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Vegetarian's Japan Guide

Kameoka – The Must-Visit City in Kyoto Next to Arashiyama

If Arashiyama is on your itinerary for your next trip to Japan, then we would suggest you consider visiting Kameoka as well. This is especially the case if you plan to take Sagano Romantic Train (嵯峨野トロッコ列車) at the end of the bamboo forest! The sightseeing train only has four stations along the rail track. Alighting at the last stop, you will be stepping into a scenic city woven by nature. As Kameoka City (亀岡市) is situated within a basin, it is likely to be covered by a thick fog from late autumn to early spring. People usually refer to the fog here as “Tamba Fog” (丹波霧). And this fantastic scenery earned Kameoka its title of “The City of Fog” (霧の都)!

A List of Attractions in Kameoka

Tip: If you are after an accommodation facility in Kameoka, consider Sun Royal Hotel Kameoka Ekimae! You can refer to HERE for our experience of staying in the hotel.

Explore Kameoka With a Guided Tour

If you prefer to be guided when you visit Kameoka, how about joining the below tour?

Bicycle Rental at Kameoka

At Kameoka, instead of renting a bicycle from a rental shop, there are rental bike ports where you may rent and return a bike at your leisure. All you will need to do is download an app, change the language to English at the top right corner, open an account, and off you go!

For information regarding which app to download, the price table, and where the ports are located, please refer to HERE. Regarding how to rent, please refer to the manual HERE.

The Best Autumn Foliage Spots in Kameoka

If you want to escape the crowds in Kyoto‘s city center in autumn, visit Kameoka. The city that is just a couple of stations away has a couple of amazing fall foliage spots waiting for you to explore. While the shrines and temples in Kameoka aren’t as accessible as the ones closer to Kyoto Station, they won’t be packed with crowds!

For more information, refer to our article on Kameoka’s Autumn Foliage Spots!

Sagano Romantic Train (嵯峨野トロッコ列車)

Sagano-Scenic-Railway-Cherry-Blossom-Kyoto-Japan
Ⓒ photo-ac.com

The mountains that span between Arashiyama and Kameoka exhibit some of the most spectacular scenery you can find in Kyoto. This scenery changes with the seasons and can best be admired on the seats offered aboard the Sagano Romantic Train, which runs along the Hozu River (保津川). Throughout the 25-minute train ride, the amazing views of Hozugawa Gorge (保津川渓谷) will unfold little by little in front of you.

For more information, please refer to our article on Sagano Romantic Train HERE!

Hozugawa River Boat Ride (保津川下り)

Since we mentioned the Hozu River, some of you might be wondering if there are sightseeing boats you can hop onto.

The 16 km Hozugawa River Boat Ride, also known as Hozugawa River Cruises, has a long history going back more than 400 years. The Hozu River was once an important waterway to transport supplies to Kyoto and Osaka from the Tamba region in northern Kyoto.

For more information, please refer to our article on the Hozugawa River Boat Ride!

Ⓒ 亀岡市観光協会

Kyoto Sagano Sightseeing Carriage Tour (京馬車)

Ⓒ 亀岡市観光協会

After getting of Sagano Romantic Train at Torroko Kameoka Station, a novel way to get to the Hozugawa River Boat ride’s boarding wharf is via horse carriage!

A horse will drag the carriage along the riverbed of the Hozu River. Although it will take slightly longer to get to your next destination, the 25-minute one-way tour is a great way to enjoy the nature of Kameoka (=゚ω゚)ノ.

You can feed and/or pet the horses!

On the other hand, if you plan to spend more time in Kameoka, you can take their excursion course. The cheaper 15-minute round trip course is a relaxing way to adore the scenery along the Hozugawa River.

For more information, please refer to their website HERE. And to book your spot online instead of a phone call, you can do so HERE.

Because the two courses aren’t clearly mapped on their English website, refer to the Japanese website HERE.

  • The red line marks the one-way trip from JR Umahori Station to Hozugawa River Boat Terminal
  • The green line shows the round trip excursion course.

You can board the horse carriage at:

Important: The horse carriage will not be operating during the winter, from mid-December to early March.

Tamba Kameyama Castle Ruins (亀山城跡)

If you are a Japanese history buff, you might want to drop by the ruins of the Tamba Kameyama Castle, built by Akechi Mitsuhide (明智 光秀).

The castle was built in 1577. It was also the base from which he departed to take down Oda Nobunaga, which is what is now known as the Honnō-ji Incident (本能寺の変).

Although the Tamba Kameyama Castle was dismantled in 1877 by the decree ordered by the Meiji government to abandon castles around the country, the stone walls were gradually restored from 1919 after it was taken over by Oomoto Shinto Sect (宗教法人 大本).

Even though the castle ruins are now privately owned, a majority of the castle can be freely accessed.

