Sagano Torokko Train ・ Hozu-gawa river rafting

Enjoy Arashiyama nature fully from a train window of a trolley, and from a rafting boat.


Text : Yumi Oki


  Arashiyama, one of the most famous sightseeing places in Kyoto. When you visit Arashiyama which was loved by Heian nobles, Sagano Torokko Train and Hozu-gawa river rafting are the one you might want to try. These spots are pretty much famous in these days, but there is a story that it was really hard to make what they are right now.

  In April 2016, Sagano Torokko Train became 25 years old. When they established a company, they only had 9 staffs at that time. Without sparing time for sleep, all these staffs put old rails and stations between Arashiyama and Umahori station on the old Sanin Main Line which is a discontinued railroad line along the Hozu-gawa River Gorge and they planted sakura trees and autumn tints trees on the side of railroad and let the trolley run through them.

  Things to support their passion and efforts are the ambition which ‘a wish to have many people enjoy the scenery of Hozu-gawa River line’. It has been 25 years but still their heart has been succeeded in and this sightseeing tram became a synonym for Arashiyama sightseeing spots which you can have a view of a beautiful Hozu-gawa River stream through Arashiyama, Sagano tunnel with Sakura trees in spring time, full of green leaves in summer time, autumn tints colors in fall time, and plains of white in winter time.

  There are two kinds of trams. One is called ‘The Rich’ which you can detach a part of roof top and window glass and able to have a full experience of Arashiyama nature. The other is called ‘Nature Saloon’ which you can still enjoy even it is raining or windy day with a spacious window on. My recommendation is ‘The Rich’. When the autumn tints season comes between mid-October and early December, the railroad line will be lit up and you will never forget the moment you go through autumn colors and perfect breeze while you are on the slow tram.


  Now, let’s talk about a stream of Hozu-gawa River looking down from the tram. On the iron bridge that the tram go through, we all look down the boat going down a stream and wave our hands each other. It’s quite fun to have once-in-a-lifetime chance on a trip. It becomes a standard to have a course which you get off the tram and walk around a little bit then get on the boat.

  Hozu-gawa river rafting has an old history going back to Sengoku to early Edo era. It used to be much harder rafting than now since it had more swift current before. However, it was also used for a necessary water transportation in order to ship resources such as quality timbers from Tamba upstream area to Kyoto and Osaka. Ryoi Suminokura, a wealthy merchant in Kyoto, spent his own private funds into this and made a water channel as it is now then we are not able to do a river rafting safely.


  There are steep mountains on both sides of river, and whenever the boat turns right and left through a valley, you are able to have great and different views of Mt. Atagoyama. You are able to have a full experience of amazing rain of light pink Sakura blossoms in spring season, listening a song of Kajika frogs in a clear stream with a cool splash in summer season, thinking deeply about something through watching autumn tints in fall season, and having a great view of white snow valley from a closed and warm room on the boat.

  Each season has a great experience, but one of the attractiveness of Hozu-gawa river rafting is in summer that you can go down with a rapid stream on white splash around and watching a boat sailer having a great skill of paddle. Please enjoy and have some experience of the scenery and thrill of Hozu-gawa River that not only the Japanese Imperial family, but also royal families and ambassadors from all over the world admired for.



ADDRESS : Kurumamichi-cho Saga Tenryu-ji Temple, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto City (Saga Torokko Station : MAP)

PLACE : each Torokko station

PHONE : +81(0)75-861-7444 (automatic voice guidance) (Sagano Scenic Railway Co., Ltd.)

HOURS : Details on the WEBSITE

CLOSED : Details on the WEBSITE



ADDRESS : 2 Shimonakajima Hozucho, Kameoka City (MAP)

PHONE : +81(0)771-22-5846

HOURS : Details on the WEBSITE

CLOSED : Details on the WEBSITE



★Next TRAVEL IDEA spot of ‘10 Things To Do in Kyoto - Feeling nature' is ‘Joruri-ji Temple - Tono Stone Buddha Path and Nagare-bashi Bridge’. 

★TRAVEL IDEA ‘10 Things To Do in Kyoto'
① Visiting Temples and Shrines
② Buying souvenirs
③ Visiting Arashiyama・Sagano
④ Having Kyo-ryori
⑤ Wearing Kimono
⑥ Having Japanese tea
⑦ Having seafood
⑧ Visiting shops in Machiya
⑨ Being exposed to a traditional culture
⑩ Feeling nature