By now it seems that the record breaking summer is just about over- Thank goodness! But for those who might be in other nasty Kyoto summers here are some things we found that helped. Of course there are the ubiquitous vending machines, but we wanted something to do to get out of it. Going to the library was nice and air conditioned, there is a decent selection of English childrens books and a few young adult chapter books at the Central Library on Marutamachi just west of Senbon. There are also several "Jidokan" or childrens centers around the city. These offer indoor play areas for kids of all ages, though perhaps younger kids would find them most enjoyable. Look for the ones in your area. The best is the Kodomo miraikan, a block or two south of Marutamachi and a block or two east of Karasuma.
Here is a link and the url:
This is again mostly oriented toward younger kids, but great in both the heat and cold.
Now for the outdoors...
The first thing we did was played in the Kamogawa. This is nice, especially near Demachiyanagi where the river splits. We played a little south from there, but next time would choose to go to the Demachiyanagi area. Our best experience so far was to go play in the river at Kiyotaki. This is clearer and cooler than the Kamogawa and a lot of fun. Take the train- either JR or Randen (a fun experience for kids by itself) to Arashiyama and get on the bus for Kiyotaki just across the street from the Randen station. (The Randen is 200 y for adults and the bus is 220. Elementary kids are half and younger than that are free.) when you get off the bus at Kiyotaki go down the hill until you reach the bridge. Chances are there will be a lot of people playing- find a spot and have fun. This does require you to be close to your kids because it gets deep in places and the stream is pretty fast. The water though is clear and really cool. On the way back we walked downhill from Torii no moto (I think) through the backstreets and into Arashiyama for ice cream. One of the best Gelato places in the world is right there near the Togetsu bridge.
There were other things we wanted to do, but by the time J's thumb healed, most outdoor pools were closed. (Outdoor pools tend to close by the end of August.) There are good public pools in Kameoka and an especially good looking one in Fushimi Minato park. This is not a great site, but will give you an address.
Again, a link and the URL:
Here at least you can see pictures:
Now as I said, we did not visit either of these places, but wanted to. There are a few others too, but those stood out.