Kamo River

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Kamo River
Kamogawa sakura.jpg
Cherry blossoms along the Kamo River
Native name鴨川
Country Japan
Physical characteristics
 - elevation896 m (2,940 ft)
 - location
Yodo River
Length31 km (19 mi)
Basin size210 km2 (81 sq mi)
Basin features
River system Yodo River

The Kamo River(鴨川,Kamo-gawa, duck river – see onomastics) is located in Kyoto Prefecture, Japan. The riverbanks are popular walking spots for residents and tourists. In summer, restaurants open balconies looking out to the river. There are pathways running alongside the river on which one can walk along the river, and some stepping stones that cross the river. The water level of the river is usually relatively low; less than one meter in most places. During the rainy season, however, the pathways sometimes flood in their lower stretches.

Kyoto Prefecture Prefecture of Japan

Kyoto Prefecture is a prefecture of Japan in the Kansai region of the island of Honshu. Its capital is the city of Kyoto.

Japan Country in East Asia

Japan is an island country in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies off the eastern coast of the Asian continent and stretches from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and the Philippine Sea in the south.

East Asian rainy season

The East Asian rainy season, commonly called the plum rain, is caused by precipitation along a persistent stationary front known as the Mei-Yu front for nearly two months during the late spring and early summer between eastern Russia, China, Korea, and Japan. The wet season ends during the summer when the subtropical ridge becomes strong enough to push this front north of the region.



The Kamo River has its source in the mountains in the area of Mount Sajikigatake, around the boundary of Kumogahata village and Keihoku village in the northern ward of Kyoto. Flowing into the Kyoto Basin from the city area called Kamigamo in the same northern ward of the city, from there it bends south-east and, around the spot known as Demachi in the Kamigyō (or "Upper Kyoto" ward), joins with the Takano River which flows down from the northeastern direction, and there changes direction to due south through Kyoto's Nakagyō ("Central") ward. In the vicinity of the Shijō Bridge at Shijō Street in the center of downtown Kyoto, the Shirakawa River joins with it. At its southern part, the Horikawa River and West Takase River join with it, and at Shimomukōjima-cho in the Shimotoba part of Fushimi Ward of Kyoto City, it joins with the Katsura River, to become a tributary of the Yodo River. [1]

Mount Sajikigatake is located in Kita-ku, part of Kyoto city, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan.

Kita-ku, Kyoto Ward of Kyoto

Kita is one of the eleven wards in the city of Kyoto, in Kyoto Prefecture, Japan. Its name means "North Ward." As of 2016, the ward has an estimated population of 119,074 people.

Demachi may refer to;

There is a theory that in former times the main stream of the Kamo River was along the Horikawa river about 1 kilometre (1 mile) north of Misono Bridge, and when the Heian Capital (now Kyoto) was established, the river was diverted to its present route. [2] According to historian Herbert E. Plutschow, "To allow a river to flow through and thereby divide a capital would have symbolized potential disunity of the nation. One of the first tasks, therefore, in laying out the new capital was to divert the rivers. The Kamo River once flowed through what is now Horikawa Street and met the Takano River south of their present confluence. Thus, large-scale works were required to prepare the land for the capital. The city was laid with its northernmost boundary at the present confluence of the Kamo and Takano rivers (just south of today's Imadegawa Street)." [3]

Heian-kyō former name of Kyoto, capital of Japan 794-1868

Heian-kyō was one of several former names for the city now known as Kyoto. It was the official capital of Japan for over one thousand years, from 794 to 1868 with an interruption in 1180.

The riverbanks where the Kamo River and Takano River join are known as the Tadasu River Banks (Jp., Tadasu-gawara 糺河原). At the triangular area of land here, there is the "River Confluence" shrine of Shimogamo Shrine, which leads into the forested area, Tadasu-no-mori. [4]

Shimogamo Shrine Shinto shrines in Kyoto, Japan

Shimogamo Shrine in Japanese, is the common name of an important Shinto sanctuary in the Shimogamo district of Kyoto city's Sakyō ward. Its formal name is Kamo-mioya-jinja (賀茂御祖神社). It is one of the oldest Shinto shrines in Japan and is one of the seventeen Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto which have been designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The term Kamo-jinja in Japanese is a general reference to Shimogamo Shrine and Kamigamo Shrine, the traditionally linked Kamo shrines of Kyoto; Shimogamo is the older of the pair, being believed to be 100 years older than Kamigamo, and dating to the 6th century, centuries before Kyoto became the capital of Japan. The Kamo-jinja serve the function of protecting Kyoto from malign influences.

