Lunch Over the River in Kibune
Lunch on the River at Hirobun, in Kibune Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2007 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55 f/2.8 @ 22mm — 1/160 sec, f/2.8, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
Lunch on the River at Hirobun, in Kibune
Kyoto, Japan

When Aunt Jeanette was in town two weeks ago, we headed up to Kibune to enjoy the drive, and to have lunch at Hirobun, an inn with a nice restaurant that overlooks the river. However, when we arrived, it turned out that the restaurant was serving lunch over the river.

Hirobun's Uppermost Platform As viewed from our table on the next platform down -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2007 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55 f/2.8 @ 17mm — handheld, 1/20 sec, f/5, ISO 500 — map & image datanearby photos
Hirobun's Uppermost Platform
As viewed from our table on the next platform down

We were on the middle of three straw-mat-covered platforms, at what would have to have been the best seats in the house (so to speak). Next to us was a six-foot waterfall just far enough away not to get us wet. As if the breeze from the river wasn't enough to create a pleasant, cool atmosphere in the summer heat, a bamboo framework supported straw mats above, as well.

Waitress Tidies Up on the Lower Platform -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2007 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55 f/2.8 @ 55mm — 1/160 sec, f/2.8, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
Waitress Tidies Up on the Lower Platform

The view above is aiming down-river from our seat, but the river can't be seen in this somewhat tight photo because the river falls away rapidly, with a taller waterfall (15 feet?) just past the edge of the platform.

Another View From Our Seats -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2007 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55 f/2.8 @ 17mm — 1/100 sec, f/3.2, ISO 500 — map & image datanearby photos
Another View From Our Seats

The orange gate in the photo above is part of the little shrine I wrote about earlier in the month.

All in all, it's really not possible to say enough how pleasant it was.

The main lunch was served at our table on one of the upper platforms, but there was additional food and additional platforms on which to eat it. Just past the third platform is the larger waterfall I mentioned above, after which there are two more platforms specifically for eating noodles. The shot below was taken from the stairs that head down to the lower “noodle platforms,” looking back at the three upper platforms.

All Three Platforms -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2007 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55 f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/2.8, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
All Three Platforms

The table we sat at and had just left is in the center of the picture.

The whole noodle thing was an event that gets its own post.

It was a really fun and pleasant lunch, but I didn't blog about it until now because I wanted to take Fumie there and have it be a surprise. I've since been there twice (once with Fumie, and once with Lawrence), so can finally post about it.

Much of the river in the mile-long Kibune area are used for dining like this during the summer, so there are many places left for us to check out. Hirobun is the upper-most inn/restaurant of the bunch, so is the most upstream, and so perhaps the only one with an unspoiled upstream view. It's very nice.

(PS: my 500th post!)


All 6 comments so far, oldest first...

What an enchanting spot! The logistics of building it would be fascinating. There didn’t appear to be railings, except on the walkways. Fortunately, Anthony seemed engrossed in his toy truck so he wasn’t in any danger, but evidently George couldn’t be trusted so Aunt Jeanette had to keep him grounded. Even if the food had been mediocre, I’m sure you had a lovely lunch in that great atmosphere. There probably was a lot of moss thereabouts too.

— comment by Grandma Friedl on June 26th, 2007 at 11:29am JST (10 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink

What a great idea! Remembering the heat and humidity of summer in Japan, this natural air-con must be blissful. And how well it has been done, though the shrubs hiding the structure look to be merely cut-off branches, which is a bit sad. But why were the noodle-eaters segregated, I wonder?

Peter

Actually, there were no cut-off branches…. The roof structure was supported from above by mostly-hidden heavy-guage steel wire strung across the river at ground-level (which the river and was well below). It was really quite well done.

Perhaps what you noticed were the trees growing in the water, at the top of the waterfall. For support, they are strapped to fairly large bamboo trunks which had been driven into the rocks. (Or, perhaps, steel rods were driven into the rocks, and the bamboo placed around for visual effect.)

—Jeffrey

— comment by Peter on June 26th, 2007 at 6:26pm JST (10 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink

Yes, it was the ones apparently growing in the water at the top of the falls that caught my eye. I can’t be sure, but they look like Pieris japonica (asebi), whose natural habitat is sunny hills and moors! I can’t see them, or any other evergreen shrub, surviving long enough to grow so large, with their feet presumably permanently in water… Whatever, the effect is delightful and the whole thing beautifully done.

Peter

— comment by Peter on June 26th, 2007 at 8:16pm JST (10 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink

This looks really cool. just happened to stumble across your blog when doing my research for my Kyoto trip.
Now i’m all excited, trying to make a reservation at Hirobun desperately. But it seems like trying to make reservations in the restuarants in Kibune with very very little japanese is extremely challenging. But for the food, i think it’s worth it.
thanks for the recommendation and pictures!

— comment by lorraine on June 16th, 2008 at 5:29am JST (9 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink

All of your Photos are so overwhelming!
One of my greatest wishes is to visit those Shrines in Japan, because I think they are one of the beautifulliest buildings in the World!

— comment by Thlayli on March 10th, 2013 at 12:17am JST (4 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey,
Great blog and post! I’m coming to Japan with my wife this November (first few weeks) and would love to visit tjis restaurant and eat over the river. Any idea if this is too late in the year to enjoy such an experience? I heard its more of a summer thing they do. If so I guess its only possible to eat inside the main restaurant building if such exists? Will they still be open? Thanks for any help you can provide.
Best, Duncan

I was there yesterday and they were pulling up the platforms, so it’s ended for the year. But the restaurants themselves should be open all year. —Jeffrey

— comment by Duncan on October 2nd, 2017 at 5:36pm JST (2 months, 14 days ago) comment permalink
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