Yanagawa City, the water town that circled the moat vertically and horizontally.
The land was laid out in the Edo period for the purpose of defending against enemies, and the beautiful ditching that still remains today is an integral part of life in Yanagawa.
Here you can experience “river cruise,” one of the most popular sightseeing experiences in Kyushu.
Why don’t you experience an hour-long trip to enjoy the seasonal scenery of the water while being guided by a boatman in the background music?
Also, Please watch the PR video of Yanagawa City in Fukuoka Prefecture.
You can get a glimpse of the charm of Yanagawa City.
- Enjoy the famous river cruise in Yanagawa City, which has the history of a castle town
- Thrilling to go through 13 bridges! There’s also a place where you can listen to the boatman sing
- It’s also fun to make a stop at the “floating shop”
- When you get to the highlight, you’re like, “Here’s your chance for shooting!”
- “Yanagawa River Cruise” is recommended during the year
Enjoy the famous river cruise in Yanagawa City, which has the history of a castle town
Located in the Chikugo region of Fukuoka Prefecture, Yanagawa City is about 45 minutes from Fukuoka Tenjin Station on the Nishitetsu Railway.
This area, which flourished as the Yanagawa Clan, is a castle town centered around Yanagawa Castle, which was the castle of the Tachibana clan, the lord of the clan.
The Yanagawa River Cruise, which is a sightseeing tour of the town on a boat with a capacity of 24 passengers, is a specialty of Yanagawa City, as is the “steamed eel in a bamboo basket”.
There are four river cruising companies in the city, but this time we will go to “Suigo Yanagawa Kanko” where you can enjoy cruising from Shimohyakucho to Ohana, the residence of the lord of the Yanagawa domain.
We head to the “Shimohyakucho Boarding place” along Route 443.
The fare is 1,500 yen for adults and 800 yen for children (tax included) for a 60-minute course.
We will meet at the waiting area and board with other tourists.
Well, we’re aboard!
From the embarkation and disembarkation area, take off your shoes and get on the Donko boat.
There is a brazier under the table which is connected for a long time.
We are about to start our one-hour boat trip.
Today’s boatman is Hisayuki Tsumura, who was born and raised in Yanagawa.
There was no shaking, and it was warm from the foot of the boat with a kotatsu, and even though it was January, it was not cold at all!
Getting to know other passengers is one of the best parts of river cruising.
The boatman said, “Where did you come from? You’ve never been to Yanagawa before, have you?
They will show you the way to the restaurant, and tell you “Oh, in that case, you should have eel for lunch! or “How long have you been here?
The tourists on board also joined in the conversation, and it felt like the whole ship was talking to each other.
Mr. Tsumura’s rod was used to move the Donko boat through the moat.
A willow tree protrudes from the river on the bank of the moat.
Even in winter, the view of the ditch split seems beautiful.
It is said that the lush green willow trees entertain the eyes of tourists in the fresh green season.
After about five minutes of going, a narrow sluice gate appeared.
This is the moat gate of Yanagawa Castle.
From here, the Tachibana clan’s castle is inside and the “inner moat” is entered.
It’s 2.6 meters wide and 3.5 meters high at the sluice gate!
On board, I’m holding up my camera and going, “Wow! “Aaah!
From the heartwarming atmosphere we had just witnessed, there was a thrilling sense of tension!
From there, it’s another wide moat.
This is the start of the “moat tour”.
It is said to have been artificially constructed by Yoshimasa Tanaka, the feudal lord, when he entered Yanagawa Castle in the 1600s.
It is said to be set up to prevent invasion from the enemy, but that’s not all.
It was also built as a countermeasure against water damage.
Water of moat is also used for agriculture, fire prevention, and until a long time ago, it was also used for laundry and other daily necessities, so it has been an integral part of the lives of Yanagawa residents.
It’s a part of life that plays an important role for the people of this community.
By the way, if you connect all of these sections together, it’s 930km!
Since the distance between Tokyo and Osaka is about 500km, it is amazing to think that it is like a round trip.
