Where the Rivers Meet. . . The Kamo & Takano.

Several rivers flow through Kyoto.  The most famous is the Kamo River (or Kamogawa — “gawa” or “kawa” means river in Japanese).  In English that would be the “Duck River.”  The Kamogawa flows north-to-south through Kyoto.  In the spring, summer and fall restaurants along the Kamogawa’s west bank — mostly from about Ni-jo Street down to Shi-jo Street, and a little below that — put up platforms, “yuka,” for patrons to dine on and watch the river and people down on the riverbanks.  I posted just about that here:  Yuka Season.

This is about where the Kamo and Takano Rivers meet, though.  They meet several city blocks north of Ni-jo street, just above Imadegawa Street.  Check out this map, from a Keihan Line train, you can see where the “Y” where the Kamogawa (flowing from the upper left, meets the Takanogawa, flowing from the upper right, becoming just the Kamogawa after that):

Where the Kamagawa & the Takanogawa Meet.  Kyoto.

Exactly where they meet, that road there, is Imadegawa Street and the Imadegawa bridge that crosses over the Kamagawa.  If you took a right at Imadegawa and followed it to its end you’d wind up at “The Silver Pavilion” (Ginkaku-ji ・銀閣寺).  If you took a right and crossed the bridge you’d go right in front of Shokoku-ji Zen Temple.   And right between the two rivers, there smack in the center of the “Y,” is Shimogamo Shinto Shrine.  So, on Saturday, August 13, before taking an afternoon trip to Kurama, a small and incredibly historical town just north of Kyoto, I went an noodle around an antique book fair at Shimogamo Shrine.  Here are a few photos from the Shimogamo Antique Book Festival (it’s official name):

“Old Book Festival” — Japanese style flag outside of the Shrine.


The used & antique book festival. Shimogamo Shrine. Kyoto.


Bargain hunting. Old book festival. Shimogamo Shrine. Kyoto.


Old maps. Cheap. Shimogamo Shrine. Kyoto.


Friends taking a break, cooling off. Shimogamo Book Fest. Kyoto.


I spent about forty-five minutes at the book festival.  Picked up a few bargains.  Then I walked south out of Shimogamo Shrine and within five minutes was making my way along the bank of the Takanogawa, heading towards its meeting point with the Takano River. . .

Three generations (I asked) of ladies along the Takano. August 13.


Mom and Daughter. Shallows of the Takano. August 13.


Young fellow reading. Takano bank. August 13.


Takano (left) & Kamo (right) Rivers come together. Kyoto. August 13.


“Here’s the ball, Rags! Here’s the ball!” Takanogawa. August 13.


Stepping stones across the Kamogawa/Takanogawa. August 13.


Summer Afternoon Sketching. The Kamogawa. Kyoto. August 13.


River Turtles. Kyoto. August 13.

I used to live near Kyoto.  During college student days.  If I ever live there again, if I ever live in Kyoto, and especially if I have kids, this is a place we’ll go to and enjoy often, on many an afternoon  .   .   .

.          .          .

Bonus Shot.  I took this later that evening, while standing on the Ni-jo Bridge, looking back up the Kamogawa .  .  .

Sunset on the Kamogawa. August 13, 2011.


    • Tim Cook
    • August 30th, 2011

    Foreigners sometimes envied me because when we were asked why they wanted to come to Japan, they would typically fumble with some long overwrought answer, but all I had to say was because my mother was Japanese. But actually I didn’t have any more rational reason than my fellows did.
    Since Kyoto is halfway between Yamaguchi and Tokyo, I’d go through there everytime I went to Tokyo. My mother’s first cousin lived in Kyoto. Her son, my second cousin, once visited us in Bethesda and stayed with us when he was in college. What a convenient excuse I had to stop in Kyoto and stay with her, which I did countless times. She lived near Ginkakuji, between a little north of there and the river. Always happy to see me, she was more like an aunt than my mother’s cousin. I was closer to her than my mother was. They haven’t met since 1970. She’s now living in a senior home outside of Osaka. Next year when I go to Japan, I’m hoping to go to Yamaguchi again and stop and see her. And hopefully trapse around Kyoto too.

      • letsjapan
      • August 30th, 2011

      That was beautiful, Tim.



  1. Every time I see your photos from Kyoto I feel I missed a lot when I went there… granted I was only there for 4 days… of which one was spent drinking in Osaka… but still…

      • letsjapan
      • September 4th, 2012

      Someday Robert, we’ll do Kyoto right. Although you need to give yourself a break: whatever time you spent there and whatever you saw was, well, Kyoto, and I’m sure was wonderful and that the memories will, and should, abide in a wonderful way.

      Cheers to you,


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