The Kamogawa river runs North/South through central Kyoto and is a nature sanctuary, a city park and a pedestrian/bicycle thoroughfare. In the summer time the restaurants that line the river build temporary decks called kawayuka (kawa meaning river and yuka meaning floor) overlooking the river for outdoor dining. At night they glow with hanging lanterns and are full of people. Its late afternoon on a Friday and everyone is enjoying the river in their own way with a view of the Northern mountains called Kitayama in the distance. When you are on the river, it’s hard to believe that the center of the downtown shopping district is just a block away.