The famous riverbed restaurants of Kibune.
We finally got to visit an original riverbed restaurant. Last time we were in Kyoto we had been looking for them in vain, because it turns out a river terrace restaurant and a riverbed restaurant are two very different things.
The riverbed restaurants are located approx 1 hour out of Kyoto in Kibune. Only a narrow path takes you up hill past the various restaurants, so if you come by car, it is well advised to leave it at the second large parking lot and then walk the rest of the way with the other guests. A bus also goes up to this parking lot, so it is easy with public transport although it will probably take you longer than the 45 minutes it took us to drive there.
There are mainly very high-end restaurants (reservations recommended) along the riverbed. However, we went early (they open around 11AM) and managed to find a smaller restaurant with a somewhat simple setup. The food was truly Japanese, and honestly I didn’t like much (the kids only ate the rice and small noodles), but the overall experience sitting on the river in the middle of the most beautiful landscape was unique. To have the front row seatings or to have an even better riverbed view you would have to take the full menu or enter one of the more high-end places. Prices run around from around 90euros and up, so for us (not really enjoying the food and having the kids with us) it wasn’t worth it. But maybe next time…
The river almost works as aircon due to the cold mountain water running through, so it such a nice spot on a warm summer day. If it is not super warm when you visit, you would want to bring a sweater/jacket.
The Kibune restaurants are open daily 11AM – 5PM but only during 1st of July till mid-September.