The Hozu River Boat Tour is a one-way, two hour boat ride from Kameoka to Arashiyama, which is about 40 minutes to an hour from Kyoto. While it is a little expensive (3900 yen or $35 for adults) the 16 km boat ride down Hozugawa does offer some wonderful views of mountains, cliffs, gorges, rocks and the occasional wildlife such as birds and I even saw a monkey! That being said, as a photographer, it may not be worth it just because it is a little expensive and of course since it is a moving boat you can’t really take your time with your shots and people often get in the way. Now, with that being said, as a tourist, I really enjoyed the boat ride! For the most part the boat ride is fairly calm and relaxing; however, there are a few parts with some small rapids. Even with the rapids (really it is very few), I would say that the boat ride is safe for children even though nobody wears a life vest (seriously, it doesn’t appear to be dangerous at all). Here is a short video I took to give you an idea what it is usually like and how it sometimes gets a little fast.
Finding the dock in Kameoka can be a little tricky as there are no signs (in English anyway), but if you ask anyone about Hozugawa (gawa means river) they should be able to point you in the right direction. It is about a 8 minute walk from the station. Basically, after leaving the station turn left (you should be walking in the direction the train just came from). You will go strait and follow the road as it curves to your left. Crossover the railroad tracks and keep walking strait. You will then see a bridge on the right, pass the bridge (do not take it) and you will see a small road with a huge parking lot (which is kind of underneath the bridge if I remember correctly, but I could be wrong).
To get to Kameoka, you can take the regular JR line which I did, but if you have time I recommend taking the Sagano Romantic Train Ride which runs slower and less frequently but offers great views (especially of the river) and if the weather is nice has open windows. Below you can see a photo of this train hidden behind the Japanese Maple trees.