If you’re planning on spending your summer in Japan, you need to know how hot and humid it can get. Kawadoko is the perfect place to cool off and relax without the heat leaving you feeling worn out. Kyoto has many amazing rivers, and you will find the kawadoko situated on these rivers. We have put together this list of recommendations of kawadoko, for you to relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery that Kyoto has to offer.
What is Kawadoko?
Kawadoko is a beautiful and unique way to enjoy summer in Japan. It is a specific type of Kyoto restaurant where the floor is situated over or next to a river. Generally available from May to September in Kyoto, this special kind of dining is exclusive to Kyoto. There are three famous kawadoko areas in Kyoto – Kamogawa, Takao and Kibune. Each of these places has their own special characteristics and each one differs from the next.
The kawadoko in Kamogawa is the oldest kawadoko still surviving, dating back to the Edo period which ran from 1603 to 1863. The brilliant thing about this kawadoko is that it has so many different styles of restaurants to choose from, and so many different cuisines available.
There are traditional Japanese restaurants, but they also offer French, Chinese or Italian. So if you’re missing a taste of home, you can still experience Kyoto’s kawadoko dining while enjoying pizza or pasta. What’s more, this kawadoko is perfect for younger people looking to blow off some steam as there are several bars here where you can have a few drinks with your friends while also enjoying the cool breeze of the river.
Kibune is a small mountain town located in the northern mountains of Kyoto. Perfect for if you want to experience somewhere a little more chilled, the kawadoko here has a floor which is built so close to the river that you can experience the cool breeze coming from the water as you enjoy your food.
There are over 20 kinds of restaurant available here, all offering different kinds of cuisine. The whole kawadoko is humming with the sounds of the mountain – from the wildlife to the streams. Sit back and relax while eating your food – just let the cool mountain air wash over you.
Takao is located quite far out of the centre of Kyoto – about an hour. But that makes it all the more refreshing when you visit the kawadoko here. The whole place is steeped in natural beauty. Because of how far it is from the city centre, temperatures in Takao are much lower – so remember to bring something to wrap round you when those nights draw in.
The most special thing about kawadoko in Takao is how the night fireflies light up around you as the darkness falls. Many of their kawadoko also double up as hotels, so why not book in a night or two and really let the busyness of the city leave you as you sit back with a drink and soak up all the natural beauty?
Starbucks also offers kawadoko style. Want to check?