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Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

Photo #41 – Soprano Saxophonist by Togetsukyo Bridge, Kyoto

A musician practices with his soprano saxophone by the Katsura River in Arashiyama; Kyoto, Japan.This photo corresponds with Episode 4 of the Savage Japan Podcast. Episode 4 can be heard here at SavageJapan.com or here at SavageSnowPodcast.com.


A Soprano Saxophonist practices by the Katsura River, just downstream of the Togetsukyo Bridge in Kyoto’s Arashiyama district. This musician can be heard at the end of episode 4 of the podcast.

This is not quite the wide postcard view of Togetsukyo that includes the peak of Mount Arashiyama. I plan to return to shoot the standard postcard angle with the bridge when I come back for an Arashiyama light-up festival I’ve heard takes place here later in the year.

Here are 2 more views of Togetsukyo if you are a bridge enthusiast like me and want to jump right to those.
Togetsukyo Bridge from its north end (Photo #26)
Togetsukyo Bridge viewed from the west (Photo #30)

These 3 photos were taken while standing on the bridge.
Photo #38 / Photo #39 / Photo #40

Japan Photo Journal – Living in Japan
Dan Savage [Email]

Grab anywhere on map to scroll around precise spot where above photo was taken. Zoom in & out with buttons in left corner. To learn more about geotagging your own photos, visit LearningtoGeotag.com.

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Photo #40 – Kyoto’s Mountain Skyline from the Togetsukyo Bridge

Mountains to the north and west of Arashiyama in Kyoto, Japan.This photo corresponds with Episode 4 of the Savage Japan Podcast. Episode 4 can be heard here at SavageJapan.com or here at SavageSnowPodcast.com.


Kyoto is surrounded by mountains to the north, east, and west.
Here you can see the western perimeter mountains to the left that Kyoto’s Arashiyama and Sagano neighborhoods are nestled up against, as well as the mountains that angle off to the north to mark the upper boundaries of the city.

If you look closely, in the distance you can see the girls in kimono from the previous photo.

Japan Photo Journal – Living in Japan
Dan Savage [Email]

Grab anywhere on map to scroll around precise spot where above photo was taken. Zoom in & out with buttons in left corner. To learn more about geotagging your own photos, visit LearningtoGeotag.com.

Photo #35 – Seine Fishing in Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama seine fishing in Kyoto, Japan on the Hozugawa River.This photo corresponds with Episode 4 of the Savage Japan Podcast. Episode 4 can be heard here at SavageJapan.com or here at SavageSnowPodcast.com.


Once returning to the river bank after climbing up to the nearby Summit Observation Deck, I was surprised to see this older couple Seine Fishing in the early evening as they walked across the Hozugawa River, just above the Togetsukyo Bridge.

I don’t know if they are fishing for their dinner or for a local restaurant’s menu.

If this photo was cropped tighter, it might be a fairly accurate recreation of a scene from this spot 100 years ago. For better or worse, the red baton and vest with reflective  yellow tape seen in the left half of the frame quickly bring this image back to the present.

Japan Photo Journal – Living in Japan
Dan Savage [Email]

Grab anywhere on map to scroll around precise spot where above photo was taken. Zoom in & out with buttons in left corner. To learn more about geotagging your own photos, visit LearningtoGeotag.com.

Photo #34 – Arashiyama Area Summit Observation Deck, Kyoto

Arashiyama/Saga Summit Observation DeckThis photo corresponds with Episode 4 of the Savage Japan Podcast. Episode 4 can be heard here at SavageJapan.com or here at SavageSnowPodcast.com.


The view from the Summit Observation Deck, found by chance during our exploration in the Arashiyama area of Kyoto during episode 4 of the podcast, made the short hike up well worthwhile.

Though the Hozugawa River looks almost dried up in this photo, this is the waterway the whitewater boats use to enter Arashiyama from Kameoka.

Japan Photo Journal – Living in Japan
Dan Savage [Email]

Grab anywhere on map to scroll around precise spot where above photo was taken. Zoom in & out with buttons in left corner. To learn more about geotagging your own photos, visit LearningtoGeotag.com.

Photo #33 – Hozugawa River Maple Tree, Arashiyama/Sagano

Maple tree by the Hozugawa River in the Arashiyama area of Kyoto, Japan.This photo corresponds with Episode 4 of the Savage Japan Podcast. Episode 4 can be heard here at SavageJapan.com or here at SavageSnowPodcast.com.


