Hi,I’m Keiko from Osaka!
In this article, I will introduce you to a type of restaurant perfect for the upcoming summer season, “kawadoko restaurant.”
Kawadoko, literally translated as “river floor,” is a type of dining experience where restaurants build a platform/floor directly over or next to a river so that customers can enjoy the cooling effect of the river.
This summer treat can be experienced at several locations in Kyoto such as in Kamogawa and Kibune.
Kawadoko in Kibune is a beautiful scenic dining experience surrounded by woods, feeling the cool breeze, and listening the soothing sound of river.
While Kawayuka is along the Kamo River in central Kyoto where people can feel the cool breeze from the river.
Usually ryokan or traditional inns along kibune or Kamo river offer kaiseki (traditional course meals) for those wanting to enjoy kawadoko/Kawayuka.
Here are 5 restaurants where you can experience the kawadoko dining experience in Kyoto!
Top 5 Kawadoko Restaurants in Kyoto
1.Kifune Ugenta, Sagenta/右源太、左源太Ugenta/Sagenta is a traditional ryokan (Japanese inn) that has been in the area for more than 200 years.
One may say that this is the nicest ryokan in the area.
Located on the topmost part of the Kifune river, Ugenta and Sagenta offer kaiseki (traditional multi-course meals) on their two platforms that are built just above the river.
The dining experience surrounded by fresh greens, shaded by the traditional Japanese red parasols , enjoying the soothing sound of river is absolutely magical.
Kaiseki here starts at 7,949 yen.
2.Tsuruse/鶴清Tsuruse is a traditional Japanese restaurants and inn located near Kiyomizu-gojo station.
Kawadoko here is called Kawayuka, also provides a scenic environment to dine, overlooking a Kamo river.
The popular food here involves the summer river fish called ayu (sweet fish), which is a seasonal specialty.
They offer mini kaiseki courses for lunch, priced at 5,500 yen and 6,500 yen and six omakase kyo-kaiseki courses for dinner starting at 8,000yen from May to Mid October.
Enjoying a kaiseki on kawayuka while enjoying the cool river breeze is great for those interested in getting a kawayuka feel casually.
This, in fact, is a popular spot among the locals.
Hirobun is another traditional ryokan serving delicious food on kawadoko.
This ryokan is particularly popular because they offer “nagashi soumen.”
“Nagashi Soumen” literally means flowing white thin noodle.
This is a type of dining style where “soumen” (white thin noodle) flows in cold water through a cut bamboo pipe and a diner would scoop the noodle with chopsticks as it comes down.
It may put your chopsticks skill to a test!
This is a special summer dining experience that is fun and exciting.
Eating chilled noodle flown in water, while listening to the river is the ultimate summer kawadoko experience in Kyoto!
Nagashi soumen is offered at 1,300 yen per person but cannot be reserved.
People wait 2 to 3 hours to enjoy this but it is worth the wait.
They also offer a kaiseki course menu starting around 9,000 yen which can be reserved.
4.Hiroya/ひろやAnother traditional inn offering the kawadoko experience is Hiroya, which is one of the oldest inns in Kibune, being established in 1932.
They also offer a magical kawadoko experience on the tatami matt that has been built on the Kibune river.
Their kawadoko meal starts at 8,000 yen for the months of May, June and 11,000 yen for the peak months of July, August, 9,000 yen for the month of September.
5.Kibunesou/貴船荘Kibunesou’s kawadoko is unique in a way that they have two small waterfalls.
The sound of water that these waterfalls create is absolutely amazing.
Kibunesou offers a plan that combines a kawadoko meal and rental of yukata (summer casual kimono) for you to walk around the town of Kibune.
Their lunch starts around 5,000 yen (for a lunch box) and a lunch with rental yukata starts around 15,000 yen.
It would be a pictorial trip to enjoy the dining experience on tatami mat, wearing yukata, surrounded by the fresh green trees!
For all the kawadoko kaiseki meals introduced above, it is recommended that you reserve well in advance.