Kawadoko dining in Kifune, Kyoto. This is a part of our private Kyoto Hiking tour and riverside dining

Riverside Kibune in Kyoto | Beautiful Seasonal Scenery and the God of Marriage

Home Japan Travel Guide Kansai Kyoto Riverside Kibune in Kyoto | Beautiful Seasonal Scenery and the God of Marriage

Kibune is located in the northern part of Kyoto, Japan. The long and narrow area lies along the Kibune River nestled between Mt. Kibune and Mt. Kurama. You can visit the famous Kifune Shrine, hike to Kurama Temple via the mountain, or enjoy a Kawadoko riverside meal in the warmer months. Find out why people who are looking for a nice getaway off the beaten path in Kibune!

Kifune Shrine

Kifune Shrine, Kyoto

The shrine consists of three parts, Hongu, Nakamiya, and Okunomiya, and you can visit all three shrines. The rows of lanterns painted in red along the approach to Hongu or the main shrine are photogenic.

It is unknown when the shrine was founded. There is a document that says it was reconstructed in 666, so it must have been long before when it was first constructed. According to legend, the shrine was made in this place because the holy mother of the first Emperor Jinmu came here along the river on a yellow ship (a yellow ship is called ‘kifune’ in Japanese).

They enshrined the god of water here. When people needed rain, they donated a black horse. When they wanted to stop the long rainy days, they donated a white horse. They say that this is the origin of Ema (wooden tablet to write your wish on) which literally means painted horse. Ema became popular in the Edo period.

Even today, people who deal with water such as restaurant workers come here to pray for success in their business. The fortune paper here is very special. When you buy it, it is just white paper without any characters written on it. But if you put it in the water basin in the precinct, a message will appear.

This shrine is also known as a shrine for matchmaking matters. So if you want to find a partner, it is the right place to pray at.


Kawadoko riverside lunch in Kibune, Kyoto, Japan

There are about 20 restaurants along the Kibune River (it is confusing that the name of the area and the river is Kibune, but the name of the shrine is Kifune). Restaurants put a temporary open-air dining room on the river from May to September. Summer in Kyoto is very hot. The temperature goes up to 30-35 degrees Celsius, but here on the river, it is about 10 degrees cooler. You can enjoy nature and local foods such as sweet fish and somen noodles.

The area is also beautiful in autumn with colored leaves of maple trees.

Hiking to Kurama Temple

Kurama Temple, Kyoto

If you like to take a walk, I recommend the hiking trail from Kibune to Kurama. It is a hike of about 4km and it normally takes two to three hours. The trail goes through the mountain with a lot of ups and downs with a height difference of 200 meters, so you need to wear trekking shoes. You walk through the comfortable forest and you will find several temple buildings on the way. From the main hall of the Kurama Temple, you can enjoy the magnificent view of the mountains.

At the goal you will find train station Kurama, so you don’t have to walk back to Kibune. If you want to have a relaxing time in Kurama, there is a hot spring there for staying overnight or just for a day.

Your Japan Tour

As seasoned Japan experts, we create perfect Japan package tours including destinations like Kibune. Check out our group tours and private tours, or contact us to start planning your unforgettable holiday to this fascinating country. Japan is full of once-in-a-lifetime experiences, culture, history, nature, and delicious food!

Kibune Access Information

Access to Kibune from Kyoto Station:

From Kibuneguchi (Eizan Line) station and 30 minutes walk


From Kokusai Kaikan (subway station), take a local bus to Kibune.

Kibune Area Map

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