Took the train from Kyoto to Kameoka and had a short walk to the boat departure point for this trip. I got inside and they took my money and my name and address. After a short wait, my name was called (“Airurando no Mikaeru”) and I got on the boat.
This was a 2 hour trip but it flew by. There was 2 guys at the front, one with an oar and one with a pole. There was a guy at the back presumably doing the steering. There was about 20 people in total on the boat and I was the only non-Japanese person. The oarsman kept up some very amusing banter throughout the trip keeping the boat chuckling away (I assume, it was all in Japanese) and pointing out several points of interest - I pretty much just followed his finger-pointing and took a lot of pictures.
Over half way down, a shop-boat latched onto our boat and people bought drinks and food. The shop’s engine took over momentum so the guys were able to take a break. Oddly, they used this break offering to take pictures of people using their own camera, but only those who bought food! They even got them to hold up the food. Some bizarre Japanese tradition no doubt.
Once the shop-boat had left us, we were pretty quickly docked in Arashiyama and deboarded without incident. Since this was my first full day in Japan, this leisurely and interesting tour was just what I needed to kick off my trip.
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