Before you do so, please let the staff at the reception in Miroku-kaikan (みろく会館) know.

While there, you can also check with the staff to see where the Kameyama Castle’s exhibition is located. The location of this exhibition sometimes changes, but it should still be inside Miroku-kaikan.

You can refer to a map of the entire castle ruins HERE. There is a Japanese map in the article. If you plan to walk to Kameyama Castle Ruins, you will be entering from the bottom right where it says “正門”.

If you were given a Japanese map on the day, please refrain from entering the areas that are marked by “禁足地”. They aren’t open to the public.

As a side note, after we learned about the history of Fukuchiyama City, we started to think that maybe Akechi Mitsuhide wasn’t a bad guy who betrayed Oda Nobunaga for his greed… To find out why, please refer to our article on Fukuchiyama Castle!

Tamba Kameyama Castle Ruins’ Opening Hours and Access Information

  • Tamba Kameyama Castle Ruins are open from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm.
    • The last admission is at 3:30 pm.
  • The admission fee is 300 yen for senior high school students and above.
  • From JR Kameoka Station (亀岡駅), it is around a 10-minute walk.

Anao-ji Temple (穴太寺)

For those who are already bored of the ordinary temples and shrines in Kyoto, you will still want to check out Anao-ji Temple when you visit Kameoka. The Buddha is covered in a Japanese futon! Known as the 21st temple in the 33 Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage, Anao-ji, is one of the oldest temples in the Tamba region. What is famous about the Kannon Bodhisattva at Anao-ji Temple is the legend of the Scapegoat Kannon Bodhisattva.

For more information, refer to our article on Anao-ji!

Anaoji-TempleReclining-Buddha-Kameoka-Kyoto-Japan

Yume Cosmos Garden (夢コスモス園)

In October, while it is a bit too early to look for fall foliage hunting, it is just in time for a large field of cosmos flowers. And when we said large, we meant 4 hectares!

Ⓒ 亀岡市観光協会

In 2022, the garden was open from 9 am to 4 pm from October to the 3rd of November. On weekends and public holidays, you get to stay in the garden until 4:30 pm (^_-)-☆.

The garden’s opening period is announced on their website HERE. You can translate the webpage using Google Chrome’s translation function at the right of the address bar.

Yume Cosmos Garden’s Admission Fee and Access Information

The admission fee is as below.

  • Weekdays
    • Adults: 600 yen
    • Elementary and middle school students: 300 yen
  • Weekends and public holidays
    • Adults: 800 yen
    • Elementary and middle school students: 400 yen
  • To get to Kokushō-ji Temple from JR Kameoka Station (亀岡駅), you can take Keihan Kyoto Kotsū’s (京阪京都交通) route 34 and 59 or 40 and 47 alighting at Undō Kōen-mae (運動公園前).
    • For routes 34 and 59, please refer to pages 62 (weekdays) and 63 (weekends and public holidays) of the pdf HERE for the service’s timetable.
    • For routes 40 and 47, please refer to pages 73 (weekdays) and 74 (weekends and public holidays).
  • If you are getting off at Kameoka Torokko Station (トロッコ亀岡駅), you can board route 34 from JR Umahori Station (馬堀駅).

Yawaragi no Michi along the Nanatani River (七谷川 和らぎの道)

Ⓒ 亀岡市観光協会

If you are coming to Kameoka during the cherry blossom season, the Nanatani River, with 1,500 cherry trees spread over 1 km along the banks, is definitely a place to visit!

The road, now called Yawaragi no Michi, originated with the establishment of the Nanatani Outdoor Activity Center (七谷川野外活動センター). At the time, 500 cherry trees were planted close to the center, which slowly expanded in scale to what we have today.

Photos taken along the cherry blossom tunnel will easily earn you numerous “likes” on social media!

The cherry blossom season here is usually from late March to early April. While the flowers bloom, the Cherry Blossom Festival, featuring a nighttime light-up, will also be going on.

The Sakura Park (さくら公園) next to the river also has around 280 cherry trees of 28 different species. This is another place where you may snap some really stunning photos (^_-)-☆.

Ⓒ 森の京都DMO

How to Get to Yawaragi no Michi

From JR Kameoka Station (亀岡駅), take Kameoka City’s Furusato Bus (亀岡市ふるさとバス) along route F11 – Kawahigashi Course (川東コース), and get off at Nanatanigawa (七谷川).

  • Refer to HERE and click “ふるさとバス時刻表” for this service’s timetable. Please refer to the second timetable from the right.
  • The services marked with ● won’t be operating on weekends and public holidays.
  • The services marked with ▲ won’t be operating during school holidays.

