Turtle Stepping Stones of Kamo River
A hot spot for anime and film fans, shutterbugs and lovers!
At the site where Kamo River begins, a line of giant turtles stretches across the waters creating an enchanting place to play. In fact, you may have noticed them in photos even before you knew the name of this spot.
The meter-long turtles are concrete stepping stones. Together with some rectangular steps, and some shaped like flying plovers, the stones traverse the two rivers that meet to make the beloved waterway that flows on down through the town’s center.
The stones lie just north of the Kamo Ohashi bridge, near where the Kawaramachi and Imadegawa roads meet. Fans of the hit anime K-On! will know this spot from its appearance in the show’s opening sequence.
The turtles were created about 20 years ago when a Kyoto government employee tried to add a water-play function to river maintenance work aimed at stabilizing the riverbed. The idea was a success and today is enjoyed by both locals and visitors alike.
Together with the peninsula of land that lies between the two rivers (Takano River to the east and a differently notated Kamo River to the west) this area has come to be known as the Kamogawa Delta (Map). Its appearance in a popular Japanese television drama in the late 1990s helped cement its reputation as a date spot. Other anime, like Tamako Market, also feature the site, as do a number of Japanese films, including Kamogawa Horumo and Break Through!
The Delta is also known as a popular spot to watch the annual Daimonji bonfire festival on August 16. North of the confluence is the thickly wooded Tadasu no Mori (a staple location for filming samurai movies), which leads up to the World Heritage-listed Shimogamo Shrine.