This film is part of Free
Shooting the Rapids on the River Ozu in Japan
A wild boat ride through the Hozu River’s white-water rapids, set against a beautifully coloured natural background.
This is one of two films in our collection to feature a boat ride down the Hozu River in Kyoto. The letter H is omitted from the river’s name in the title; the sound was presumably not articulated by Pathé's French crew. With a full load of tourists, the boatmen deftly maneuver their wooden craft through the river’s swift currents. Bird’s-eye view shots situate those boats in the picturesque landscape of the ravines and riverbanks, colourised here in green and pink.
The Hozu River once served as a busy route for carrying wood and crops by boat, a role replaced in the mid-Meiji period by the railway. Pleasure cruises on the river started in 1885 and quickly became a prominent attraction, subsequently enticing a number of tourists, both domestic and foreign, to this exciting 16-kilometer downstream boat trip. (Kosuke Fujiki)