Izumo-Daijingū Shrine (出雲大神宮)

If you are after a spiritual place in Kameoka, consider visiting Izumo-Daijingū Shrine (出雲大神宮). The shrine that is tucked in Kyoto‘s beautiful nature has a serene atmosphere. When the weather starts getting colder, the precinct becomes more splendid with different colors in the background. An amazing festival is also held here!

For more information, refer to our article on Izumo-Daijingū.

Kameoka Fog Terrace (かめおか霧のテラス)

So, where is the best spot in Kameoka to see the amazing view of Sea of Clouds? The answer is Kameoka Fog Terrace. When the weather conditions are right, it will feel like the terrace is floating above the clouds when you are there!

For more information, refer to our article on Kameoka Fog Terrace!

Scenery-from-Kameoka-Fog-Terrace-Kyoto-Japan
Ⓒ 亀岡市観光協会

Fukukuru Wood-fired Bakery (薪窯パンふくくる)

If you fancy yourself a bread connoisseur, give Fukukuru Woodfire Bakery (薪窯パンふくくる) a try! Although it is a little far from Kameoka Station, the bread is very flavorful and delicious. The little store in an old folk house has a relaxing atmosphere. The couple who run the bakery is very nice and friendly. If bread is too big, you can most likely be able to get half or a quarter of it, giving you the flexibility you need!

For more information, refer to our article on Fukukuru!

Fukukuru-Wood-Fired-Bakery-Kameoka-Kyoto-Japan

Hiranosawa Park (平の沢公園)

Another great place to admire the cherry blossoms during spring is Hiranosawa Park. The cherry blossom season here also spans from late March to early April. From late March to the end of the season, the park will be illuminated from 7 pm to 9 pm.

Ⓒ 森の京都DMO

From July to August, one of the ponds in the park will be filled with lotus flowers. August, in particular, is when you might be able to spot the flowers of prickly water lily, a plant rarely found in Japan.

Tip: To see the lotus flowers, come in the morning. The flowers will open up slowly from dawn. From late morning, it will slowly close up, waiting until the next morning to bloom again. For prickly water lily, the flowers blossom at midnight. The white-colored flowers will gradually darken up until the morning, when they will scatter after having turned pink/purple in color.

How to Get to Hiranosawa Park

From JR Kameoka Station (亀岡駅), take Kameoka City’s Furusato Bus (亀岡市ふるさとバス) route F11 – Kawahigashi Course (川東コース), and get off at Ikejiri (池尻).

  • Refer to HERE and click “ふるさとバス時刻表” for this service’s timetable. Please refer to the second timetable from the right.
  • The services marked with ● won’t be operating on weekends and public holidays.
  • The services marked with ▲ won’t be operating during the school holidays.

Yu no Hana Onsen (湯の花温泉)

For those looking for luxurious ryokan experiences, a couple of ryokans can do their best to cater to a vegetarian diet. Most of them also have private onsen pools you can book for a little extra money.

Yu no Hana Onsen is a small hot spring village nestled in the mountains west of Kameoka. It is said that during the turbulent feudal era, many wounded samurais healed their injuries here.

Nowadays, citizens of Kyoto, Osaka, and Hyōgo Prefecture come here to escape from the hustle and bustle of the big cities and rejuvenate in the fresh air and beautiful nature.

Most of the onsen facilities in the village allow for daytime use. If you are after their private onsen pools, please check with the facility in advance, as most of the time, the private onsen pools are for guests staying overnight in the Ryokans only.

For more information, please refer to the official website HERE.

How to Get to Yu no Hana Onsen

To get to Kokushō-ji Temple from JR Kameoka Station (亀岡駅), take Keihan Kyoto Kotsū’s (京阪京都交通) route 40 and get off at Hana no Yu Onsen(湯の花温泉).

Please refer to pages 73 (weekdays) and 74 (weekends and public holidays) of the pdf HERE for the service’s timetable.

Kokushō-ji Temple (谷性寺)

Ⓒ photo-ac.com

Another place in Kameoka City that excites all the Akechi Mitsuhide fans is the Kokushō-ji Temple.

While Akechi was alive, Kokushō-ji is the temple where he worshiped. So just before he committed seppuku, he entrusted his vassals to bury his head in the temple. And so they did. With his head buried here, the temple is also called Mitsuhide Temple.

So when you visit Kokushō-ji, remember to pray for Akechi Mitsuhide in front of his tomb!

Kikyō no Sato (ききょうの里)

Because the family crest of the Akechi clan is a platycodon, in 2003, around 12,000 platycodon was planted in front of the temple. Kokushō-ji is therefore also known as the Platycodon Temple.

Nowadays, from late June to late July, a vast flower field of many different kinds of flowers (including 550 hydrangeas) will surround the temple. And the field is getting bigger each year!

