Riverside fun in Kyoto City
Text: Mariko Yamashita / Photo: Takashi Oka
Kamogawa River has its source in the mountains of Kitayama and Sajikigatake. It flows for 30 km until reaching Katsuragawa river. The river has held many written characters until today, but now it is commonly written as '賀茂川' at the upper flow above Takanogawa river, and '鴨川' at the lower flow after joining Takanogawa.
This article will feature on Kamogawa Delta, a delta at the joining section with Takanogawa that is close to Keihan Line, Demachiyanagi Station. It is a popular spot that appears in many films like Kamogawa Horumo (2009), Pacchigi (2005), and Keion! (animation). It is crowded day and night but is especially so in summer when people come to play at the riversides.
Demachiyanagi area is full of shops and restaurants. It is one of Kyoto's special feature that a great nature can be enjoyed despite being in the city center. Small fish are swimming in the river, the great Tadasu-no-mori forest of Shimogamo Shrine in north, Mount Hieizan which is one of the most important monasteries in Japan in the east and a great view of Daimonji-yama famous for its okuribi (sending fire) during obon season. One can enjoy all these great views just by standing at the center of this delta.
This is the 'tobi ishi' (stepping/jumping stones) that is placed across the river. A turtle shaped stone is popular among the tourists and many students are seen taking photo on top of it. Of course the stones are stepped across by the local people when they want to go to the other side.
Kamogawa Delta is a great location for sakura viewing in spring, noryo-yuka terrace in summer, autumn leaves and running course during winter. As Emperor Shirakawa left a famous word that only three things refused to obey his will “The waters of the Kamo River, the fall of the backgammon dice and the priests of Enryakuji Temple.” This river had brought numbers of disaster to the people by flooding, yet it had also been a sacred river referred during festivals and ceremonies.