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【Kyoto】Kamogawa Noryo-yuka, open-air summer dining terraces at riverside2015.08.17

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Enjoying a local cuisine of Kyoto at an outdoor dining terrace along the Kamogawa River in a summer evening. It is relaxing and comfortable to catch the cool night breeze with a view of mountains over the river against the darkening sky.

The wooden high-floored platforms are called Noryo-yuka, which is one of the most well-known summer features in Kyoto city. This year, a total of 98 restaurants, bars and cafes set up temporary riverside terraces from May 1 to September 30. It consists of four areas that are about 2.5 kilometers long. The open-air decks have tables and chairs or Japanese style tatami mats.

Noryo” means ‘enjoying the cool evening in summer.’ “Yuka” means ‘a floor.’ The custom dates back to the early Edo Period when wealthy merchants placed foldable chairs on the riverbank to entertain their guests in summer. Kyoto is surrounded by mountains, which makes it hard for the heat and humidity to escape during the summer. It has been a common practice since old times for people in the ancient capital to enjoy the cool summer breeze at the riverside.

Many of the restaurants specialize in the traditional Kyoto cuisine. It features lightly seasoned dishes using such ingredients as vegetables grown locally, dried foodstuffs, “tofu” or soybean curds and “hamo” or a type of eel. In addition, a wide variety of foods are offered at Noryo-yuka. They include Chinese, Italian, French, Korean and Thai food as well as grilled meat, sukiyaki and sushi. For those who fully want to enjoy a Kyoto evening, summer kimono rental services are available in the neighborhood.

For first-time visitors, it might be better to know that most of these eateries and bars charge extra service and seat fees even though there is no tipping custom or extra service charge in many places in Japan.

 

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