April 22, 2018
by Kensei Iizuka, Yuta kobayashi, Takanori Tsuhako
Kameoka is a city located to the west of Kyoto and is the third most populated city next to Kyoto and Uji. Even though it is famous for Japanese tourists, it is not so popular with foreign tourists. Kameoka is quite a unique and relaxing place because of its nature, such as beautiful mountains and rivers. In addition, there are some good hot springs in Kameoka. In this article, we will introduce these famous spots in Kameoka and suggest a model route for seeing them.
Kameoka Station is the point of entry for a trip to Kameoka. This station looks very small compared with Kyoto station, but there is an information center for visitors. If you don’t have a plan for your visit to Kameoka or if you have some questions, you should stop by the information center to get plenty of beneficial information. It takes about 20 minutes from Kyoto station by rapid train to get to Kameoka Station. Trains that reach Kameoka on the JR Sanin line have a very convenient timetable, which is consists of five trains per an hour. The train fare is 410 yen.
Sagano Romantic train (Torokko train)
For tourists who want to enjoy a a more leisurely way to get to Kameoka instead of taking a boring express train, we recommend the Sagano Romantic Train. This train is not the normal train you often see in most stations. By taking it, you can enjoy the natural beauty of the Hozu River canyon on an open-air train through the mountains. You can experience the Japanese sense of shiki (the four seasons) because cherry trees are in bloom in the spring, bright green leaves are out in the summer, and beautiful autumn-colored leaves appear in the moderate temperature of the fall. Furthermore, you can have a memorable experience with the extreme white landscape of winter, even though it is super cold. Tickets are 620 yen for adults and 310 yen for children. All seats are reserved. Tickets are available at Torokko stations and also JR West ticket counters. Please check the official website of this train to get latest information, such as its operating schedule.
Hozugawa-Kudari (River Boat Ride)
You are tired of sightseeing various kinds of famous temples and shrines located in the center of Kyoto, aren’t you? There is no place to be active in nature so much in the big city. Therefore, you should go to Kameoka to do Hozugawa-Kudari, which is a river boat ride going down a beautiful emerald green river surrounded by a steep tree covered canyon. This is completely exciting and makes you feel like you are riding on a roller coaster. You can enjoy shiki on this activity, as well as the Sagano Romantic train. Visitors can ride on the boats at the dock located just a 10 minute walk from the north exit of JR Kameoka Station. Boarding time is 9:00, 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, 13:00, 14:00, 15:30. You should check the official website before going there because this activity is easily influenced by the weather.
Izumo-Dai Jingu is getting popular among young people as the one of spiritual places in Kyoto. It is believed that there are gods regarding marriage, longevity and money residing here. People who are interested in them come to the shrine and pray to the gods. Especially, it is said that god of marriage is very strong. If you really want a boyfriend or girlfriend or to get married, this is a highly recommended place. It is located approximately 6 km from Kameoka station, so you should take a bus bound for Izumo-Shrine mae at the Kameoka station bus terminal.
The Vestige of Kameyama Castle
Mitsuhide Akechi, one of the most powerful rulers in Japan in the 16th century, built Kameyama castle to rule Tanba region. Unfortunately, however, visitors cannot experience it in its full splendor because it was burned down in Taisho-era. Now, all that remains are just part of the moat and castle base. They remind visitors of the form of the defunct castle structure. This site is a 10-minute walk from Kameoka station. Entrance is free of charge.
The Recommendation of Restaurant
There is a fashionable and sophisticated restaurant with bright orange and white colors in Kameoka. It is called Daikoku Burger, which is basically a hamburger restaurant using local food. The most popular hamburger in this restaurant is the ‘Daikoku Burger’. It is made with fresh tomatoes, lettuce, and very juicy meat with creamy mayonnaise between soft buns using a plenty of rice flour. Most of its ingredients are made right here in Kyoto. It must be delicious! It is also a 10-minute walk from Kameoka station.
- JR Kameoka Station
↓ (10 min. Walk) Heading to South of the station. Walk along the river beside the castle.
- The Vestige of Kameyama Castle
You can see a fixed stone wall. You can also walk around the garden if you get permission from the staff.
↓ (10 min. Walk) Heading south. The road doesn’t have sections for pedestrians, so you need to be careful of cars.
- Tanzan Sake Brewing
It is a sake manufacturer. You can buy freshly brewed sake. You can also tour the factory, so you can understand how it is made.
↓ (15 min. Walk) Walk along the machiya, which is Japanese traditional wooden townhouses. You can see old Japanese houses built over one hundred years ago.
- Namba Soy Sauce Brewing
It is a soy sauce manufacturer. This manufacturer makes soy sauce in a traditional brewing method. You can buy those nice soy sauces at good prices.
↓ (10 min. Walk) On the way to the next spot, you can see storages for yamahoko, which is a festival float mounted with a decorative halberd used in Kameoka festival every year.
- Honmachi Machiya Café
The house of Honmachi Machiya Café is over a hundred years old. Once you are in the house, you can feel how old the Japanese house really is. The taste of the drink and food are nice as well, so why don’t you take some rest here?
↓ (10 min. Walk)
- Seki Sake Brewing
This is also a traditional sake manufacturer. When you visit here, you will see a chimney made of bricks. You can feel mixture of both Japanese and Western styles here.
↓ (15 min. Walk) You walk along a large road.
- Gentaro Tanaka’s Old Mansion (Rakurakuso)
It is a traditional Japanese-style hotel. The garden is beautiful, so make sure you see it if you visit. Gentaro Tanaka is known as the person who brought the railway to Kyoto.
Many tourists don’t visit Kameoka so often, but there are a lot of nice places there. Why don’t you put Kameoka into your trip plan?