"Kawadoko" is a stylish way to eat during the summer!

Having a meal while hearing the sound of a stream and surronded by nature helps us to forget the hot, humid, summer!

Check out our writers’ top Japan travel ideas!

This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy through them, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.


 Kawadoko is a Kyoto style of restaurant where the floor is placed over and/or besides a river to welcome customers in summer. Kawadoko is a special seasonal way of eating that helps to cool you down, usually available from May to September in Kyoto.

There are three famous kawadoko areas in Kyoto: Kamogawa, Takao and Kibune. They all have their own special characteristics!

Why don't you experience this stylish way to eat and enjoy summer in Kyoto?



This kawadoko in Kamogawa is the oldest, having started during the Edo period (1603−1868).
One of the attractions of the kawadoko in Kamogawa is the variety of restaurants available to choose from!
There are not only traditional Japanese restaurants, but also French, Italian, Chinese, and other cuisines! What's more, there are even bars in this sytle!
Since there are many kinds of kawadoko restaurants, it is easy for all generations to try this style for the first time.
You can see the beautiful streets and river changing colors as they reflect the sunset in the evening.

Traditional Kyoto food restaurant,Mameya-Genzo

This restaurant is a traditional Kyoto-style restaurant. It has been loved by many celebrities for a long time. It features fresh fish caught on the same day it's served and fresh local vegetables as well as handmade tofu.

French restaurant, Ikariya Shokudo

This restaurant was built by a 100 year old Japanese ryokan inn. Thanks to this, even though it is a French restaurant, it retains the old Kyoto atmosphere. The chefs and sommeliers studied in France or Italy, then opened this restaurant with the concept "From Kyoto to the world."

Kibune is a small town in the Northern mountains of Kyoto. The best kawadoko in Kibune has a floor built very close to the river so you can feel the coolness of the stream directly. There are about 20 restaurants in this area and they all welcome customers with their various kinds of food. All of them feature the refreshing mountain air and the beautiful sound of the river stream enveloping customers.

Japanese restaurant, Kibune Beniya

Beniya's kawadoko has the most seats in Kibune, seating about 200 people. The seats are all very close to the stream, so close you can touch the water or even put your feet in! The food is traditional Japanese kaiseki style, and always features fresh, seasonal, ingredients.

Japanese restaurant, Hirobun

These seats were built very close to a small waterfall. Sometimes, you can hear frogs croaking.
This restaurant is known for serving many kinds of delicious river fish. The specialty of this restaurant is 'nagashi soumen', noodles that flow through a bamboo tube to your seat.


Takao is located about an hour from the center of Kyoto. This area is surrounded by nature and the temperature is usually much lower. Besides the beautiful nature and the summer fireflies, Takao is also famous for geisha. 

This is an area where you can enjoy Kyoto traditions and local nature at its finest.

Japanese style hotel and restaurant, Kinsuitei

This restaurant is also a Japanese style hotel where you can stay the night. This kawadoko style terrace is only open from May to September. Why don't you experience the amazing scenery of the river while fireflies light up the night around you?

Japanese restaurant, Momiji-ya

Momiji-ya's special feature is maiko, young apprentice geisha, who visit each seat and dance during dinner time.
Kansai Feature

The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.

tsunagu Japan Newsletter

Subscribe to our free newsletter and we'll show you the best Japan has to offer!

Subscribe Now!
Get your Japan discounts here!

About the author

  • Check out our writers’ top Japan travel ideas!

Restaurant Search

Sign up to our free newsletter to discover the best Japan has to offer.