashiyama. I was planning on doing this cruise but time was short and I had other destinations in mind that day. It's still on my Kyoto to-see list. And it's best taken along with a ride on the Sagano Scenic Railway along the mountain.
Several train lines approach the Kameyama area (known as Arashiyama). If you plan on visiting just Kameyama Koen, closest access involves taking the Hankyu or Keifuku Arashiyama line to Arashiyama Station. Coming from Osaka, I arrived on the Hankyu Line (about 5-10 minutes from the bridge). Depending on where in the city you are coming from, you might need to change trains. From Kyoto Station, the JR line has a nearby stop (Saga Arashiyama). It's a direct trip, but a 5-10 minute walk to the bridge.

Tourists planning to take the boat tour should take the JR Sagano Line to Kameoka. Alternately, take the JR Sagano Line to Saga Arashiyama, transfer to the Sagano Scenic Railway (the station is next door, called Torokko Saga) getting off at Torokko Kameoka and taking a short bus ride to the cruise terminal.

The park is free but cruises are about 4100 yen; they depart 9:00-15:30 hourly (10:00-4:30 December through early March, every 90 minutes). On busy days there are more boats and departures are irregular but more frequent. Reservations aren't possible.

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