Tadasu no Mori forest associated to Shinto shrines in Kyoto, Japan

Tadasu no Mori (糺の森), which literally means "Forest of Correction," is a sacred grove associated with an important Shinto sanctuary complex known in Japanese as the Kamo-jinja, situated near the banks of the Kamo River just north of where the Takano River joins the Kamo River in northeast Kyoto city, Japan. The term Kamo-jinja in Japanese is a general reference to Shimogamo Shrine and Kamigamo Shrine, the traditionally linked Kamo shrines of Kyoto. The Kamo-jinja serve the function of protecting Kyoto from malign influences.


In Japanese the river is called Kamo-gawa, officially written using the kanji compound 鴨川. The first kanji means "wild duck" and is read kamo, and the second kanji means "river" and is read gawa. However, other kanji applied to this name are 賀茂川 or 加茂川. The first appearance in historical documents of the kanji 賀茂川 is in the Yamashiro no kuni fudoki (山城国風土記). In an entry dated the 19th day of the 6th month of 815 in the history Nihonkiryaku (日本記略), it is referred to as 鴨川. Now, the river north of where it joins with the Takano River is usually distinguished as the 加茂川 when written in kanji, and the river south of there is distinguished as the 鴨川. [5]

<i>Kanji</i> adopted logographic Chinese characters used in the modern Japanese writing system

Kanji are the adopted logographic Chinese characters that are used in the Japanese writing system. They are used alongside the Japanese syllabic scripts hiragana and katakana. The Japanese term kanji for the Chinese characters literally means "Han characters". It is written with the same characters in the Chinese language to refer to the character writing system, hanzi (漢字).

The geographical area called Kamigamo, around the mouth of the valley leading into the Kyoto Basin, became the home grounds of the Kamo (賀茂) clan in ancient times. From this, there arose the regional name Otagi Region Kamo Block (愛宕郡賀茂郷), and consequently the geographical name Kamo (賀茂) set down roots. The river name took after this geographical name. [6]

From the Deai Bridge until the Iwaya Bridge north of Kyoto city it is called Kumogahatagawa (雲が畑川) as it passes through the Kumogahata village. North of the Iwaya Bridge until its source the Kamo River is known as Ojitanigawa (祖父谷川).


When the palace at the new Heian Capital (now Kyoto) was constructed at the end of the 8th century, the river's course was altered to flow east of the palace. [7]

Floods often threatened the ancient capital. Emperor Shirakawa recited his three unmanageable things: Sōhei (armed monks of Enryaku-ji), dice, and the water of the Kamo River. These days, however, the riverbanks are reinforced with concrete and have improved drainage systems. The merchant Suminokura Ryōi constructed the Takase River on a parallel with the Kamo River in early 17th century. Transportation was done on the canal instead of the unstable mainstream.

The encounter between Minamoto no Yoshitsune and Benkei at Gojō Bridge (not the present one, but presumably Matsubara Bridge) over the river is a famous legend set in the late Heian period. Sanjō Bridge was regarded as the west end of the Tōkaidō during the Edo period.

In the past, the river was a crucial source of relatively pure drinking water for Kyoto residents. It also played a role in Kyo-Yuzen dyeing, a famous craft of Kyoto.

The river is also the source of the stone that is a glaze ingredient used in traditional Japanese raku pottery. [8]

The Kamo River is also the birthplace of Kabuki. In 1603 Izumo no Okuni formed a troupe of female dancers and began performing on a makeshift stage, on the dry bed of the river [9] .

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Kamo no Chōmei Japanese poet

Kamo no Chōmei was a Japanese author, poet, and essayist. He witnessed a series of natural and social disasters, and, having lost his political backing, was passed over for promotion within the Shinto shrine associated with his family. He decided to turn his back on society, took Buddhist vows, and became a hermit, living outside the capital. This was somewhat unusual for the time, when those who turned their backs on the world usually joined monasteries. Along with the poet-priest Saigyō he is representative of the literary recluses of his time, and his celebrated essay Hōjōki is representative of the genre known as "recluse literature".