Thrilling to go through 13 bridges! There’s also a place where you can listen to the boatman sing
We went through the sluice gate earlier, but there are 13 other bridges to go through on the course.
This is where the boatman shows off his skills!
They will sing to you on the long bridge while you cross it.
“Songs of river cruise”, “Yanagawa Ondo”, “Yanagawa Kouta”… Already, this is a truly stunning singing voice!
I wonder if “singing ability” is a requirement for the boatman.
There’s an echo under the bridge, all right? says the boatman, laughing.
Although he wasn’t under the bridge, he performed a total of four songs.
Listening to the singing is one of the best parts of this river cruise.
You may pass other Donko boats on the way!
There are about 50 boatmen if you include the other shipping companies.
The ages range from 18 years old at the bottom to 80 years old at the top.
It’s fun to meet a new river cruising experience every time you come, because the guides and talks on the boat are different.
It’s also fun to make a stop at the “floating shop”
At the halfway point, you’ll find the “waterfront shop Ichigo Ichie”, which sells take-out gourmet treats like coffee, sweet sake and snacks.
This is a drive-through on the water, so to speak!
It was in January when I visited, so I gave up on the idea, but I heard that beer is popular during the summer.
This time, I bought some recommendations from the waterfront shop, namely, the deep-fried rice cake and the mentai chikuwa (200 yen each, tax included).
It’s a luxury to be able to eat on the ship!
Both the fried rice cakes with sweet and spicy sauce and the spicy chikuwa with the crunchy texture of mentaiko are very filling and delicious.
They also had a variety of other items on the menu, such as amazake(sweet sake) and ice cream.
I recommend using the waterfront shop.
When you get to the highlight, you’re like, “Here’s your chance for shooting!”
Each company has a different river cruising course, but the highlights are almost identical.
Each time, you would say, “That’s Namikura on the left,” or “That’s the elementary school where a popular actor is from.
Each time, the boat is filled with laughter.
A literary monument to the writer Dan Kazuo. My father’s parents live in Yanagawa.
An hour flies by!
We were laughing and taking pictures when we already reached the last stop, “Ohana”.
Ohana” is the residence of the Tachibana family, the former lord of the Yanagawa clan, and the whole site is designated as a national scenic beauty spot as “Tachibana clan garden”.
The house is open to the public and has a restaurant, so it’s perfect for dining and sightseeing.
Ohana is open from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
The river cruise is operated one way.
After disembarking, you can take a leisurely sightseeing tour and walk back home, or a free shuttle service is available.
“Yanagawa River Cruise” is recommended during the year
You can enjoy the four seasons of Yanagawa river cruising: cherry blossoms in spring, iris in early summer, a cool boat with a lighted tunnel in summer, a moon boat and autumn leaves in autumn, and a kotatsu boat in winter.
No matter when you visit, you’ll find your first view.
The most popular of these is the Yanagawa Hinamatsuri Festival Sagemon Meguri, an annual Hinamatsuri event held from February 11 to April 3.
The whole town is decorated with Hina matsuri festival ornaments called “Sagemon” (Hina’s hanging ornaments), which are unique to this area.
During this period, the “Hina Meguri Boat” will also run to see dolls decorated on the shore, which can be seen from the water.
On March 18, 2018, the “Ohinasama Water Parade” was held, with beautifully dressed children parading on the water in a donko boat.
On the last day of the festival, April 3, the two-month event comes to a close with the Nagashihina Festival, in which the participants write their dreams on Hina Tanzaku and pour them into the river.
It was built over 400 years ago.
This composition of the water, filled with the wisdom of our predecessors, still entertains us today as a “Yanagawa river cruise”.
The scenery and expressions that vary from season to season, the warm interaction with the boatman and the people on board, the rustling of the trees and the sound of birds…
Everything about the Yanagawa River cruising is the charm of the trip, and although it’s only an hour long, it’s sure to give you even more memories of your trip.
If you come to Yanagawa, please try it.