How to Get to Kokushō-ji Temple and Kikyō no Sato’s Opening Hours

  • To get to Kokushō-ji Temple from JR Kameoka Station (亀岡駅), take Keihan Kyoto Kotsū’s (京阪京都交通) route 40 and get off at Inokura (猪倉).
    • It is then a 5-minute walk from the bus stop.
    • Please refer to HERE for the service’s timetable.
  • Kikyō no Sato is open from the 24th of June to the 23rd of July from 9 am to 4 pm in 2023.
    • The last admission is at 3:30 pm.
  • The admission fee is 600 yen for middle school students and above.

Kyoto Tamba KAMEOKA Yumenarie (京都丹波KAMEOKA夢ナリエ)

Before Christmas, instead of colorful flowers, Kikyō no Sato will turn into a winter wonderland filled with illuminations.

We all know that Japan has world-class illumination events. But usually, that means the event venues are crowded. So if you are looking for quieter spots, try to go out of the city center.

This event takes place from late November to Christmas day from 5 pm to 9 pm, with final admission at 8:30 pm.

The admission fee is 800 yen for middle school students and above. For elementary school students, it is 400 yen.

Ⓒ 亀岡市観光協会

Note that if it rains, the venue will be closed.

Masahiro Tantoujou Sword Forge (将大鍛刀場)

For admirers of Japanese swords, this is an experience that you won’t want to miss out on!

Japanese Shintoism believes that a god resides in everything we come across in our lives, whether a tree or a rock. And when the country suffered from continuous civil wars hundreds of years ago, swords were seen as an object of worship. Something close to people that can be used to protect them.

To us foreigners, swords are just weapons. But to the Japanese back then, there was a special bond between them and their swords. Sharpening the swords is considered a ritual that samurais performed for the god in the sword. It is believed that this god will be more willing to protect them the more they sharpened their sword.

Nowadays, Japanese swords are treated as artwork. Many of the buyers are either collectors or supporters of the bladesmiths. The country’s 300 or so bladesmiths share a common dream to reproduce the kind of swords made in the Kamakura period (1192 – 1333). Those techniques used to be passed down by word of mouth but have since been lost. These swordsmiths have been honing their craft, hoping to reclaim those lost techniques.

Although it takes at least five years to learn how to make a good Japanese sword, you can make something on a smaller scale here with Masahiro’s guidance. It isn’t cheap, as you can imagine, but if you are interested, reserve your spot and enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience!

For more information, please refer to the official website HERE.

How to Get to Masahiro Tantoujou Sword Forge

There is a free car park next to the sword forge if you are driving.

  • From JR Kameoka Station (亀岡駅), take Kameoka City’s Furusato Bus (亀岡市ふるさとバス) along route F31, F32, F33, or F34 – Hatano Chiyokawa Course (畑野千代川線), and get off at Honme (本梅).
    • Refer to HERE and click “ふるさとバス時刻表” for this service’s timetable. Please refer to the timetable at the bottom middle.
    • From the bus stop, it is just a 5-minute walk.

Dreamton Village (ドゥリムトン村)

Dreamton Village buried deep in Kameoka’s mountain is a place that you might want to drop by if, all of a sudden, you start missing the atmosphere of an English rural town during your time in Japan (´▽`*).

The buildings in the entire village have a common theme. Everything here brings you back to how England used to look before the industrial revolution, from the menu in restaurants and cafes to shopfronts and even cottages for you to stay overnight.

Mobile reception won’t be able to reach Dreamton Village. So come here if you ever want some quiet time, disconnected from the rest of the world, to spend an afternoon here with their delicious scones and tea.

How to Get to Dreamton Village

  • From JR Kameoka Station (亀岡駅), take Keihan Kyoto Kotsū’s (京阪京都交通) route 57 or 60 and get off at Kyoto Sentankagaku Daigaku Kyoto Kameoka Campus (京都先端科学大学 京都亀岡キャンパス). Please refer to pages 68 to 70 HERE for the service’s timetable.
    • “平日” means weekdays.
    • “土休日” means weekends and public holidays.
  • From there, change for Kameoka City’s Furusato Bus (亀岡市ふるさとバス), take route F21 – West Betsuin Loop Line (西別院循環線), and get off at Okuno (奥野).
    • Refer to HERE and click “ふるさとバス時刻表” for this service’s timetable.
    • Please note the services marked with ● won’t be operating on weekends and public holidays.

Head to Nantan City Next Door for Other off-the-Beaten-Track Spots

Miyama-Kayabuki-no-Sato-Autumn-Foliage-Nantan-Kyoto-Japan
Click the photo to find out more about this gorgeous place!

Just next to Kyotamba Town, there are some extraordinary rural landscapes in Nantan City (南丹市). Extend your trip to regional Kyoto and visit the village full of traditional thatched roof houses and some of the country’s most beautiful dams!

For more information, please refer to our article about Nantan City (=゚ω゚)ノ.

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