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Yanagawa Kawakudari
A relaxing boat tour through a charming town lined with willow trees

Enjoy the changing face of the riverside city of Yanagawa across the four seasons while being regaled with the boat songs of the boatman as he skillfully weaves the boat down the river

Yanagawa City in Fukuoka is known as a riverside city with a 60 km long waterway network stretching across 2 square kilometers in the heart of the city. The water network dates back over 400 years with the completion of Yanagawa Castle, and its moat used to form the castle town. The waterways were developed for flood control and to facilitate water use, and the systems employed by the ingenuity of our forebears remain in use even today. One of Japan’s most renowned poets, Hakushu Kitahara, was born and raised here, and composed a number of poems on the beautiful scenery of the riverside district of Yanagawa. The area has also been designated as a national scenic spot for its beautiful seasonal scenery and rich poetical sensibilities.

One popular Yanagawa tourist attraction is the Yanagawa Kawakudari (going downstream the castle moat). This is a 70 minute boat tour of the waterways in a rustic Donkobune boat. Passing through the town center as the boat gently rocks back and forth as the boatman skillfully steers the boat with his pole, you can almost slip back in time to get a real sense of traces of the castle town’s past. Take in rows of willow trees, duck under bridges that cross into the castle grounds, pass through water gates and gaze upon red-bricked houses connected in a row, the samurai residences of yesteryear, and storehouses with white Namako walls. Whichever way you look, the scenery from the river is breathtaking. The jaunty tales and cheery boat songs the boatman regales you with are also part of the fun. You can also find monuments inscribed with poems, songs, and haiku from famed poets and writers who have visited Yanagawa. Why not stop by and compare the images these works create with the actual scenery? In winter, boats with a warm kotatsu heater are also in service.
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  • Shogetsu Punting Station, 329 Mitsuhashimachi Takahatake, Yanagawa-shi, Fukuoka 832-0826 Japan
  • • About 5 minutes on foot from Nishitetsu Yanagawa Station
    • About 25 minutes from the Miyama-Yanagawa IC on the Kyushu Expressway via Prefectural Road 443
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