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A scenic walk on the water! Yanagawa River Cruise in Fukuoka

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?

Tour:Day Tour of Dazaifu & Yanagawa River Cruise from Fukuoka

Fukuoka Kimono Rental(Dazaifu/Yanagawa)

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

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”.

This boat used on the Yanagawa River cruise is called a “Donko boat” because it resembles a fish goby (donko).


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.

“Suigo Yanagawa Kanko” at the intersection of Shimohyakucho

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!

I thought it was going to shake, but it didn’t shake surprisingly and I rode smoothly!

From the embarkation and disembarkation area, take off your shoes and get on the Donko boat.

It was in January when I was there, so the boat was kotatsu boat! (Kotatsu boats are available until the end of February.)

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.

Mr. Tsumura is a boatman for about five years, but he is good at talking and singing!

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.

Especially on a kotatsu boat, you will feel closer to the boat because you will be surrounded by the same table (except for the kotatsu boat, where there are no tables).

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.

The two lovely people who were with us at the time of our interview. He said he grew up with her!

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.

We’re going through this…?

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!

It’s just wide enough! According to the boatman, the volume of water is low today, so there is still plenty of room.

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.

Both banks of the moat are private houses.There is a staircase on the moat side of the house and they used to do laundry at the water pumping station.

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!

The narrowest bridge “Yaemon Bridge”! It’s so exciting to go through such a narrow bridge!

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.

He sings aloud while passing through the bridge!

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.

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It’s also fun to make a stop at the “floating shop”

This is the only place where you can find a “waterfront shop”.We have a variety of menus.

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!

Fried rice cake. I hear it’s the most popular on the menu.

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.

The late Meiji era building, the red brick Namikura, is the junction of the outer moat and the inner moat. Straight ahead and you’ll enter the outer moat.
In the old days, people used to catch crucian carp and loach in the “spider net”. Unfortunately, it’s not the real thing, it was made for display.

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”.

The last stop is the wharf leading to “Ohana”. Thank you for your hard work~

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.

Admission is 500 yen for adults, 300 yen for high school students and 200 yen for elementary and junior high school students (all tax included).

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

River cruising in the cherry blossom season

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.

SAGEMON” is a doll that is hung at Yanagawa. Cherry blossoms, plums, chicks, rabbits, etc. Each doll has its own meaning.

On March 18, 2018, the “Ohinasama Water Parade” was held, with beautifully dressed children parading on the water in a donko boat.

Sagemon is also on the top of the moat! Glittering water parade

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.

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Eat Unagi(Steamed Eel) After River Cruise

Yanagawa is also famous for its eel restaurants.

If you’re hungry after a day of river rafting, you should definitely try it.

Here are some recommended restaurants.

It’s nearest store to Suigo Yanagawa Kanko

It has long history since it has been established.
And is one of the best Unagi store in Yanagawa.

You can take it home at Fukuryu

5 Unagi Restaurants in Yanagawa, Fukuoka Where You Can Eat "Excellent Eel"!Eel dishes are a specialty of Yanagawa City in Fukuoka Prefecture. ...

Karatachi Foot Bath is Also Recommended After River Cruise

If you get a little tired, we recommend a footbath.

Natural Yanagawa hot spring water is used.

The spacious space where 70 people can soak in the hot spring at the same time is also attractive.

Let’a spend a time to heal your mind and body.


Fee: none.
Holiday: no regular holidays
Parking: Available; 33 vehicles
Access: Take the Horikawa Bus to the Kanpo no Yado Yanagawa stop.
25 minutes from Miyama Yanagawa IC
Hours of operation: 10:00-18:00





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