This maple tree by the Hozugawa River is the tree I mention in episode 4 of the podcast just before heading up on the trails in Arashiyama/Saga that eventually lead us to the Summit Observation Deck.

Japan Photo Journal – Living in Japan
Dan Savage [Email]

Grab anywhere on map to scroll around precise spot where above photo was taken. Zoom in & out with buttons in left corner. To learn more about geotagging your own photos, visit LearningtoGeotag.com.

Photo #32 – Whitewater Boat Approaching Takeout in Arashiyama

Whitewater boat approaching takeout on Hozugawa River in Arashiyama, Kyoto, Japan.This photo corresponds with Episode 4 of the Savage Japan Podcast. Episode 4 can be heard here at SavageJapan.com or here at SavageSnowPodcast.com.


This is one of the Whitewater Boats approaching the takeout just above Arashiyama’s Togetsukyo Bridge in Kyoto. These boats take a 2 hour winding course down from Kameoka in the mountains before dropping off their passengers in the Arashiyama area.

Many visitors take a ride up to Kameoka on a scenic open air train that follows the river before they board one of these hard shelled whitewater boats for a return trip.

In addition to confusion about where the border of Arashiyama and Sagano is, as discussed in the previous entry, there is a lot of misinformation in guidebooks and online about the river names in this area. This river is called Katsuragawa when referring to any point downstream of the Togetsukyo Bridge. For now, I’m calling the river Hozugawa upstream of the bridge. However, the river is also called Oigawa above the bridge.

Hozugawa is commonly used in connection to the whitewater boat ride down from Kameoka to Arashiyama and is the best name to remember as a tourist if you’re considering taking the boat trip.

There’s a little more to the upstream river name designations, and with all the conflicting information I’ve come across, I’ll have to dig much deeper to find the clear truth before I elaborate on the subject.

I know boaters like myself are likely to be the only persons with much interest in the multiple names of this single river on the west side of Arashiyama, but it’s still disappointing that an important feature of such a famous and well-trafficked tourist destination is misidentified and wrongly named in so many places that reference it.

Japan Photo Journal – Living in Japan
Dan Savage [Email]

Grab anywhere on map to scroll around precise spot where above photo was taken. Zoom in & out with buttons in left corner. To learn more about geotagging your own photos, visit LearningtoGeotag.com.

Photo #31 – Black-Winged Dragonflies of Arashiyama/Sagano

Black-winged dragonflies by the Hozugawa River in Arashiyama, Kyoto, Japan.

This photo corresponds with Episode 4 of the Savage Japan Podcast. Episode 4 can be heard here at SavageJapan.com or here at SavageSnowPodcast.com.


Though this overall area is largely referred to as Arashiyama, technically it seems that I may have been in the Sagano neighborhood as I hiked upstream on the north side of the Hozugawa River.

Maps, guidebooks, and websites are in dispute and no one I have asked so far seems to know where the separation between the Arashiyama and Sagano districts of Kyoto really is.

Because I was always so close to the Togetsukyo Bridge during my visit this time, I initially thought the entire area I was biking and strolling in was Arashiyama. I will try to figure out the true borders over time and maybe learn a little about the history of Sagano and Arashiyama.

From a tourist’s perspective, Arashiyama is the area name to remember. This region of Kyoto is certainly more generally referred to as Arashiyama by visitors to Kyoto and locals as well.

As mentioned at the end of episode 4 of the podcast, the other side of the river has a trail that leads up to the Arashiyama Iwatayama Monkey Park. We’ll eventually check that out also.

Though I did cross Arashiyama’s Togetsukyo Bridge as the sun set during my visit to Arashiyama, I spent most of my time next to the river and exploring developed trails on a large hill on the north side of the bridge.

Photo Details: These black-winged, fluorescent teal-bodied dragonflies by the Hozugawa River paused just long enough in the riverbank foliage for a photo in Arashiyama/Sagano (Kyoto, Japan).

Japan Photo Journal – Living in Japan
Dan Savage [Email]

Grab anywhere on map to scroll around precise spot where above photo was taken. Zoom in & out with buttons in left corner. To learn more about geotagging your own photos, visit LearningtoGeotag.com.

