Japanese summers are notorious for being hot and humid. Thankfully, there are great ways of dealing with the heat that have become a big part of the culture here. Items like beautiful sensu (fans), lightweight patterned yukata to wear, and furin (windchimes) to give out a relaxing sound are all incorporated into Japanese summers - and they greatly assist in making the weather not seem unbearable.
Another genius way that the Japanese have come up with to assist with keeping cool in the summer is kawadoko - or the idea of waterside dining, where restaurants are literally built over a river. One of the most popular spots for kawadoko is a place that most people have on their Japan bucket list anyway - Kyoto!
Where do I dine kawadoko style?
There are a few places in and around Kyoto that have dining and drinks over rivers - but one of the most scenic spots is Kibunesou, about 45 minutes by train from Kyoto proper. The fact that it is up in the mountains is already a great thing - the cooling properties of being up higher and surrounded by greenery certainly don't hurt!
Since kawadoko dining is designed to cool you down, it is only available in the warmer months - the period you can access kawadoko at Kibunesou is from May 1st to September 30th. Kibunesou offers a number of different kaiseki packages - they even offer options where you get your meal and the ability to dress up in a yukata. You can check out their website here
for all the pricing and options - I will say it's not an experience that I would file under "budget travel" but I would definitely say it's a memorable one. The closest train station to Kibunesou is Kibuneguchi Station - it's just a short taxi ride away from there.
Getting There and the "must know" details...
Address: Kuramakibune-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture 601-1112
Bear in mind that in the event of heavy rain, dining is moved indoors (the outer area has no roof - so this is understandable!)
Major Credit Cards are accepted.
This is a unique experience that will not only assist in keeping you cool, but provide you with a traditional Japanese meal and some awesome views.
Stay cool, and happy eating!