We’re making our way to one of Kyoto’s many temples when we come to a bridge that crosses over a wide river. Along the wide banks of this shallow river, people are everywhere.
This is a gathering place.
We’re at one of the many bridges that cross the Kamogawa, a river that runs through Kyoto from north to south. The banks on either side of the river are wide and level, reminiscent of the broad paths along Paris’ river Seine.
Though there are people walking, running, and biking along the river bank as far as the eye can see, this bridge is a nexus– groups of people gather here more than anywhere else along the river for picnics, after-school chats, and even dance lessons.
Despite the activity, the bridge is still a good place to find a quiet corner to read a book or to just look out over the river and reflect on your day.
The crowds thin out as you move further down the path away from the bridge. Here, people travel in pairs, from a child exploring the river rocks with this mother, to a couple sharing a moment to themselves as they silently walk hand in hand.
Along the path, there are makeshift bridges composed of large stepping stones– perfect for small groups of friends and family to come together.
Classmates laugh and play games as they hop from stone to stone.
An elder fisherman passes on the family secrets to his eager grandson, while grandma looks on with a smile from under the cool shade of an umbrella.
Kyoto does not feel as big as some of Japan’s other cities, but it’s still nice to find a spot where you can escape the noise of the city and catch your breath.
Down by the river, you can relax, take a stroll, or just go with the flow.
Dreaming of Kyoto
- A Look Down Kyoto’s Streets
- Exploring Nishiki Market
- Custom Kabocha Curry in Kyoto
- Down by the River
- This is Kyoto
- The Hidden Palace
- A Temple on Main Street
- At the Foot of the Mountain
- Late Night Kim Chee Fried Rice
- Falling Through Time in Gion
- Crunchy Katsu Curry in Kyoto