Photo #30 – Upstream of the Togetsukyo Bridge in Arashiyama

Iconic Togetsukyo Bridge in Arashiyama, Kyoto, japan

This photo corresponds with Episode 4 of the Savage Japan Podcast. Episode 4 can be heard here at SavageJapan.com or here at SavageSnowPodcast.com.


Looking east from Arashiyama in Kyoto, Japan, the Togetsukyo Bridge, the icon of Arashiyama, is framed here by the mountains on the opposite side of the city and the Hozugawa River in the foreground.

Both this and my previous Togetsukyo Bridge photo do not show the most famous postcard view angle from the east side with the closest western peak directly behind the bridge.

I’ll be sure to get that view during a nighttime shoot later this year when the hill behind Togetsukyo will be lit up with colored lights for a special event.

Japan Photo Journal – Living in Japan
Dan Savage [Email]

Grab anywhere on map to scroll around precise spot where above photo was taken. Zoom in & out with buttons in left corner. To learn more about geotagging your own photos, visit LearningtoGeotag.com.

Photo #27 – Relaxing Arashiyama Boat Ride in Kyoto

Arashiyama covered boat ride on the Hozugawa River in Kyoto, Japan.

This photo corresponds with Episode 4 of the Savage Japan Podcast. Episode 4 can be heard here at SavageJapan.com or here at SavageSnowPodcast.com.


As I hiked along the bank of the Hozugawa River, I saw this covered boat taking people for rides in the flat water upstream of the Togetsukyo Bridge in Kyoto’s Arashiyama neighborhood.

The whitewater boats which are boarded much further upstream in the town of Kameoka, yet end their run in this same vicinity, are similar in design (though not covered).

Japan Photo Journal – Living in Japan
Dan Savage [Email]

Grab anywhere on map to scroll around precise spot where above photo was taken. Zoom in & out with buttons in left corner. To learn more about geotagging your own photos, visit LearningtoGeotag.com.

Photo #26 – Arashiyama’s Togetsukyo Bridge, Kyoto

Togetsukyo Bridge in Arashiyama, Kyoto, japan/
This photo corresponds with Episode 4 of the Savage Japan Podcast. Episode 4 can be heard here at SavageJapan.com or here at SavageSnowPodcast.com.


This Kyoto landmark, Arashiyama’s Togetsukyo Bridge, crosses the Hozugawa/Katsuragawa River on the west side of Kyoto in the popular tourist area of Arashiyama and Saga. I realized I was not too far away from Arashiyama while running errands earlier in the day and on a whim, I decided to pedal on over.

There is a lot more to do here than I had time for during this late afternoon and early evening of exploration. Arashiyama is quite scenic and peaceful; I will be returning for sure.

There are some rapids upstream on the Hozugawa River which is later renamed the Katsura River at this point, but from the photos I’ve seen it looks like the occasional rapids are only class 2, maybe one class 3.

Incidentally, this river is also confusingly called Oigawa upstream of the bridge, but I have read too many conflicting accounts of the proper use of that name to feel confidant in explaining when to use Oigawa at this point. When I sort through all the misinformation, I will share more about it.

Hozugawa is used in connection with the boat trips and is the only river name you need to remember if you are considering taking that trip.

Rides in hard shelled boats are available to take passengers down the river from Kameoka to the takeout at the Togetsukyo Bridge. Typically the boat passengers are visitors who just took the Sagano Scenic Train up to Kameoka.

The river trip is marketed as an exciting adventure, but I think it is a trip to be taken more for the scenery and not for the rapids, unless you have a low adrenaline threshold. In that case, you may find the boat ride to be thrilling as well as beautiful.

As I mentioned in the podcast, I’ll probably wait until I have a nice girl to go with me before I take the boat ride back down, but you might find me taking the inexpensive train ride up to Kameoka for a day of exploration and then back down again at some point in the not too distant future.

I doubt anyone would object if you brought your own kayak or raft and attempted to paddle down into Arashiyama, but I wouldn’t make a special effort to bring my kayak here.
If you happen to be visiting Gifu Prefecture on the other hand, or Shikoku…

There will be much more to come on this website and in the podcast in the future regarding whitewater kayaking and rafting opportunities in Japan.

Japan Photo Journal – Living in Japan
Dan Savage [Email]

Grab anywhere on map to scroll around precise spot where above photo was taken. Zoom in & out with buttons in left corner. To learn more about geotagging your own photos, visit LearningtoGeotag.com.

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