The name Kamo may refer to the following:

Izumo no Okuni Japanese actor and dancer

Okuni was the originator of kabuki theater. She was believed to be a miko at the Grand Shrine of Izumo who began performing this new style of dancing, singing, and acting in the dry riverbed of the Kamo River in Kyoto.

Japanese place names include names for geographic features, present and former administrative divisions, transportation facilities such as railroad stations, and historic sites in Japan. The article Japanese addressing system contains related information on postal addresses.

Kamo Shrine Shinto shrines in Kyoto, Japan

Kamo Shrine is a general term for an important Shinto sanctuary complex on both banks of the Kamo River in northeast Kyoto. It is centered on two shrines. The two shrines, an upper and a lower, lie in a corner of the old capital which was known as the "devil's gate" due to traditional geomancy beliefs that the north-east corner brought misfortune. Because the Kamo River runs from the north-east direction into the city, the two shrines along the river were intended to prevent demons from entering the city.

Sakyō-ku, Kyoto Ward of Kyoto

Sakyō-ku is one of the eleven wards in the city of Kyoto, in Kyoto Prefecture, Japan.

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Shijō Kawaramachi

Shijō Kawaramachi (四条河原町) is a vibrant part of central Kyoto, Japan where Shijō and Kawaramachi Streets intersect. Kawaramachi Street runs parallel to the Kamo River on the eastern side of Kyoto, while Shijō Street runs east–west through the center of the city.

<i>Saiō</i> High Priestesses in Ise Shrines. frequently called just "Saiō", or "Saikū" from her residence name

A Saiō (斎王), also known as Itsuki no Miko (斎皇女), was an unmarried female member of the Japanese Imperial Family, sent to Ise to serve at Ise Grand Shrine from the late 7th century until the 14th century. The Saiō's residence, Saikū (斎宮), was about 10 km north-west of the shrine. The remains of Saikū are situated in the town of Meiwa, Mie Prefecture, Japan.

Ōtsu Core city in Kansai, Japan

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Kamigamo Shrine Shinto shrines in Kyoto, Japan

Kamigamo Shrine is an important Shinto sanctuary on the banks of the Kamo River in north Kyoto, first founded in 678. Its formal name is the Kamo-wakeikazuchi Shrine.

Kamo clan is a Japanese sacerdotal kin group which traces its roots from a Yayoi period shrine in the vicinity of northeastern Kyoto. The clan rose to prominence during the Asuka and Heian periods when the Kamo are identified with the 7th-century founding of the Kamo Shrine.

Iwaki River River in Japan

The Iwaki River is a river that crosses western Aomori Prefecture, Japan. It is 102 kilometers (63 mi) in length and has a drainage area of 2,544 square kilometers (982 sq mi). Under the Rivers Act of 1964 the Iwaki is designated as a Class 1 River and is managed by the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. The Iwaki River is the longest river in Aomori Prefecture, and is the source of irrigation for the large-scale rice and apple production of the prefecture. The Iwaki River, in the Tōhoku region north of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, remains unpolluted by radioactive materials after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. Testing for caesium-134 and caesium-137 is carried out and published on a bimonthly basis.

Kamo Site (Ishikawa)

The Kamo Site is an archaeological site in what is now the town of Tsubata, Ishikawa in the Hokuriku region of Japan. The site was designated a National Historic Site of Japan in 2015.


  1. Kyoto Daijiten (Japanese encyclopedia of Kyoto), entry "Kamogawa" (鴨川; which refers from 賀茂川). Tankosha 1984. ISBN   4-473-00885-1.
  2. Kyoto Daijiten (ibid)
  3. Introducing Kyoto (Kodansha International Ltd.), with text by Herbert E. Plutschow and Foreword by Donald Keene, p. 34. ISBN   0-87011-904-4 (USA); ISBN   4-7700-1404-X (Japan).
  4. Kyoto Daijiten, entry for Tadasu-gawara.
  5. "Kyoto Daijiten", ibid.
  6. Kyoto Daijiten, ibid.
  7. Kodansha Encyclopedia of Japan, entry for "Kamogawa." (Kodansha Ltd., 1983)
  8. https://www.2000cranes.com/Raku.html
  9. "Okuni | Kabuki dancer". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2019-05-05.

Commons-logo.svg Media related to Kamo River at Wikimedia Commons Coordinates: 34°55′53″N135°44′14″E / 34.931416°N 135.737236°E / 34.931416; 135.737236